People associate Mexican dishes with high calorie intake, but you can make healthier versions yourself. Low-calorie Mexican food makes healthy eating more exciting, thanks to the rich flavors. You can even make Mexican lunch or dinner with just under 400 calories.
Staple Ingredients for Mexican Food
You need to stock staple ingredients at home to make low-calorie Mexican food recipe. Corn, cornflour, and corn tortilla are the main carbohydrate sources. The protein comes from black beans, although you can add chicken, beef, or pork. Tomatoes, limes, avocadoes, and crema (sour cream) add strong flavors to your dishes.
Mexico has cheese and peppers that provide unique characteristics. Queso Oaxaca is a type of chewy white cheese, while queso fresco is softer. Poblano peppers are mildly spicy, while dry chipotles are spicy and smoky. They will make even low-calorie meals taste richer.
Recipe: Vegetarian Grilled Tacos with Poblano
These grilled tacos are nutritious Mexican foods under 400 calories. The menu is light, vegetarian, and a great alternative for a lunch sandwich.
6 corn tortillas (warmed)
3 large poblanos
1 white onion (sliced thinly)
Kernels from 1 grilled corn
60 ml sour cream/Mexican crema
½ cup of radish (sliced thinly)
- Slice each poblano into two. Grill on a broiler for 7 minutes. Turn occasionally until both sides darken.
- Put the chilis in a bowl. Cover with a plastic sheet until cool. Slice into thin strips.
- Heat enough canola oil in a skillet for stir-frying. Add onion slices, stir until fragrant. Add garlic and the chilies. Stir for 2 minutes.
- Add crema and a pinch of salt into the skillet. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Place the taco filling onto warm tortillas. Add the corn and radish slices.
You can experiment with different ingredients. For example, try using gourd or cucumber instead of radish.
Recipe: Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde
Another low-calorie Mexican food, these tacos are perfect for chicken lovers. The recipe uses pre-packaged salsa verde sauce for quick and delicious lunch or dinner.
4 corn tortillas
1 cup of shredded chicken breast (grilled or roasted)
1 cup of purple cabbage (sliced)
¼ cup of salsa verde sauce
- Place a small pan on medium heat.
- Add shredded chicken meat and salsa verde sauce into the pan. Stir for 2 minutes.
- Heat tortillas on a stove. Set aside.
- Mix cabbage slices and mayonnaise in a bowl for the spread.
- Add the cooked chicken onto each tortilla. Add a dollop of mayo and cabbage mixture.
Simple tacos are perfect for lunch or dinner. You can replace the shredded chicken with shrimps or grilled fish.
Recipe: Breakfast Egg Tacos
This low-fat Mexican recipe is a modification of huevos rancheros, a popular breakfast dish among farmers. Huevos rancheros is nutritious, quick, and easy to make.
4 corn tortillas
½ cup of Mexican cheese (shredded)
½ cup of chopped cilantro
½ cup of black beans (rinsed and drained)
¼ cup of pico de gallo
Half avocado (peeled)
2 tablespoons of crema
2 teaspoons of olive oil
- Place tortillas on a baking tray. Broil one side in high heat for 2 minutes.
- Take out the tray. Turn over tortillas. Spread cheese and beans evenly. Broil again for 1 minute.
- Fry eggs with olive oil. Choose the level of cooking you like.
- Place one egg on every tortilla.
- Slice avocado and tomato. Add several slices on the tortillas.
- Add crema, pico de gallo, and cilantro.
Add flavor to these tacos by squeezing a lime wedge above them.
Alternatives for Mexican Ingredients
Depending on where you live, finding authentic Mexican ingredients can be hard. You can use alternatives to get similar flavor when trying healthy recipes. For example, regular sour cream is a common alternative for Mexican crema, although sour cream cannot be mixed in hot sauce (unlike crema).
Cheese is another important ingredient in Mexican dishes, but some alternatives to Mexican cheese work equally fine. Queso Oaxaca has similarities with mozzarella, including in its ability to reach satisfying chewy texture. The softer queso fresco has similarities with mild feta cheese.
Mexican oregano is also similar to the regular, Italian one. However, Mexican oregano has a strong and savory flavor. You can replace it with regular oregano, but tweak the amount a little bit, since they will bring different flavor intensity.
Finally, you can replace Mexican-style corn tortillas with the regular ones. However, to ensure good flavor, choose fresh tortillas with the least ingredients listed on the package.
Low-calorie Mexican dishes give varieties in colors, textures, and flavors. You can cook them quickly between your daily activities. Don’t forget to use healthy cooking methods, which can severely reduce calories. Forget greasy, unhealthy Mexican food from fast food joints, and make your own with these nutritious recipes.