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What Are Romeritos?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Feb 08, 2024
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Mexican cuisine is known for its vibrancy and earthy colors, and romeritos are no exception. These wild plants are rosemary-like herbs that are considered to taste very similar to baby spinach. Juicy and stringy, romeritos are most often served during the holidays in various prepared dishes.

Romeritos are also known as sacred herbs in Mexico, and come from the Suaeda genus of plants. They may be prepared and served in similar ways as the vegetable spinach if desired. Prior to using the herbs in cooking, they should always be thoroughly washed and trimmed.

One of the most common ways to serve romeritos is in the form of patties made with dried shrimp. The shrimp is cut as finely as possible and powdered before being mixed into an egg-based batter. This complete mixture is formed into round patties and fried in oil. The patties are added to cleaned and boiled romeritos, along with potatoes. Many cooks also include prickly pear in their recipes.

Some chefs simply use dried shrimp rather than forming patties for an easier, faster meal. Prepared either way, the entire dish is traditionally served in mole sauce during holidays. The dish is usually simply known as romeritos, named after the flavorful green ingredient. New Year's Day is one of the most common times to serve these patties, though they are also popular during Christmas and Lent.

The plants may also be prepared with nutty flavoring agents. Sesame seeds are a common addition to the vegetable, as are peanuts. Almonds may provide the greens with another layer of nutty flavor. Many different herbs and spices may also be added to the shrimp patty or any other romerito dish. Garlic is a common herb coupled with the plant, as are various chiles.

Onions are another vegetable that are often prepared with the romerito plant. Some cooks may opt to include other vegetables besides onions and potatoes as well. Mixing together several types of nuts and spices is a common tactic when preparing the plant.

Cooks should keep in mind that the romerito is a delicate plant that not only needs careful handling, but also cannot be found in most areas. The most common place to find the plant is in a Mexican specialty food store. If the herb cannot be located, most cooks agree that baby spinach may be substituted in recipes, though the flavor and texture may vary slightly.

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Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt , Writer
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for WiseGeek, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.

Discussion Comments

By SarahSon — On Nov 30, 2011

I have only had romeritos one time and I did not care for the taste of them at all.

I probably would not have tried them if I knew they had shrimp in them, as I don't like the taste of any kind of seafood.

I like most Mexican food, but this is not something I will try again. Sticking with the usual tacos and enchiladas sounds like a safer way to go.

By honeybees — On Nov 30, 2011

We were invited to Christmas dinner at friends who are from Mexico. I didn't know what kind of food to expect, but she served romeritos.

The best way she described it to me was that it is an herb that is similar to rosemary. She said that it goes well with most meat such as chicken, beef, shrimp and pork.

This was served with potatoes and onions which is a traditional way to fix them. I am not always real excited to try foods that I am not familiar with, but this was actually pretty good.

By shell4life — On Nov 29, 2011

I have a Mexican friend who substitutes baby spinach for romeritos in her shrimp cakes. She moved here to be near her husband, who came looking for work. She can't find any romeritos in grocery stores around here, but she still loves to cook like she did back home.

She says that they taste nearly identical. Though she has had to adjust to her new environment, preserving her traditions and culture are important to her. She is glad that baby spinach mimics romeritos so well, because she would hate for her dish to be altered very much.

By Perdido — On Nov 29, 2011

@OeKc05 – It is very possible that you have eaten romeritos. I live in Miami, and several Mexican restaurants here serve them.

However, the menu usually says what is in the salad. Romeritos are listed by name, as are the other ingredients. Next time you are in a Mexican restaurant, check to see if the menu lists romeritos as a salad green, and if not, try asking a waiter.

Whether or not they feature this ingredient might depend on where you live. Since I'm in Florida, I'm near seaports that can receive shipments of it often. It is grown in Mexico, so if you live far from the coast, it might not be as common for cooks to use romeritos.

By OeKc05 — On Nov 28, 2011

Romeritos patties sound wonderful. I know that baby spinach and shrimp taste great together, so I imagine that these patties are awesome.

Does anyone know if Mexican restaurants here in the United States serve romeritos? I may have eaten some in a salad without even knowing it.

I never really pay too much attention to the leafy things in salad. I just slather on the dressing and munch away, thinking about how good the food is for me. I always love the taste of Mexican salads, and it would be nice to know what is in them.

Sara Schmidt

Sara Schmidt

Writer

With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for WiseGeek, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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