Tex- Mex, short for Texas Mexican, is food that comes from the Tejano people that live in Texas. It is a combination of American style foods and Mexican cuisine. Tex Mex paste is a paste that is full of sweet and savory flavors and full of yummy spices. Tex Mex paste is commonly used on dishes like burritos, tacos, enchiladas, rice and beans and so much more.
Tex Mex paste is fairly easy to make yourself if you don’t have the original paste, however you may not have all the spices or other ingredients key to making Tex Mex paste. Don’t worry because there are plenty of substitutes you can use to replace Tex Mex paste. Canned Chipotle, Chili Powder, Tomato Paste, Achiote Paste, Adobo Sauce, and taco seasonings are all wonderful replacements for Tex Mex paste and bring on the Tex Mex flavor.
Tex Mex Paste Substitute
1. Canned Chipotle
Canned chipotle peppers are actually smoked jalapenos that are canned and sitting in a delicious chili sauce that really matches the Tex Mex paste flavor. Along with the peppers, you can add the sauce from the can to any dish you are making that calls for Tex Mex. The sauce will mimic the paste consistency, while the smoked jalapenos bring on the heat and the flavor.
2. Chili Powder
Tex Mex paste is often used as a meat marinade or a meat rub. Chili powder will make a great substitute in this situation. Since the chili powder is a powder, you will have to switch gears and do a dry rub instead, but the flavor is almost identical to that of the Tex Mex paste.
3. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is one of the main ingredients of Tex Mex paste, so it’s really easy to replace using tomato paste! The consistency will be virtually the same. All you will have to do is add some of your favorite Tex Mex style seasonings to give the tomato paste some flavor. Chili powder, cumin, paprika (or smoked paprika), garlic powder, onion powder, and salt are some of the seasons you can use to amp up your tomato paste. If you are not the biggest fan of tomato paste or sauce, there are a bunch of different replacements you can use for that as well.
4. Achiote Paste
Achiote paste is a widely popular sauce used in Latin America. It is made from annatto seeds and combined with vinegar, garlic, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, oregano and some other spices. Achiote sauce or paste doesn’t have the exact flavor that Tex Mex paste has, but it is one of the best replacements since it will bring so much flavor to your dish while keeping the consistency the same.
5. Adobo Sauce
Among popular belief, adobo sauce is hands down the best replacement for Tex Mex paste. It is made from dried ground chilis, vinegar and all the same spices as Tex Mex paste. In a lot of ways they are pretty much the same thing and they bring the same idea to any dish you are making. Adobo sauce may tend to be a bit spicier than Tex Mex paste, something to keep in mind.
6. Taco Seasoning
Taco season is just a combination of chili powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. If you have all or most of those seasonings, you can just put those in your dish instead of Tex Mex paste and you will have the same exact flavor. The only thing is you won’t have the same consistency, in which case either you can leave it the way it is, or add taco seasoning to tomato paste, like we mentioned above).
If you are making a dish that calls for Tex Mex, but you just simply don’t have any, there is so much you can do to save your dish. As long as you have the proper seasonings, you can achieve the flavor super easily. The key things to have are cumin, chili powder and a little salt and that will go a long way.