6 Healthy Mexican Food Recipes for Cinco de Mayo | Carson Tahoe Health

6 Healthy Mexican Food Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

Think Mexican food and you might recall the “food baby” you had the last time you opted for a dish that touted its south of the border roots. But the traditional fare is much healthier than the fried enchiladas and overstuffed burritos that are synonymous with Mexican food in the U.S. Traditional Mexican cuisine can actually be very healthy. It’s high in legumes, bursting with vegetables and uses meat sparingly. And the food is cooked with olive oil or charbroiled, baked and steamed—not fried and processed. Try skipping heavy sauces and creams when making your favorite Mexican fare at home and, instead, focusing on bold flavors in place of fats—think chiles, limes, herbs and spices. Here, our favorite Mexican recipes allow you to celebrate Cinco de Mayo healthfully.

Quinoa Tamale

12 corn husks
1 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cups water, plus 1/2 cup
1/2 pound tomatillos
1 large, ripe avocado
1 tablespoon cilantro
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed
2 scallions (tops only)
Salt to taste
1/4 pound mushrooms
1/2 pound onion
1 cup sweet corn

1. Soak the corn husks in warm water for 20 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool and tear 2 pieces of 1/4-inch strips off of each of the corn husks, along the grain. Set aside.
2. While the corn husks are soaking, cook the quinoa and water over low heat in a covered saucepan for about 20 minutes or until all the water absorbs. Allow to cool.
3. To make sauce, clean and husk tomatillos. Chop and puree tomatillos, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, scallions, remaining water and salt.
4. Lay the corn husks flat, add about 3?4 cup of quinoa on each corn husk. Wrap the husk over quinoa, and tie at the ends with the strips.
5. Sautee mushrooms, onion and sweet corn for about 4 minutes until onions are translucent.
6. Slice the top of the husk so that the quinoa is exposed. Pour about 1 1/2 ounces of puree onto the center of a plate, place the tamale on the puree and pour the mushrooms, corn and onions over the top of tamale. (If you are serving the recipe in a bowl, pour 1 1/2 ounces of puree in first, add 3/4 cup quinoa, then top with the mushroom, corn and onion mixture.)

Healthy Chicken and Cheese Flautas

4 Skinless, boneless chicken breast (cooked and shredded)
1 cup salsa
16 oz shredded cheese (cheddar, or Monterey jack cheese)
10 whole wheat or corn tortilla
2 tablespoons olive oil

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.    Place shredded chicken and cheese into the center of the tortilla and roll up the tortilla
3.    Lightly spread the olive oil over tortilla and place the tortilla seam side down.
4.    Bake tortilla in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tortilla are crispy and golden brown on the top
5.    Place desired toppings onto the flauta and enjoy!

Jicama Salad

1 whole jicama
1 lime (sliced in half)

1.    Peel the jicama
2.    Thinly slice the jicama
3.    Place into a bowl
4.    Squeeze both halves of the lime on top
5.    Lightly sprinkle with salt
6.    To spice things up mix with dried and crushed chile de arbol

Chunky Salsa

4 large tomatoes, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
1 seeded jalapeño, chopped (leave in the seeds if you
like it hot)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 finely chopped carrot
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
8 ounces baked tortilla chips

1. Mix the first nine ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Serve with tortilla chips.

Mushroom Quesadillas

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds sliced white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
6 soft tortillas
2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheese
2 sliced avocados
6 tablespoons fresh cilantro
diced tomatoes for garnish

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 2 pounds sliced white button mushrooms; cook until they’re red-brown on one side (about 5 minutes).
2. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt, flip mushrooms, and cook until they’re red-brown on the other side (about 5 minutes).
3. To assemble the quesadillas, evenly distribute the following onto six soft tortillas (in this order):
1 cup shredded cheese (such as reduced-fat cheddar or Monterey Jack),
2 sliced avocados,
sautéed mushrooms,
6 tablespoons fresh cilantro, and
1 additional cup shredded cheese.
Fold tortillas in half and grill in the same skillet until cheese melts, then flip to cook other side.
4. Transfer to a cutting board, cut into wedges, and garnish with diced tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheese.

Veggie Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia, chopped
1 green bell pepper (or a colorful combination, if desired), chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
8 medium tomatoes (4 pounds), coarsely chopped
2 cans (15 ounces each) low-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1. In a large saucepot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeño (if using) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in garlic and chili powder; cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the beans; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 50 to 55 minutes.