Healthy Mexican Recipes
When a culinary trip south of the border is what you crave, look no further than our fiesta-worthy recipes. From authentic fare to Mexican-inspired dishes, signature flavor profiles abound. See our complete collection of Healthy Mexican Foods.
We'll start off with Vegetable and Rice Burritos with Quesadilla Cheese.
Most grocery stores have a refrigerated section of Mexican cheeses; look for quesadilla cheese there. Use the more commonly found crumbly queso fresco if quesadilla cheese is not available, or opt for melty Monterey Jack. Warming tortillas prior to adding your filling will help keep the tortillas from tearing or cracking during the rolling process—a must-do step for perfect burritos.
In Latin cuisine, a little bit of blistering on tortillas, peppers, onions, and garlic adds pleasant smoke and incredible complexity to a dish. The marinade for our Steak Tacos depends on this for bold taste that can stand up to the Toasted Chile Salsa.
If you're ready for a real game changer, make your own homemade tortillas instead of buying the bagged kind. If you're in a pinch, the La Tortilla Factory corn tortillas are the next best thing to homemade.
Mushroom and Charred Corn Tacos with Guacamole
This quick taco filling is perfect for weeknight dinners, Poblano chiles bring rich, earthy flavor but little to no heat. (Every once in a while you can get a hot one, though.) If you want to add a little spice, add some crushed red pepper when you sauté the mushrooms.
Carnitas Tacos with Pickled Red Onion
The pork gets a big flavor boost from achiote paste, a mix of ground annatto seeds, vinegar, salt, and spices. Find it at Latin markets.
Fresh Corn Tortillas
The very best corn tortillas offer a hint of alkalinity from mineral lime, infused into the corn via a process called nixtamalization. You can usually buy dough by the pound at Mexican markets. While the flavor won't be as complex, you can simply mix masa harina with water, as described in the recipe, for delicious dough.
Potato, Chorizo, and Green Chile Burritos
Chorizo and potato make a classic Mexican combination; be sure to use highly spiced, raw and crumbly Mexican chorizo—not the firm, cured Spanish kind. Waxy red potatoes work best here; they hold their shape well and retain some firmness even after they're cooked until tender. For the best browning and a bit of crunch, resist the urge to stir the potatoes often.
Cumin-Spiced Fish Tacos with Avocado-Mango Salsa
The superb flavor you get from toasting and grinding cumin seeds is well worth the little bit of effort. Clean the grinder to remove flavors that could permeate the next item ground. Wipe the grinder clean with a soft cloth, add a few tablespoons of uncooked white rice, and grind until rice turns into powder; repeat until the ground rice comes out white.
Steak and Charred Vegetable Tacos
If you like your beef more rare, keep the steak whole and rub with seasonings; grill about 3 minutes on each side. Let steak stand 5 minutes; cut across grain into thin slices. If you'd like something richer than sour cream, try crema Mexicana, usually located with the Mexican cheeses. Keep the vent hood on as you cook the steak; the chile powder can be quite pungent.
Pork and Plantain Enchiladas with Black Bean Puree
The sweetness from the plantains tames the spicy pork.
Ancho-Rubbed Flank Steak
Ancho chile powder has a much smokier flavor than regular chile powder, and is a pantry must-have for Southwestern food lovers. This simple rub adds tons of flavor to the steak and also gives it a nice caramelized crust. Serve with roasted potato or sweet potato wedges, or for a more Mexican feel, rice and beans.
Chicken Carne Asada Tacos with Pickled Onions
We replaced beef with seasoned chicken for a fresh take on this traditional Mexican dish.
A marinade of dark Mexican beer (like Negra Modelo), soy sauce, and fresh lime juice gives these Chicken Fajitas a fresh kick of flavor. Serve with flour tortillas, sautéed peppers and onions, and sliced jalapeño pepper.
