Nine Healthy Mexican Recipes

Spice up your boring dinner with these healthy recipes.

Mexican food photo via Shutterstock

Mexican food photo via Shutterstock

Mexican food is delicious, but not exactly “healthy”, especially when you are at your favorite neighborhood cantina. Try whipping up something more authentic and delicious by cooking it yourself. With some easy substitutes, you won’t be looking for places to hide extra cheese. By using chilies, light cheese, and charred, fresh veggies, you’ll be cooking up a fiesta in no time.

1. Chunky Pico de Gallo
via Vikalinka

The chunkier the pico de gallo is, the more uses you can find for it. Make it a little chunky and it can go on some homemade chips for healthy nachos or make it super chunky and serve it as a side salad. For a more substantial meal, add in the lentils.

2. Southwestern Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole
via Pinch of Yum

Here’s a vegetarian dish that could be eaten alone with a side salad or used as a dip with baked chips. When choosing a Mexican cheese, go for queso fresco or light Monterey jack cheese for an extra kick. Using this recipe as a salad topper over spinach greens will make for a good leftover lunch. Add some shredded chicken for a powerhouse protein meal.

3. Polenta Huevos Rancheros with Asparagus
via Pinch and Swirl

Yes, polenta is Italian, but for the sake of this Mexican-inspired brunch we’re willing to let it slide. Creamy polenta topped with sautéed vegetables, a fried egg, and avocado and you have a little twist for a breakfast fiesta. If you don’t have polenta, you could also use quinoa or grits.

4. Black Bean-Pineapple Guacamole
via Girl Versus Dough

This recipe calls for sour cream or Greek yogurt for additional creaminess, but if you have good ripe avocados you might not need another creamy component. If you don’t have black beans, you could swap in kidney beans or even small white beans.

5. Mini Pepper Chicken Nachos
via Heat Oven to 350

A healthy alternative to nachos are a way to score extra points on game day. This is mostly an assembly recipe, and if you’re in a hurry grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Otherwise, cook chicken in spices, like cumin and chili powder, and broth, and then shred the chicken with two forks before building the nachos.

6. Mexican Red Rice
via The Galley Gourmet

Every good Mexican meal needs an awesome side dish. This rice is cooked with tomatoes and spicy jalapeños (which you can use less or add more depending on your heat tolerance) and topped with a lime wedge for some added brightness. Toasting the rice before adding the liquid will create a nutty aroma which makes a huge difference when tasting.

7. Black Bean, Corn and Zucchini Enchiladas
via Cooking Light

Gooey enchiladas don’t necessarily have to mean piles of cheese and sauce. This recipe uses vegetables and a basic enchilada sauce, plus whole wheat tortillas for a healthier version of classic. Adding bell peppers or chopped mushrooms will add some color and texture.

8. Spicy Seafood Tacos
via Better Home and Gardens

Take the flavors of your favorites and swap in lean fish instead of fatty ground beef for delicious fish tacos. If you can’t find fresh crab to cook (or picking crab meat isn’t your idea of fun) then buying lump crab meat from the store will work. Be sure to take the time to pick through it for little bones or pieces of cartilage.

9. Sizzling Steak Fajitas
via Cooking Light

Fatty red meat gets a bad rap when it comes to keeping a healthy lifestyle. However by using lean cuts of meat, trimming off extra fat and piling a dish high with vegetables, there’s no need to skip the steak. This recipe uses flank steak and coats it in spices before flash cooking it in a hot pan. When cooking small strips, using an extremely hot pan will give you the crust you’re looking for without overcooking the meat.