We’re almost a month into a new year and one of our resolutions year after year is to eat healthier. It’s time to start taking this healthy eating goal seriously, not just to lose weight but to become healthier overall. Part of this may mean no more carne asadas or your mom’s delicious chilaquiles, but instead, getting creative and putting a healthy twist on traditional Latin American recipes. Healthy Latin American dishes may sound like an oxymoron, but there are plenty of bloggers and chefs out there that show us how to do what seems like the impossible. Here’s a roundup of some of the best healthy twists on some of your favorite Latin American dishes.
Red Quinoa Con Pollo
Just about every Latino family has their own version of arroz con pollo. But no matter how you make it, the rice is heavy on carbs. That’s why chef Angelo Sosa and TV personality, Angie Martinez created red quinoa con pollo providing that hearty flavor. They replaced heavy carbs (rice) with quinoa – a whole grain that is packed with protein, fiber, and iron. For more of healthy recipes, check out Martinez and Sosa’s cookbook, Healthy Latin Eating.
Get the recipe here: Red Quinoa Con Pollo
Sopa de Pollo con Bolitas de Platano
Amanda Torres, author of the Latin American Paleo Cooking cookbook, puts a healthy twist on sopa de gandules con bolitas, a traditional Puerto Rican dish. She replaces the beans with chicken and leaves out the rice to make it gluten-free. The dumplings are made from green plantains and the broth is infused with an authentic sofrito, made with cilantro, garlic, red bell pepper, oregano, and onion. This soup comes together easily and is great for a busy weeknight when you want to pack a lot of nutrients into one dish.
Get the recipe here: Sopa de Pollo con Bolitas de Platano
Arroz Con Leche
Ingrid Hoffmann is a Colombian-American celebrity chef and TV personality on the Food Network’s Simply Delicioso and also hosts her own Spanish-language cooking and lifestyle show, Delicioso, on Galavision/Univision. She recently published Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy, a cookbook that turns traditional Latin cuisine into nutritious, diabetes-friendly meals. In her cookbook, she shares a recipe for a light version of arroz con leche. It’s got brown rice, flax seed, skim milk or nut milk, stevia, and cinnamon. It will definitely do the trick to kill those sweet cravings while not overloading on sugars.
Get the recipe here: Arroz Con Leche
Ropa Vieja de Pollo
Leticia Moreinos Schwartz is on a mission to prove to us that healthy eating can be delicious. She witnessed first-hand the dietary problems that contributed to many lifestyle diseases in the Latinx community. So she created the cookbook, Latin Superfoods, to introduce new and improved Latin recipes that you can enjoy without compromising on flavor. One of the recipes is ropa vieja de pollo but adapted, rethought, and remade with a nutrition in mind. First of all, this dish is made with chicken rather than the traditional beef ingredient which is usually higher in fat, and she suggests using brown rice for more fiber.
Get the recipe here: Ropa Vieja de Pollo
Flan de Coco
Venezuelan chef and life coach Johana Clavel is all about making Latin American recipes that are healthier alternatives to traditional versions. In her cookbook, Cocina Latina Ligera, she shares food substitution guides, ideas for feeding kids, and her best tips to start living a healthy life. She has a recipe for flan de coco and not only is it low in fat but it also has whey protein added to it. Desserts for that sweet tooth with protein for those gains? Let’s get cooking!
Get the recipe here: Flan de Coco
Goat Cheese Enchiladas
Torie Borrelli, author of The Mexican Keto Cookbook, shares low-carb, anti-inflammatory recipes while giving an international flare to the popular keto diet. She taps into her Mexican heritage to create keto-friendly staples of Mexican cuisine such as goat cheese enchiladas. Butternut squash, goat cheese, and mushrooms – three extraordinary ingredients – will help you reap the health, weight loss, and other benefits keto has to offer.
Get the recipe here: Goat Cheese Enchiladas
Lentil Soup with Spiralized Turnips
Ali Maffucci is getting you excited to eat veggies with creative, tasty, and simple recipes from her cookbook Inspirilized. Whether you’re low-carb, gluten-free, Paleo, or raw, Ali shows you that you don’t have to give up the foods you love because you want to be healthier. She likes to stay healthy by spirilizing her veggies. With her vegan lentil soup with turnip noodles, you may think, “What’s the point of the turnips?” Well, lentil soup can get a little boring so by adding in a spirilized veggies, it reinvents a classic comfort soup.
Get the recipe here: Lentil Soup with Spirilized Turnips
Veggie Fajita Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Jessica Merchant is a passionate cook who’s cookbooks including The Pretty Dish feature themed menus, party ideas, killer playlists, along with healthy recipes. All of her recipes are deliciously indulgent and all take 60 minutes or less to make. Her veggie fajita stuffed sweet potato recipe is a surefire way to get your daily veggies in. It’s got tons of bell peppers and mushrooms but the best part is that the sweet potato replaces the tortilla, so it’s a heartier meal packed with fiber and great for your gut health.
Get the recipe here: Veggie Fajita Stuffed Sweet Potato
Jocelyn Ramirez transforms traditional dishes that she grew up making alongside her abuela into wonderfully flavorful plant-based meals. With only a few simple and affordable substitutions, you can capture all of the deliciousness of authentic Mexican cooking using only plants with recipes available in her cook book, La Vida Verde. Her jackfruit carnitas are high in fiber and nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C and are one of her most popular recipes.
Get the recipe here: Jackfruit Carnitas