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Like in many Latino families, holidays are a big deal in our home, and they all center around food. The holiday dinner table--whether it's Thanksgiving, Noche Buena or Christmas Day-- is always overflowing with delicious foods. And being that my siblings, cousins and I were fourth generation, by the time we were children, our holiday gatherings always featured traditional American and Puerto Rican dishes, from pavo and pernil to arroz con gandules and macaroni and cheese.

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Everybody had their favorites. And these days when we gather for the holidays we make sure to include the best from both cultures in our meals. The Latino dishes always add a bit of extra flavor and make the meal a lot more interesting and totally satisfying. Plus, they make for excellent leftovers the rest of the week.

Latin and Latin-inspired side dishes are perfect for filling out your holiday meal. You can include traditional Latin holiday menu items or just your favorites that you eat any time of the year. Click through our gallery for some ideas to get you started, including several sweets, because we all have that one uncle that piles dinner and dessert on the same plate.

Topics: christmas recipe  holiday recipe  latino recipes