Did you know that, originally, the idea behind a Quinceanera celebration was to “celebrate” that the birthday girl had learned to cook and clean and perform other household skills in order to snag a good husband? (Aren’t you glad those days are over?!) Modern Quinceaneras are far different, but one thing will never change: Quinceaneras always have good food and lots of it! But while you most likely won’t have to cook your own feast, you will have to choose a menu that will please your particular crowd. You may want all traditional, or switch things up. To get you started thinking, we’ve put together a super-simple primer with menu items that can add either a classic touch or a contemporary twist to your Quince feast. (But you don’t have to cook any of them unless you want to!)
Traditional Quinceanera Menu
There are certain foods unique to a traditional Quince that you won’t find in other cultures. Here are a few of the classics:
Cabrito: A classic dish that originated in Monterrey, Mexico, cabrito consists of a young goat that’s cooked on a spit over a slow-burning charcoal fire. This gives the meat its classic smoky taste and also makes it more tender.
Picadillo: A combination of minced beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onion, sometimes also with peas, carrots, or potatoes. Serve picadillo by itself or use as filling for tacos, burritos, or tamales. It’s also often served with rice and/or tortillas.
Dessert: In addition to your cake, there are several customary Latino sweets. Here are two classics to get you started:
- Arroz (creamy rice pudding)
- Pan de Polvo (Mexican shortbread cookies with cinnamon and anise, often dusted with powdered sugar)
For a Hispanic Buffet: Serve rice, beans, tortillas, enchiladas, tostadas, and tacos.
Other traditional options:
- Green salad
- Tortilla chips and guacamole
- Chicken, pork and, cheese tamales
- Carne asada and al pastor tacos
- Pozole or Menudo
- Rice and beans
- Pan dulce, conchas, and churros
Take your Quince Feast International!
If you just adore a particular ethnic food group, why not serve it at your Quince?! Here are some popular international menu ideas, some of which you can make at home.
If there’s one culture famous for unique food, it’s Greece. The most common is the gyros, a combo of beef and lamb roasted on a spit. It’s the one thing that will make your Quince absolutely Greek!
Here are some other ideas for a Greek menu:
- Gyros (of course!)
- Greek salad with feta cheese
- Stuffed grape leaves
- Moussaka (baked eggplant & beef)
- Pastitsio (Greek lasagna)
Here’s a recipe for moussaka: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/moussaka-recipe.html
And here’s one for pastitsio—and this website is all about Greek dishes, so you’ll find lots of help: http://www.mygreekdish.com/recipe/pastitsio/
Take inspiration from your favorite Chinese takeout or Japanese restaurant:
- Sushi station (you could even hire a real sushi chef!)
- Egg Rolls
- Lo mein (noodles with vegetables)
- Chicken or beef with oyster sauce
- Fried rice
- Almond cookies
Take your guests to The City of Lights with your Quinceanera menu. Here are a few classic French dishes:
- Salad nicoise (beautifully arranged platters of vegetables in a light dressing)
- Melon and ham brochette
- French onion soup
- Baked brie
- Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Steak Bearnaise
Especially if you’ve chosen an under the sea theme for your Quince, select a menu that’s also an ocean adventure!
- Clam chowder
- Shrimp skewers
- Sesame seed crusted tuna steak
- Grilled cedar plank salmon
- Stuffed lobster tails
- Fried Marlin tacos
- Crab cake tater tots
Wild West Barbecue
This is a great menu for casual Quinces. These dishes also make for a great potluck feast:
- Fruit salad
- Mashed potatoes with gravy
- Barbecue Pulled pork
- Sliced Beef Brisket
- Green beans
Let Them Eat Cake!
No matter what else you plan to serve your guests, the one thing that is always included in a Quinceanera is an ultra-fancy cake, not unlike an intricate wedding cake. And again, the style of the cake should go with your theme and the other types of food you serve at your reception.
The traditional Quince cake has multiple tiers with staircases and a small Quinceanera doll on top. Miniature figures line the stairs representing the birthday girl’s court of honor. But there are plenty of other options.
Greek: Choose just about any cake you want but consider a touch of blue frosting like the Greek flag. , then decorate with strands of laurel or gold leaves. For sure, add to your sweets table baklava—layers of filo dough rich with honey and nuts—and a Portokalopita. This is a traditional Greek yogurt cake with orange syrup.
Here’s a recipe for a scrumptious Portokalopita you can make at home: http://www.mygreekdish.com/recipe/extra-syrupy-greek-yogurt-cake-oranges-portokalopita/
Make your cake a Chinese New Year dragon and then order fortune cookies with your own personal message!
Here’s where to get custom fortune cookies: https://fortunecookieplanet.com/
For sure, add eclairs and madeleines to your sweets table. Or skip the “cake” altogether and go with a traditional French delicacy—a croquembouche—a pyramid of either small pastry balls or macarons filled with vanilla cream. If nothing else, be sure to add one to your sweets table!
Decorate your cake with shells, fishing net, and starfish, then serve a tower of seashell cupcakes decorated with brown sugar and molded candy seashells.
Here’s how to make the candy shells at home: http://thegirlinspired.com/2012/06/molded-candy-seashells/
First, make a tower of campfire cupcakes:
Then top it with a show-stopping single layer cake decorated to a stunning extreme!
Here’s how to create the cupcakes: http://www.greatfun4kidsblog.com/2012/11/wild-west-party-how-tos-with-free.html
The possibilities are endless! Whatever theme you may choose for your Quinceanera reception, what matters most is that your party is enjoyed by everyone—but most of all you!
For some great ideas for what to put on your dessert table—including recipes—check out our blog: http://qbydavinci.com/blog/quinceanera-desserts-delights-your-recipe-for-a-sweet-celebration/