Chimichurri Halibut Tacos
Make these fish tacos a sustainable choice by opting for wild-caught Alaskan halibut. If not available, choose another U.S. or Canadian wild-caught Pacific halibut, or substitute striped bass or U.S. line-caught cod.
Ancho Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Cream
Avocado cream provides a cooling counterpoint to the spicy ancho chicken in this recipe. We love what the cilantro slaw does to the texture of the dish.
Flank Steak Tacos
Tacos Al Pastor with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Grilling the pineapple brings out an unexpected tang that works amazingly with the pork. If you want to tame the spice, seed the jalapeño and chop it, or simply omit it. Serve with fresh lime wedges for a rustic presentation.
Look for veggie protein crumbles in the produce section, near the tofu. Zesty Mexican spices and flavorings sass up plain- (or original-) flavored crumbles.
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tamales with Tomatillo Sauce
Mushroom, Corn, and Poblano Tacos
Keep your tortillas soft by wrapping them in foil and keeping them in a warm oven.
Make a hearty, healthy Mexican casserole the whole family will enjoy. Substitute ground turkey and chicken broth instead of beef, if desired.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
This bubbling hot casserole is the quintessential comfort food. Prep ahead and bake when you're ready to eat.
Migas con Salsa Verde
Enjoy this Mexican one-skillet dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Grilled Portobello and Poblano Tacos with Pico de Gallo
These tacos are fresh and delicious thanks to an all-star list of ingredients. Say goodbye to standard tacos and hello to a new favorite.
Rice and Beans with Chicken and Chorizo
Cozy up to this warm and rustic Latin-inspired dish that's ready in less than half an hour.
Chiles Rellenos Made Easy
A classic Mexican favorite receives a lightened makeover that everyone will be sure to love.
Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce
These enchiladas are a fresh take on the enchiladas you grew up with. Most noticeable is the lack of canned enchilada sauce. Make your own delicious ranchero sauce and receive rave reviews.
Mexican Stuffed Poblanos
Poblano peppers are stuffed with a delicious combination of pinto beans, bulgur, and fresh Mexican flavors for a delicious meal.
Vegetable and Steak Fajitas with "Killed" Jalapeños
Fajitas can be a little boring, don't you think? Not when they're topped with these lime-softened jalapeños. If you like a big burst of lime, drain but don't rinse the chiles before garnishing. Placing the steak briefly in the freezer firms it up, making it easier to slice thinly.
Baja-Style Grilled Rock Lobster Tails
A simple citrus sauce perfectly complements the lobster tails in this easy yet elegant entrée. Serve with warmed tortillas, lightly grilled green onions, and cold Mexican beer for a satisfying meal that's just right for romantic evenings at home or entertaining friends.
Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
So quick and easy to make, these spicy quesadillas will become a dinnertime go-to meal in no time. To make the dish kid-friendly, simply omit the pickled jalapeño peppers.
Tex-Mex Beef Tacos
Ground beef is almost certainly America's favorite taco filling, and this simple recipe updates the basic fast-food taco with more taste and better nutrition. Corn, black beans, and chipotles deliver flavor, but each large taco has just 266 calories.
Tortilla Meatball Soup
For this delicious Mexican soup recipe, if you can't find fresh corn on the cob, substitute 2 cups frozen corn kernels, and broil them with peppers. After making this soup, you can use a few leftover chipotle chiles to spice up a pot of beans, rice, stews, or canola mayonnaise.
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
Tortilla Chip Casserole
This casserole retains all the full-flavor of the popular, Mexican, chicken comfort dish but with lighter ingredients.
Vegetarian Chipotle Nachos
With nachos, the more healthful toppings you can pile on top, the better. This dish delivers, with spicy chipotle, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, onion, cheese, sour cream, and more. The vegetarian crumbles are almost indistinguishable from ground beef (except in the nutrition department), but die-hard carnivores can replace it with lean ground beef.
