Healthy Mexican Recipes

By Melinda Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDCES
Black Bean Soup This hearty black bean soup includes extra veggies to increase the fiber as well as some chicken so you get a boost of protein –both the fiber and the protein will keep you feeling full longer. 

Yield: Serving size:  Calories: Carbs: Protein: Fat:
7 1 cup 170 15 20 3.5

½ cup frozen corn

1 can (15 oz) black beans rinsed and drained

1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted tomatoes

1 tbsp chili powder

½ tsp cumin

5 cups low sodium chicken broth

¼ tsp black pepper

½ tsp Adobo seasoning (divided)

1 lb chicken breast (boneless, skinless) cut into small cubes

½ cup diced onion

2 tsp canola oil

Nonstick cooking spray

Directions: Spray a large soup pot with cooking spray. Add oil and onion, and sauté over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until clear. 2. Add chicken and season with 1/4 tsp. Adobo seasoning and pepper. Cook chicken until slightly brown, about 6-7 minutes. 3. Add remaining ingredients (including the other 1/4 Tsp. Adobo seasoning). Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes and serve.

Skillet Egg Casserole Try this for a protein-packed breakfast or light meal any time of day.  This egg casserole suggests using egg substitute (such as JustEgg or tofu) to reduce the cholesterol and saturated fat, but it can also be made with real eggs ( if preferred).

Yield: Serving size:  Calories: Carbs: Protein: Fat:
4 servings 1 ½ cups 160 9 13 9

1 tsp canola oil

1 ½ cup egg substitute (or 6 eggs)

1 can (4.5 oz) green chilis chopped and drained

1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded, reduced fat)

1 small can black olives (2.25 oz, sliced and drained)

½ cup diced tomatoes

1 ripe medium avocado (peeled and chopped)

¼ cup fresh cilantro

Directions:  Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs, cook 1 minute, and gently stir until set (Note: eggs will still be wet). Remove from heat. 2. Top with the remaining ingredients in the order given. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 2–3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Cinnamon Flan with Raspberries This recipe uses skim milk and a blend of real sugar and a sugar substitute (sweetener) to reduce the calories and carbohydrates.While the recipe suggests raspberries, you can top with any type of berry you like.

Yield: Serving size:  Calories: Carbs: Protein: Fat:
8 servings 1 wedge 160 22 10 3.5

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup water

2 cups skim milk

1 can (12 oz) evaporated skim milk

3 Tbsp granulated sugar substitute baking blend (such as Truvia baking blend)

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

2 cinnamon sticks (broken in half)

2 tsp vanilla extract

5 large eggs

2 2/3 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the sugar and water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the caramel is lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel into a 2-quart round baking dish, tilting the dish to evenly coat. Set aside until the caramel is cool and hardened, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the milk, evaporated milk, sugar substitute, cinnamon powder, and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and let stand 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk into the milk mixture until well blended. Pour into the baking dish. Place the baking dish with the flan mixture into a 9 × 13-inch roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to come one-third of the way up the sides of the baking dish.Bake until the custard is set but jiggles slightly in the center, 50–55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack; let cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours or overnight. To unmold, run the tip of a small knife around the edge of the flan. Place a large flat plate on top of the flan and flip it over. Cut the flan into wedges and serve each wedge with 1/3 cup raspberries.

Arroz con Leche (Rice Custard) This healthier version of a popular dessert uses fat-free milk and a little sugar substitute to lower the calories and uses brown rice and a little flax seed to add some extra fiber. 

Yield: Serving size:  Calories: Carbs: Protein: Fat:
4 servings ¾ cup 140 24 6 2

1 cup uncooked instant brown rice

1 cups fat-free milk

1 cup water

2 Tbsp granulated zero-calorie sugar substitute

1 3-inch strip orange peel

1 Tbsp whole flax seeds (optional)

3 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Directions: Prepare the rice according to the package directions. Combine the cooked rice, milk, water, sugar substitute, orange peel, cinnamon stick, flaxseeds, and cloves in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until the rice pudding is thick and creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the orange peel, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Stir in vanilla and ground cinnamon.

Chicken Chilaquiles Keep this classic dish healthy by using skinless chicken, lots of diced tomatoes and baking the tortillas instead of using extra oil.  

Yield: Serving size:  Calories: Carbs: Protein: Fat:
6 315 315 30 23 12

10  6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes, undrained

1-2 cans chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus one tsp of the adobo sauce

1 can (14 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth

1 cup shredded cooked chicken (from skinless chicken)

¼ tsp black pepper

1 cup crumbled queso fresco (4 oz)

Fresh cilantro sprigs

¼ cup sour cream

1 Tbsp milk

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread tortilla strips in an even layer on two large baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. In an extra-large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and oregano; cook about 3 minutes or until onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and chili pepper plus the reserved 1 teaspoon adobo sauce. Bring to boiling; cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add broth; return to boiling. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add chicken and black pepper; heat through. Set aside a few baked tortilla strips. Gradually stir the remaining tortilla strips into chicken mixture; heat through. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and the reserved tortilla strips. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and milk; serve with the chilaquiles.

Ceviche This dish is best with the freshest fish possible. Use a firm white fish such as red snapper, mahi-mahi, flounder or sea bass. It is low in calories and high in protein. 

Yield: Serving size:  Calories: Carbs: Protein: Fat:
Serves 4 4 oz 115 0 23 1.5

1 lb. fresh fish diced into small ½ -inch cubes

½ of a red onion, very thinly sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 fresh jalapeño pepper seeded and very finely chopped.

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half (or 1 cup diced tomatoes)

¾ cup lime juice from 4 to 6 freshly squeezed limes

Directions: Use a juicer or hand squeeze the limes and set the juice aside.Dice the fish into small pieces. Add fish to a medium-sized glass bowl with the lime juice and salt. Allow the fish marinate for approximately 4 hours in the refrigerator. Dice the fresh jalapeños, tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro into small pieces. Place vegetable mixture in a bowl and set aside. After 4 hours of marinating the fish, check to make sure the fish has turned from translucent to opaque.Drain most of the lime juice off of the fish and add the vegetable mixture. Place in a serving bowl and serve with corn or plantain chips if desired.

Garlic-Oregano Grilled Shrimp (Camarones Asada en Escabeche) This healthy dish can be a main dish or an appetizer. The shrimp is grilled first and then infused with flavor from the chile, herb and vinegar marinade.  Serve with tortilla shells for tacos, on top of a salad or with toothpicks.

Yield: Serving size:  Calories: Carbs: Protein: Fat:
8 4 shrimp plus 2 Tbsp sauce 185 2 23 9

¼ cup olive oil plus 1 tbsp divided

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp dried oregano

6 whole black peppercorns

2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

2 tbsp finely chopped jalapeño or serrano peppers (including seeds)

3 medium cloves garlic

½ cup cider vinegar

32 pieces medium to large raw shrimp (peeled and deveined, tails left on if desired)

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro


Directions: Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, oregano, peppercorns, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to wilt, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chiles and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant but not colored, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Transfer to a shallow glass baking dish and let cool while you grill the shrimp. Preheat grill to medium-high. Pat shrimp dry. Toss in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Thread the shrimp onto eight 12-inch skewers, leaving a little space between each one. Grill the shrimp, turning once, until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and add to the onion marinade, gently stirring to combine. Let marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes to an hour. Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving.

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