The Ingredient That Sets Chilaquiles Rojos And Verdes Apart

Chilaquiles, the dish consisting of tortilla chips or fried strips of tortillas that are simmered in salsa, is a classic brunch staple and hangover helper you might be used to ordering at your local Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant (via Britannica). One of many Mexican dishes that repurposes stale tortillas into something new and delicious (via Leite's Culinaria), chilaquiles boast a nice, thick sauce that results from the chips' starch thickening the salsa as it cooks. Once plated, the salsa-bathed tortillas are topped with a variety of add-ons, including crumbled cheese, tangy crema, sliced avocado, and fried eggs, making them a great choice for a hearty breakfast or even a satisfying dinner.

If you've ordered chilaquiles out, or simply seen them on a menu, you've likely noticed that the dish is most often available in two varieties: verdes and rojos. And if it's been a while since your last high school Spanish class, you might be wondering: What's the difference between the two?

Chilaquiles verdes are green; Chilaquiles rojos are red

If you do happen to speak a little Spanish, you probably know that "rojo" means "red," and "verde" means "green." Therefore, according to Kitchn, chilaquiles verdes are made by simmering the tortilla chips or fried tortillas in green salsa, while chilaquiles rojos utilize a red salsa. Typically, a red salsa will include tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, and garlic, while a green salsa will include tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, and cilantro — so basically the same recipe, but using either red tomatoes or green tomatoes, as tomatillos are most often known in Mexico, according to the diner's preference.

If you tend to prefer green salsa, you should go with chilaquiles verdes, while if you like red, the rojos are your best bet. But if you like both types of salsas and can't decide, any restaurant offering both types will be able to prepare you chilaquiles divorciados, or "separated." This is simply a plate of chilaquiles on which half the tortillas are bathed in red salsa and half in green (via The Splendid Table), and they're perfect for those who just can't choose between two delicious salsa options.