Mexican Chicken Mole
This Mexican chicken mole features chicken thighs and chicken breasts and it's so easy, you can make it in your microwave! Serve over hot cooked rice and garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Poblano, Mango, and Black Bean Quesadillas
The sweetness of the mango balances the snappiness of the chile. Top quesadillas with fat-free sour cream and salsa, and serve with spinach and carrot salad.
A hint of lime and a sprinkling of Mexican cheese and cilantro put the finishing touches on this regional speciality.
Chipotle Turkey and Corn Soup
Steaming-hot soup is an ideal cold-weather dinner, and this recipe brings in completely different flavors than your traditional chicken noodle. Luckily, it also cooks in about eight minutes. Sliced chicken or pork work just as well as turkey, and you can also chop and add any other favorite veggies, like tomato, onion, or radish.
Chicken Breasts with Avocado, Tomato, and Cucumber Salsa
Talk about an easy dinner: Chicken, salt, chipotle chile powder, grill. The easy salsa adds fresh flavor and cools the chicken's heat a bit, but it's not strictly necessary―the chicken can pair with almost any combination of fresh veggies lightly cooked or raw in a salad. A chicken breast plus a large helping of salsa has only 243 calories, so you can even indulge in dessert without guilt afterward.
Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto Tamales
Worthy of a special occasion, the timing in this recipe is everything. The shrimp cook as the tamales steam, so they're tender and perfectly done.
Mexican Black Bean Sausage Chili
If you make this Mexican chili recipe ahead, you may need to thin the chili with water. To save time, combine the sausage ingredients in advance, and finish the chili later.
Use the freshest tortillas you can find for this dish since older ones tend to dry out and crack even when they’re moistened in the flavorful sauce.
Enjoy eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner–guilt-free. Leave all the seeds in the jalapeño if you want a spicier kick.
Chipotle-Rubbed Shrimp Taco Salad
Sweet, smoky, spicy, and fresh–you can’t go wrong with this healthier take on taco salad.
Carne con Papas
This everyday dish is usually accompanied by white rice. Olives, raisins, and capers make the stew reminiscent of picadillo. To streamline the preparation process, chop the potatoes and olives while the beef and vegetables simmer.
Shellfish might not leap to mind as typical Mexican cuisine, but this simple preparation with spice, garlic, and lime is an ideal way to highlight shrimp as well as scallops, clams, mussels, or even lobster. Serve as is, with roasted potatoes, over rice, or inside tacos.
Black Bean and Chicken Chilaquiles
Traditionally a Mexican breakfast, black bean and chicken chilaquiles requires only 8 ingredients and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Serve with a mixed green salad topped with diced avocado, tomato wedges, and olives.
Peach and Brie Quesadillas with Lime-Honey Dipping Sauce
This intriguing dish is savory-sweet. Ripe—but firm—peaches work best; if they're too soft, they'll make the tortillas soggy.
Pork is a traditional filling, but we chose beef filling for these tamales to mix things up. Adjust the ground chile for more or less heat as you prefer. If this recipe makes more tamales than you need, freeze for up to a month.
Lime-Cilantro Pork Tacos
Lime's bright acidity and the citrus-herb flavor of cilantro are common partners in Mexican dishes. This 13-minute recipe uses the combination to flavor tender and lean pork tenderloin. Drain and rinse a can of black beans, then heat with a bit of cumin and red pepper for a nice side to these (or any) tacos.
Mole-Style Pork Chops
Traditional mole sauces can contain dozens of different spices and require long simmering to achieve their deep, complex, and incomparable flavor. Our rub of cocoa powder, chiles, and other spices imitates that taste, and does so in just six minutes of cooking. Chocolate and pork might sound odd together, but the spicy, smoky flavor of mole goes perfectly with meat. This recipe works just as well with chicken breasts or thighs.
