31 Healthy Mexican Recipes for a Mexican Night Made Light

Cheesy Taco-Stuffed Peppers
Photo: Blaine Moats

Host a flavor fiesta filled with healthy Mexican food all month long. We're adding veggies and cutting down on sodium in healthy quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, and burritos so you can enjoy a variety of low-calorie Mexican food faves right at home. Each of these healthy Mexican recipes has fewer than 450 calories per serving while packing in fiber and protein—oh yes, and plenty of flavor.

01 of 25

Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls with Cashew Cream

Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls with Cashew Cream
Jason Donnelly

Score a fast food fix at home—and in a way more balanced fashion—with this healthy Mexican food idea. Our pinto bean, sweet potato, and brown rice burrito bowls are full of flavor and fiber (almost half your daily quota). Prep them on Sunday for grab-and-go weekday lunches or set out each separate component in a bowl for a build-your-own supper.

02 of 25

Cheesy Taco-Stuffed Peppers

Cheesy Taco-Stuffed Peppers
Blaine Moats

Pep up dinner by utilizing bell pepper halves as low-cal, high-nutrition "taco shells." Mounded with rice, beans, veggies, spices, and cheese, one vegetarian stuffed pepper makes for a healthy Mexican dish to serve as a side. Or try two for a satisfying dinner that sneaks in 20 grams of protein.

03 of 25

Pork al Pastor

Pork al Pastor in round skillet
Andy Lyons

Meet one of our most prized meat entrées. We've won over countless folks with this succulent, tender pork tenderloin. Grill pineapple slices alongside the pork and stuff both inside grilled corn or flour tortillas.

04 of 25

Tex-Mex Fried Veggie Rice with Radishes and Avocado

mexican fried veggie rice with radishes and avocado
Brie Passano

We're taking fried rice on a vacation! To create this low-calorie Mexican food idea, substitute broccoli and cauliflower rice for white rice. Stir in flavor-packed ingredients such as chili powder, cumin, lime juice, avocado, and cilantro for a Mexican twist on this popular Asian creation.

05 of 25

Chili Verde Soup

Chili Verde Soup
Scott Little

Dump dinners for the win! Pork shoulder braises to crave-able perfection in the slow cooker next to beans, chicken broth, chile peppers, and spinach. Amp up this healthy Mexican recipe in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a handful of cilantro.

Buy It: Cuisinart 3.5-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker ($60, Target)

06 of 25

Chicken Chilaquiles

Chicken Chilaquiles
Kritsada Panichgul

Say "hola!" to this traditional Mexican dish that sure doesn't taste like a low-calorie Mexican food option. Queso fresco and sour cream balance the heat of chipotle-spiced chicken and tomatoes. This skillet casserole will inspire you to jump out of bed to speed up the time between your alarm and the first bite of this morning meal!

Buy It: Cuisinart Stainless 14-Inch Skillet ($41, Bed Bath & Beyond)

07 of 25

Baked Tilapia Veracruz

Baked Tilapia Veracruz
Blaine Moats

Reel in a really delicious low-calorie Mexican food option. Brighten baked tilapia with green olives, golden raisins, capers, and cherry tomatoes, then finish with fresh herbs to complete this 300-calorie dish.

Test Kitchen Tip: Tilapia not your favorite fish? Red snapper works equally well in this yummy low-calorie Mexican-inspired recipe.

08 of 25

Burrito Bowls

Burrito Bowls with bowls of cheese, guac, and pilo
Blaine Moats

Healthy burrito recipes can be tough to find if you're searching for them on fast-food menus. (Psst ... the burrito's tortilla alone often adds about 320 calories to your meal!) For this low-calorie Mexican recipe, we ditch that tortilla and use high-fiber cauliflower rice, fresh pico, and a variety of crunchy, delicious veggies. Finish it off with your favorite protein—pork, chicken, shrimp, or beans would all work wonderfully—and you won't feel like you're missing a thing.

