We are almost a month into a new year and one of our resolutions year after year is to eat healthier. It is time to take this goal of healthy eating seriously, not just to lose weight, but to get healthier overall. Part of that may no longer mean carne asadas or your mother’s delicious chilaquiles, but instead getting creative and adding a healthy twist to traditional Latin American recipes. Healthy Latin American dishes might sound like an oxymoron, but there are plenty of bloggers and chefs out there who show us how to do the impossible. Here’s a roundup of the best healthy twists of some of your favorite Latin American dishes.
Red quinoa with chicken
Photo: Instagram / @ healthylatineating
Almost every Latino family has their own version of arroz con pollo. But no matter how you make it, the rice is high in carbohydrates. For this reason, the cook Angelo Sosa and the TV personality Angie Martinez created the red quinoa con pollo, which provides this hearty taste. They replaced heavy carbohydrates (rice) with quinoa – a whole grain that is filled with protein, fiber, and iron. For more healthy recipes, see Martinez and Sosa’s cookbook, Healthy Latin American Food.
Get the recipe here: Red quinoa With chicken
Chicken soup with banana balls
Photo: Instagram / @ thecuriouscoconut
Amanda Torres, author of the Latin American cookbook Paleo Cooking, gives sopa de gandules con bolitas, a traditional Puerto Rican dish, a healthy twist. She replaced the beans with chicken and left out the rice to make it gluten-free. The dumplings are made from green plantains and an authentic sofrito made from coriander, garlic, red pepper, oregano and onions is added to the broth. This soup is easy to put together and is great for a busy week when you want to pack a lot of nutrients into one dish.
Get the recipe here: Chicken soup with banana balls
Photo: Instagram / @ ingridhoffmannofficial
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 transforms traditional Latin American cuisine into nutritious, diabetes-friendly meals. In her cookbook, she shares a recipe for a light version of arroz con leche. There is brown rice, flaxseed, skimmed or nut milk, stevia and cinnamon. It will definitely do the trick to satisfy those sweet cravings without overloading sugar.
Get the recipe here: ricepudding
Old chicken clothes
Photo: Instagram / @ leticiamoreinosschwartz
Leticia Moreinos Schwartz has made it her business to prove to us that healthy eating can be delicious. She experienced firsthand the nutritional problems that contributed to many lifestyle ailments in the Latinx community. That’s why she created the Latin Superfoods cookbook to introduce new and improved Latin American recipes that you can enjoy without compromising on taste. One of the recipes is ropa vieja de pollo, but adapted, reconsidered and remade with the diet in mind. First of all, this dish is made with chicken rather than the traditional beef ingredient, which is usually more fat, and she suggests using brown rice for more fiber.
Get the recipe here: Old chicken clothes
Photo: Instagram / @ johaclavel
The Venezuelan cook and life coach Johana Clavel is all about preparing Latin American recipes that are healthier alternatives to traditional versions. In her cookbook Cocina Latina Ligera, she gives instructions on nutritional supplements, ideas for nutrition for children and her best tips for a healthy life. She has a recipe for flan de coco and not only is it low in fat, but it also contains whey protein. Desserts for that sweet tooth with protein for those gains? Let’s cook!
Get the recipe here: Coconut flan
Goat cheese enchiladas
Photo: Instagram / @ thevidawell
Torie Borrelli, author of the Mexican keto cookbook, shares low-carb, anti-inflammatory recipes and gives the popular keto diet an international twist. She uses her Mexican heritage to create keto-friendly staples in Mexican cuisine like goat cheese enchiladas. Butternut squash, goat cheese, and mushrooms – three amazing ingredients – will help you get the health, weight loss, and other benefits of keto.
Get the recipe here: Goat cheese enchiladas
Lentil soup with spiral beets
Photo: Instagram / @ inspired
Ali Maffucci inspires you to eat vegetables with creative, tasty and simple recipes from her cookbook Inspirilized. Whether you’re low-carb, gluten-free, paleo, or raw, Ali shows you don’t have to go without the foods you love because you want to be healthier. She likes to stay healthy by spiraling her vegetables. With their vegan lentil soup with beet noodles, you might think, “What’s the point of beets?” Well, lentil soup can get a little boring. So when you add a spiraled vegetable, she reinvents a classic comfort soup.
Get the recipe here: Lentil soup with spiral beets
Veggie Fajita Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Photo: Instagram / @ howsweeteats
Jessica Merchant is a passionate cook whose cookbooks, including The Pretty Dish, feature themed menus, party ideas, killer playlists, and healthy recipes. All of their recipes are deliciously pampering and they take no more than 60 minutes to prepare. Your vegetable fajita filled sweet potato recipe is a surefire way to prepare your daily veggies. It contains tons of peppers and mushrooms, but the best part is that the sweet potato replaces the tortilla, so a heartier meal with fiber and great for your colon health.
Get the recipe here: Veggie Fajita Stuffed Sweet Potato
Photo: Instagram / @ todoverde
Jocelyn Ramirez transforms traditional dishes that she has prepared alongside her Abuela into wonderfully tasty plant-based dishes. With just a few simple and affordable substitutions, you can capture the deliciousness of authentic Mexican cuisine using only plants available in their cookbook, La Vida Verde. Their jackfruit carnitas are high in fiber and nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C and are among their most popular recipes.
Get the recipe here: Jackfruit Carnitas