Bottled salsa and canned tomatoes are the shortcut to a zesty sauce for this unique dish. It's in the familiar Italian layered-noodle form, but the flavors and fillings―cumin, black beans, corn―are pure Southwest. Try different flavors of salsa to shake up this dish, whether with the herbs and spices of a mild variety or the fiery heat of a spicy one.
Creamy Spinach-Mushroom Skillet Enchiladas
This vegetable enchilada dish is perfect for Meatless Mondays and provides a unique way to incorporate more vegetables into your healthy diet.
Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
Shrimp are a favorite weeknight staple because they cook quickly, taste great, and are an excellent protein source. The spice mixture in this dish includes sugar to get a nice browned color and charred flavor in just three minutes of cooking, while cumin and chipotle add big flavor. Sliced avocado in the finished tacos gives them a lovely creamy texture that takes the place of less-healthful sour cream or cheese.
Potato, Chorizo, and Green Chile Burritos
Chorizo and potato make a classic Mexican combination; be sure to use highly spiced, raw and crumbly Mexican chorizo—not the firm, cured Spanish kind. Waxy red potatoes work best here; they hold their shape well and retain some firmness even after they're cooked until tender.
Portobello Quesadillas with Pico de Gallo
Meaty portobellos are paired with flavorful pancetta in this appetizer. Keep the cooked quesadillas warm in an oven set to low heat while you're preparing the rest.
Green Chile-Chicken Enchiladas
A Mexican favorite, this enchilada sauce gets its mild kick from fresh Anaheim chiles—long, slender, pale green peppers. Prepare the sauce and the chicken mixture up to two days ahead, and refrigerate separately until ready to assemble the enchiladas.
Grilled Grouper with Plantains and Salsa Verde
Starchy plantains get sweeter and develop brown spots on the peel as they ripen, so choose pure yellow specimens for this savory dish. The unique flavor of plantain is more like potato than banana, and gives some depth to the more delicate fish and spicy salsa. A generous portion has only 307 calories.
Seared Chicken with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa<br />
Tangy tomatillos join buttery avocados and peppery radishes in an unusual salsa that transforms an ordinary chicken breast into something special.
Mexican Chicken-Hominy Soup
Give chicken soup a Mexican flair by adding hominy, jalapeño, and cilantro. If you can't find hominy, simply substitute 1 cup frozen thawed corn in its place.
Quick Breakfast Tostada
This hearty dish, with eggs, beans, and cheese, is good for any meal. Add a little cooked chicken or ground beef for a filling breakfast-for-dinner option, or cook the eggs ahead and pack each ingredient separately for an assemble-at-work lunch. It's also good for kids to make themselves, as everything cooks quickly in the microwave, no stove necessary.
Pork Carnitas Gorditas
Gordita is a term of endearment meaning "little fat one" in Spanish. It also refers to a thick, fried tortilla. Here, we use masa harina (available in the Latin foods aisle at large supermarkets) to make fresh gorditas. In a pinch, you can use store-bought corn tortillas as a base for this delicious dish.
Southwestern-Style Shrimp Taco Salad
Cilantro, chipotle hot sauce, corn, black beans, and green onion lend fantastic south-of-the-border flavor to this shrimp-topped taco salad.
Speedy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
Rotisserie chicken and pre-chopped vegetables make this a quick casserole–perfect for a mid-week meal.
This popular soup from the Oaxaca region of Mexico features chorizo, a coarsely ground pork sausage flavored with chili powder, garlic, and other seasonings. We use a simple, homemade Mexican Chorizo that's easy to put together (better yet, it can be prepared the day before).
Corn and Chile Quesadillas
Corn, shiitakes, and aged cheese bring meaty umami flavor to this dish. If you can't find fresh Anaheim chiles, substitute about 1/4 cup chopped canned green chiles. Sharp cheddar or aged Gruyère cheese could also stand in for the Gouda, if you prefer.