09 of 25

Fall Vegetable Fajitas

Fall Vegetable Fajitas
Blaine Moats

These fresh and flavorful grilled fajitas get their spunky flavor from a chile-lime marinade. Serve with a boatload of veggies for a healthy Mexican dinner recipe.

Buy It: Stainless Grill Basket ($31, Walmart)

10 of 25

Chicken in Peanut Sauce (Pollo Encacahuatado)

Chicken Peanut Sauce (Pollo Encacahuatado)
Jason Donnelly

Tender, juicy chicken thighs in a spicy peanut sauce at fewer than 400 calories per serving? Yes, please! (Psst, you can discard the chicken skin to save additional fat and calories.) Pair this delicious and healthy Mexican chicken recipe with a side salad or crisp-tender steamed veggies for a filling and flavorful meal.

11 of 25

Slow Cooker Taco Salad

Slow Cooker Taco Salad
Jacob Fox

This fabulous slow cooker meal is a triple treat: nutritious, Mexican-inspired, and convenient. Load up your slow cooker with ground meat and four more kitchen staples, then scoop the spicy meat mixture onto a bed of greens and top it off with corn, avocado, and cherry tomatoes. Whether you opt for ground beef or leaner ground turkey in this healthy taco salad is up to you. (Either is delish!)

Buy It: Crock-Pot 4-Quart Cook & Carry Slow Cooker ($50, Bed Bath & Beyond)

12 of 25

Pumpkin, Bean, and Chicken Enchiladas

Pumpkin, Bean, and Chicken Enchiladas
Blaine Moats

Squash hunger pangs with one high-fiber pantry staple: canned pumpkin. For this healthy enchilada casserole, we've given traditional chicken enchiladas a makeover with a savory use for the popular pie ingredient. Part-skim mozzarella cheese keeps these crowd-pleasing enchiladas low in fat, while jalapeño adds tongue-tingling heat.

13 of 25

Fajita-Style Quesadillas

Fajita-Style Quesadilla
Blaine Moats

Feeling cheesy? Serve wedges of these surprisingly healthy quesadillas as an appetizer at your next fiesta. Stuffed with fresh, colorful vegetables and gooey melted cheese, a whole fajita-style quesadilla has just 263 calories per serving.

Test Kitchen Tip: If you're craving more protein, toss in 2 to 4 ounces of grilled shrimp, chicken, or cooked beans with the veggies as the filling.

14 of 25

Zesty Fajita Bites

Zesty Fajita Bites
Andy Lyons

Add these colorful fajita wraps as a low-calorie Mexican food menu option for your next taco party. Slow-cook succulent chicken thighs with a zesty fiesta lime seasoning, then wrap them in flour tortillas with an array of bright peppers. For a full meal, skip the slicing step and enjoy a whole tortilla wrap for just 220 calories each.

15 of 25

Mexican-Spiced Chicken Pasta

Mexican Chicken Pasta in bowls
Brie Passano

When you hear "chicken breasts" and "ziti," you probably imagine a hearty Italian entrée—not a south-of-the-border supper. But for this healthy Mexican chicken recipe, we combine those two family-friendly dinner staples with corn, black beans, taco seasoning, and plenty of veggies in a punchy and protein-rich meal. Because there are so many other flavor- and nutrition-boosting ingredients, you can stretch 8 ounces of pasta to feed eight(!) with 1⅓-cup servings of this meal.

16 of 25

Chile Flank Steak with Grilled-Corn Pico de Gallo

Chile Flank Steak with Grilled-Corn Pico de Gallo
Blaine Moats

Steak for dinner on a healthy diet? Yep, it's possible! Lean cuts of beef, such as the flank steak in this healthy Mexican recipe, are iron- and protein-rich additions to a well-balanced meal plan. Grill with chipotle seasonings and serve the healthy Mexican dish with homemade pico de gallo for a fresh kick of Southwestern flair.

