Mexican cuisine is all about tradition and dates back to Maya and Aztec times. With the Spanish conquest, varied ingredients were introduced and formed what was later known as Mexican gastronomy.
Most dishes are very simple but savory, based on fresh ingredients and tons of spices and herbs. The spicy touch is its main distinctive signature.
People usually think Mexican cuisine is very copious, highly seasoned, strongly spicy, greasy, and full of calories. You will be surprised this is not entirely true. It is spicy and seasoned, but not all of it is high in fat and calories.
Base ingredients in Mexican cuisine have to do with freshness and variety. Most used meal components include tomatoes, avocados, squashes, chili peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, corn, rice, beans, potatoes, nopal, huauzontle, pork, chicken, beef, and several types of fruits.
Herbs and spices cannot be set aside, since they are responsible for giving Mexico preparations their authentic flavor. They are the reason why this cuisine is renowned worldwide. Most herbs and spices used in Mexico are autochthonous of this Latin American country.
To name a few, they frequently use coriander, parsley, basil, rosemary, epazote, oregano, laurel, thyme, marjoram, achiote, anise, cumin, and so on.
Regarding spicy taste, Mexico has a special list of most used chile peppers: mulato, pasilla negro, cascabel, guajillo, ancho, puya, chipotle, serrano, habanero, and more.
The combination of all these elements makes the most flavored and colored cuisine in the world: tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chilaquiles, machaca, Cochinita Pibil, red rice, tamales, among others.
When you imagine Mexican food, the picture is a dish with a tortilla topped with meat, beans, rice, lots of green, white or red sauces, melted cheese, and sour cream. You also imagine the number of calories, saturated fat, and sodium it may contain. This can make you think twice about choosing it for your next meal.
Mexican food doesn’t mean unhealthy dishes. It is true you can find some fatty dishes, but there are healthier choices too. You do not have to quit eating any of these delightful preparations. The idea is to choose a Mexican recipe, use the right ingredients, and proper cooking techniques, for making a nutritious combination.
Instead of eating a burrito filled with meat, cheese, and sour cream, prepare a burrito bowl with rice, grilled meat, and fresh sauces like pico de gallo or guacamole.
Other options you may try include:
- Cabbage Enchiladas.
- Grilled Shrimp Tostadas.
- Burrito Zucchini Boats.
- Chicken Posole.
- Burrito Bowl.
- Chicken Fajitas.
- Spiced Pork Tacos with Avocado.
- Cilantro Lime Rice.
- Healthy Mexican fried rice.
- Skinny Mexican Rice.
Of all these healthy alternatives, there is one as versatile to use as a filling, accompaniment, or complete meal. It is not other than rice, particularly Red rice.
One of the rice’s advantages is its blank flavor which allows pairing it with a lot of components and making very nutritious dishes.
Red Rice is a rice-based dish with garlic, tomatoes, and onions. For making it more nutritious you can add red kidney beans, corn, and pepper. It can be served as a side dish for grilled meat, like salad, or as a complete meal.
Try the following Mexican rice recipe and discover that Mexican food also means healthy preparations.
- 2 cups of white rice.
- 4 cups of vegetable stock.
- Olive oil.
- ½ diced capsicum.
- ¾ cup of red kidney beans.
- 1 crushed clove of garlic.
- 1 diced red chili.
- 2 teaspoons of coriander powder.
- ½ cup of corn.
- Fresh lime juice.
- 4 diced spring onions.
- 1 cup of tomato passata.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Fresh Coriander.
- In a saucepan, pour olive oil on high heat. Incorporate garlic, capsicum, and rice. Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
- Incorporate red kidney beans, red chili, and coriander powder. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
- Add corn and vegetable stock. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- When rice is almost done, include passata, spring onions, salt, and pepper.
- Pour lime juice all over the rice and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Serve with fresh coriander.
- Calories: 133.
- Fat: 2 g.
- Cholesterol: 0 mg.
- Sodium: 322 mg.
- Carbohydrates: 20 g.
- Fiber: 5 g.
- Sugar: 2.4 g.
- Protein: 3 g.