Coriander-Crusted Tuna with Black Bean Salsa
Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. The flavors of both are important in Mexican cuisine, and both appear in this quick dish. Cook the tuna to medium-rare over relatively high heat for best results: The contrast between a crisp spice crust on the outside and meltingly tender fish inside is a lovely one. The versatile, fiber-rich salsa is a good choice for almost any Mexican dish.
Mexican Bulgur Salad with Citrus-Jalapeño Vinaigrette
This delicious, Mexican salad is only 371 calories, making it the perfect alternative to your traditional brown-bag lunch.
Mama Totota's Tamales
At only 344 calories per serving, these traditional tamales are a fun way to spice up the dinner menu without negatively impacting your healthy diet.
Brie, Apple, and Arugula Quesadillas
Fuji apples offer a crisp counterpoint to the rich, creamy Brie cheese. Substitute Honeycrisp or Ambrosia apples, if you prefer.
Take a twist on a traditional Mexican dinner for an exciting meal the family will love. Add a dash of cumin or paprika to the onions, if you’d like.
Mexican Salad with Pomegranate-Lime Dressing
The combination of textures―creamy avocado, crunchy jicama, juicy pomegranate―gives this salad its appeal. It makes a great starter or light lunch, but you can add some chopped cooked chicken, a can of tuna, or sliced tofu to make it a more filling meal.
Posole (Tomatillo, Chicken, and Hominy Soup)
This Mexican soup was rated 5 stars because it's quick and packed with flavor. One reader called this Posole recipe "a Mexican chicken noodle soup."
Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup
If you like spicy food, you'll love this tortilla soup. Purchase corn muffins from your supermarket bakery to round out the meal.
Chicken, Mushroom, and Gruyère Quesadillas
Build on the traditional Mexican classic by adding fun new ingredients like sliced mushrooms and a different creamy cheese. Watermelon-jicama salad is a refreshing side dish for this easy summer dish.
Quick Taco Salad
For an easy and quick, go-to meal, try taco salad made with ground chicken or turkey. Top with lots of vegetables and enjoy!
Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema
Crema mexicana is a thinner, tangier version of sour cream that you can find in most Mexican markets. Use it in place of the sour cream and mayo for authentic flavor in this recipe. Snapper's delicious flavor is excellent for fish tacos, but almost any flaky white fish, like tilapia, mahimahi, or halibut, will work.
Have your eggs whichever way you like them best: with red sauce, green sauce, or both. You can use white, yellow, or blue corn tortillas.
These easy enchiladas are a wonderful way to use up cooked turkey or chicken. Serve with sliced tomatoes and Mexican rice for a well-rounded meal.
Tortilla Soup with Dried Chile, Fresh Cheese, and Avocado
Epazote is a pungent wild herb frequently used in Mexican cooking and sold in Latin markets. If you can't find it, substitute two teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro to ensure the same great taste from this tortilla soup.
Pork and Ancho Chile Tamales with Mexican Red Sauce
For ease, make the pork mixture for these tamales a day or two ahead. The recipe makes quite a few servings; serve with Spanish saffron-flavored rice for a fun evening with friends.
A combination of convenience items―boil-in-bag rice, bottled salsa, canned beans, and bean dip―and fresh flavor―avocado, cilantro, and lime―makes this recipe the perfect combination of speed and taste. The burritos come together in about 5 minutes and taste great. Roll tightly and wrap in foil for an on-the-go meal with taqueria authenticity.
Mexican Chicken Casserole with Charred Tomato Salsa
Instead of the usual jarred salsa often called for in Mexican casserole, this recipe features a homemade salsa made with charred tomatoes that are mixed with cilantro and fresh lime juice. Charring the tomatoes gives a rich flavor to the salsa, which is a good match for this chicken-and-veggie-packed dish.
Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas
Browning the corn caramelizes its sugars and deepens the taste of this dish. If you have fresh cilantro on hand, chop two tablespoons and stir it into the salsa.