17 of 25

Mango-Chicken Tinga

Mango-Chicken Tinga
Karla Conrad

Make your way to the table for a hearty yet healthy bowl of tinga, a shredded-meat stew with smoky-hot flavor from chipotle peppers. Toss in cubes of sweet mango (a vitamin C powerhouse) to temper the heat in this low-calorie Mexican recipe.

Test Kitchen Tip: Serve the healthy Mexican chicken recipe over cauliflower rice instead of white rice if you'd like to lighten up this meal even more.

18 of 25

Green Chile-Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Green Chile Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Blaine Moats

Go green and go south of the border all at once with this healthy Mexican recipe riff on the classic chicken casserole. Tomatillos—small, tart, tomatolike fruit—infuse this comfort food creation with a hint of vibrant lime. Blended with onion, chile peppers, and cilantro, and layered with tortillas, salsa, and chicken, this flavorful one-dish dinner recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

19 of 25

Spicy Buffalo Tacos

Spicy Buffalo Tacos
Jason Donnelly

Where's the beef? Well, it can be in this low-fat Mexican cooking idea if you can't find its leaner red meat alternative, buffalo. Use either as the base for the slow-simmered, fiery taco meat that's balanced with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and green onions in this easy make-ahead meal.

20 of 25

Chicken and Green Chile Tamales

Chicken and Green Chili Tamales
Jacob Fox

If you think cozy and comforting chicken tamales don't fit into a well-balanced eating plan, this dish will make you reconsider. Each of these spicy, healthy tamales stands at just a smidgen over 100 calories. Top each bite with zippy pico de gallo or fresh salsa for even more flavor.

21 of 25

Enchilada Pizzas

Enchilada Pizzas
Jason Donnelly

Who knew a whole pizza could clock in at just 167 calories? These corn tortilla-crusted healthy enchilada pizzas put a fiery spin on the classic Italian dish with chili powder, cayenne pepper, enchilada sauce, and more. Piles of fresh herbs and vegetables keep these pizzas in healthy Mexican food territory.

22 of 25

Edamame, Black Bean, and Corn Quesadillas with Lime Crema

Edamame, Black Bean, and Corn Quesadillas
Scott Little

Skip the meat and still snag plenty of protein (18 grams) with these colorful, healthy quesadillas. Two types of legumes—edamame and black beans—are natural sources of the aforementioned muscle-building macronutrient, plus antioxidants and fiber. Partner with a tangy lime-sour cream sauce for a delicious healthy Mexican recipe with only 341 calories per serving.

23 of 25

Pork Empanadas with Jicama Pico de Gallo

Pork Empanadas with Jicama Pico de Gallo
Blaine Moats

Why fry it? These pork-stuffed whole wheat empanadas are baked on a sheet pan instead of cooked in oil, so they have just 4 grams of fat per serving. Pico de gallo blended with jicama—a turniplike veggie native to Mexico—serves as a fresh dipping sauce for these savory pockets. Enjoy one as a healthy Mexican side dish or pair two with a Mexican salad for a well-rounded meal.

24 of 25

Spicy Seafood Tacos

Spicy Seafood Tacos
Jason Donnelly

Crabmeat and snapper fillets add protein to these spicy seafood tacos, while light sour cream and fresh fruits and veggies keep this handheld entrée surprisingly light. If you are counting carbs or seeking a keto diet-friendly meal, pile the nicely spiced seafood atop the cabbage salad and skip the tortillas for a low-carb and low-calorie Mexican food fix.

25 of 25

Mini Cornmeal Sopes with Chicken Salad

Mini Cornmeal Sopes
Jason Donnelly

Jam-packed with color, fiber, and protein, this Mexican adaptation of the chicken salad sandwich has only 309 calories per serving. (Bonus: Picky eaters will have a tough time guessing there are chia seeds and whole wheat bread crumbs hiding in the sopes!) Polenta squares provide a simple base for a nutritious south-of-the-border healthy Mexican recipe that's perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

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