3 Healthy Mexican Foods for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de mayo is one of my favorite holidays – it’s fun, festive, and great food is almost always assured (and drinks too!). While many of the traditional Mexican style foods offer healthy nutrients, some (like with any foods) can be higher in calories and saturated fat (think, cheese).   To help guide you toward making healthy food choices this coming Cinco de Mayo, I’ve broken down a list of the healthiest Mexican foods and included some of our favorite, healthy recipes too.

Tomatoes & Tomatillos

Tomatoes are loaded with vitamins A and C that are skin and immune-healthy, and they’re also a good source of anti-cancer lycopene (made more available to your body for use when cooked), and carotenoids. Red, tomato-based salsa is a favorite staple in Mexican dishes, and is low calorie, requires only few ingredients, and is delicious!Tomatillos are another major favorite in Mexican cooking and are a relative of the tomato but are green in color instead. They have a less-sweet taste, and are used to make salsa verde (green salsa), that often also contains healthful herbs and spices (see herbs and below) including jalapeños and cilantro amongst others.

Jalapeño Peppers

The spicier the better when it comes to key nutrients and metabolism-revving benefits of hot peppers. Spicy peppers like jalapeños are offered in many different dishes on Cinco de Mayo and in Mexican food in general. Jalapeño peppers can be extremely spicy, so be careful (don’t touch your face after cutting them with your hands), but the natural spice can help to rev metabolism, and nutrients in jalapeño – capsaicin contains anti-inflammatory properties and also may help to promote pain relief. Finally, some research also suggests that peppers in general may be helpful with reducing risk for certain types of cancer.

Herbs

Cilantro & parsley: Both cilantro and parsley are loaded with nutrients, and personally some of my favorite herbs to use. Cilantro contains anti-microbial properties, while parsley contains nutrients that may help the liver produce natural detoxifying enzymes. Not only are they healthful, but cilantro and parsley are staples of Mexican cooking and dishes, and this Cinco de Mayo, the more you add to your dishes, the better.

Black Beans

Black beans are common in Mexican salads and dips. Black beans are a source of key nutrients and minerals including calcium, energizing iron, heart-healthy magnesium and folate. Black beans also contain anythocyanins- a family of nutrients that can help to fight inflammation in the body. Lastly, black beans are loaded with fiber that can help to promote healthy digestion (also helping to prevent blood sugar spikes) and also can help to moderate cholesterol.

Recipes:

Summer Taco Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 (1-oz.) pkg. taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 (14-oz.) Rojo’s Restaurant Style Salsa
  • 1 cup canned drained black beans
  • 1 cup Mexican Style Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Tortilla Strips (optional)

Directions

In large skillet, prepare beef or turkey with taco seasoning mix according to package directions; set aside. Meanwhile, on 4 large plates, layer ¼ cup of lettuce and Rojo’s Restaurant Style Salsa, 1/4 cup black beans and ¼ cup cheese. Top with cooked taco meat. Garnish with sour cream and tortilla strips as desired. Makes 4 servings.

Soft StreetTacos

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak cut into strips
  • 4 corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 (14 oz.) Rojo’s Homestyle Salsa
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • Cilantro (optional)

Directions

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add steak; cook and stir until lightly browned. Spoon steak onto tortillas; sprinkle with onions and cilantro; drizzle with Rojo’s Homestyle Salsa. Fold up sides of tortillas to enclose filling.

Rojo’s Nachos

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of tortilla chips
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
    1 (1-oz.) pkg. taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can refried beans and/or black beans
  • 1 (14 oz.) Rojo’s Fire Roasted Salsa
  • 1 (10 oz.) can pitted black olives, drained and chopped
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 1 (4 oz.) can jalapeno peppers, drained
  • Cilantro (optional)

Directions

In large skillet, prepare beef or turkey with taco seasoning mix according to package directions; set aside. Spread tortilla chips on baking sheet and top with cheese, refried beans/black beans and ground beef or turkey mixture. Broil until cheese is melted. Top with Rojo’s Fire Roasted Salsa, black olives, green onions, white onions and jalapeno peppers (cilantro optional)

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