Chicken and Mushroom Tacos
Sweet caramelized onion, spicy jalapeño, earthy mushrooms, and tangy sour cream give these tacos a whole spectrum of flavors, but they're still quick and easy to cook. Top with a little chopped raw onion or radish for crunch to add even more interest.
Turkey Tamale Potpie
Capture the flavors of your favorite tamale recipe in a casserole. This hearty turkey tamale potpie takes under 40 minutes to prepare from start to finish.
Beef and Black Bean Enchiladas
Full of protein and only 343 calories per serving, these enchiladas are savory and satisfying. You can make all the components ahead of time and simply assemble the enchiladas before baking.
Zucchini, Olive, and Cheese Quesadillas
This vegetarian quesadilla dinner is perfect for a Meatless Monday option or to encourage your family to eat more veggies any day of the week.
Pork Fajitas with Mango
Enjoy these delicious and easy-to-make fajitas with lime wedges and Mexican beer for a complete and festive meal.
Goat Cheese Tamales with Olives and Raisins
A couple of these meatless, sweet-savory tamales make a nice entrée with a salad or black beans, or serve one tamale as an appetizer. To make these tamales vegetarian, prepare the dough with vegetable shortening instead of lard.
Escarole, Sausage, and Fontina Quesadillas
Mix things up from the traditional steak or chicken quesadilla recipe with this yummy sausage-based dish. At only 441 calories per serving, it’s a Mexican dish you can enjoy without hesitation.
Easy to make and only 318 calories per serving, this vegetarian tostada recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight, Mexican meal.
Chicken with Southwestern Salsa
The warm and nutty taste of cumin, present in both the chicken and salsa here, is key to Mexican dishes. The easy spice rub works just as well with pork chops or even slices of tofu, and you can easily slice the cooked chicken and make into tacos or quesadillas, topped with the salsa if you like.
Chill the filling before forming the empanaditas to help the dough stay tender. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Serve with salsa verde.
Soft Chicken Tacos
Juicy, flavorful thigh meat, plus plenty of ground cumin and a topping of shredded cabbage, gives these tacos authentic Mexican flavor. While the chicken is grilling, heat the tortillas in a dry pan over medium heat for 10 to 20 seconds on each side, or place them in the oven for a few minutes―you'll end up with firm-but-flexible tortillas with a little crispy char around the edges. It takes a little more time, but the results are much better than microwaving them.
Hot Smoked Salmon Quesadillas
Cotija is a salty aged Mexican cheese that works perfect in this seafood-inspired quesadilla dish. Shredded Monterey Jack helps hold the quesadillas together.
Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas <br />
Want to shave off a few more precious minutes from this superfast recipe? Skip the step of broiling the tortillas and you'll end up with equally tasty soft tacos. Have more time? Pair these light and crispy tostadas with a fresh Mexican soup for a festive meal that's worthy of guests.
Mexican Turkey Stew
While usually an ingredient in moles, roasted pumpkinseed kernels add another layer of nutty flavor to this posole-style broth. Look for them in specialty markets and health-food stores. Substitute ancho chile powder if guajillo is unavailable.
Make this Southwestern chicken favorite for a festive dinner. Chilaquiles mimic a traditional casserole by layering ingredients. For even more heat, add 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper to the tomatillo mixture.
Black Bean, Corn, and Zucchini Enchiladas
Prepare the enchilada sauce for this Mexican-inspired dinner a few days ahead of time, and refrigerate.
Pepper Jack, Chicken, and Peach Quesadillas
Give average chicken quesadillas new life with sweet peaches and spicy cheese. For the kids, try fontina or Monterey Jack instead.
Taquito means "little taco," and these are a vegetarian delight. They're filled with savory ingredients and then rolled into cigar-shaped bundles. You can prepare and refrigerate the filling the night before; allow it to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before assembling the taquitos. Use tongs to dip the tortillas into the simmering broth.