These delicious and healthy Mexican recipes include sizzling fajitas, creamy guacamole, fantastic tacos and more.
Food & Wine
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Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos
Skinless turkey thighs and drumsticks are packed with flavor; they're also low in fat and high in protein and essential minerals like selenium. Deborah Schneider braises the meat in beer until ultratender, then shreds it for tacos. "It's also fabulous in a sandwich," she says.
These tacos are a great way to eat heart-healthy salmon; Deborah Schneider, a huge advocate of cooking with sustainable fish, prefers wild Alaskan salmon. She tops the fish with crunchy cabbage—a traditional taco garnish that has all kinds of vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A and C and calcium. The tangy apple-cucumber salsa is juicy, crisp and full of fiber.
For an even quicker version of these flavorful fajitas, sauté the peppers and onions together for two minutes instead of charring them. Chipotle chiles packed in adobo are available at specialty food stores and Latin American markets.
With only a few ingredients, Rick Bayless's salpimentado (salt-and-pepper) ceviche is typical of what one would find at stands around the southern tip of Baja. Cooks often make it with sierra, a large and meaty Mexican fish, but tuna works just as well.
There are many variations on pozole, a traditional hominy-based Mexican stew closely associated with the Pacific-coast state of Guerrero. Anya von Bremzen's version, a green pozole, derives much of its flavor from tangy ingredients like tomatillos, cilantro and green chiles.
Eight-year-old Dani Shaub loves making these juicy fajitas—a recipe she based on the ingredient list from a packet of fajita seasoning—because it involves lots of slicing (one of her favorite cooking tasks) and "everyone gets to participate and pick their own toppings," she says.
Deconstructed nachos were the inspiration behind this fun pizza. Made with chili-spiced black-bean puree, tomatoes, olives, shredded lettuce and low-fat Jack cheese on a whole-wheat crust, the pie also gets a little low-fat sour cream (that nacho staple) on top.
Dionicio Jimenez serves his luscious salmon in a tomato sauce spiked with olives, capers and pickled jalapeños. The accompaniment: Mexican rice flavored with carrots, green beans and corn. An easier way: Skip the Mexican rice; the sauce for the salmon is so delicious, it's perfect spooned over yellow rice.
This spicy Mexican-style stew is loaded with vegetables, including carrots, an excellent source of vitamins A and K. Andrew Murray makes it for his employees around harvest time. "It's our comfort food at the winery," he says. "And it's a nice excuse to stop for a few minutes and eat together, even when we're busy."
This healthy take on the traditional chips-and-salsa combo is nearly fat-free and super-refreshing. The antioxidant-rich salsa is delicious served right after it's made, but the flavors meld nicely after a day or two in the refrigerator.
Fruity, pale-yellow güero peppers—just like Hungarian wax peppers—are a great source of vitamin C, folate and manganese. They're perfect for stuffing because "they have a little chile personality without being too hot," Deborah Schneider says. The shrimp-and-cheese filling here is a delicious source of protein. And the tomatoes in the salsa add vitamin K and potassium while also balancing the sweetness of the mangos, which are high in vitamins A and C.
Posole is a hearty Mexican soup or stew made with hominy (dried corn kernels with the hull and germ removed) and pork or poultry. Tim Love finds that the recipe is an excellent way to use up leftover turkey.
To accompany his fresh tuna tacos, chef Aarón Sanchez makes a quick, vinegary, super crunchy red-onion pickle. It's lovely with the warm, soft tortillas. To bump up the flavors of the tacos even more, he also adds a dash of hot sauce and a healthy squirt of fresh lime juice.
For the Italian breakfast dish Eggs in Purgatory, eggs are baked in a spicy tomato sauce. In this Mexican-inspired take, Grace Parisi substitutes a vibrant, fresh green sauce made with tomatillos, cilantro and scallions.
Combining fresh tomato juice and orange juice, this cold soup was inspired by sangrita—the zippy Mexican drink typically served at bars as a tequila chaser. "I love how the tomato and orange juices combine to form an entirely new flavor," Marcia Kiesel says. For fun, add a shot glass or two of silver tequila.
Adding a small amount of canned chipotle chiles in adobo (available at most supermarkets) makes a basic tomato sauce smoky and complex. Finishing the dish with queso blanco, and chopped cilantro leaves intensifies the Latin flavor.
To create this Southwestern-inspired dish, Melissa Rubel tosses shrimp with chipotle chile powder (made from dried, smoked jalapeños), grills them, then layers them on top of crunchy fried corn tortillas and crisp, citrusy slaw.