This fall, put a twist on traditions by infusing Latin spices into a favorite seasonal dish.   

The Hispanic population now exceeds 40 million and is increasing rapidly. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Hispanic-Americans will double by 2050. This population surge has resulted in a rise in the popularity of Latin cuisine, more ethnic restaurants ( Mexican, Cuban and Latin), and new, spicier ingredients.   

“Authentic Latin flavors are enjoyed by all ethnicities,” says Dan Hernandez, “flavor czar” for Hormel Foods, the parent company of brands like Carapelli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Valley Fresh Organic Premium Chunk White Chicken. “A decade ago,” he says, “chipotle was virtually unknown to many Americans. Now, spices like this can be found in a variety of dishes, adding rich flavor to mainstream favorites.   

“Nearly one out of four Americans prepares a Mexican entree for dinner once a week,” he adds. “Try branching out from tacos and burritos by introducing chili spices and cilantro.” (See last Friday’s recipe for Harvest Stuffed Squash.)   

Home chefs can easily add Latin spice to autumn entrees with small substitutions and new ingredients. For example, consider adding jalapeño peppers to crock pot sauces for a spicier slow-cooked meal. The change should be subtle, but unique and exciting for the taste buds.   

Get creative with some menu ideas from these organic/natural restaurants: