If you do it right, eating vegetarian can be very good for you. Reducing the amount of meat you consume may help you lower your risk of heart disease and breast cancer, lose weight, and even take care of the environment. So why don’t more people go vegetarian, or at least eat vegetarian meals now and then? One common reason is that people think that vegetarian eating has to be boring and tasteless. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve gathered a number of exciting and healthy Mexican vegetarian recipes to help you add a little south-of-the-border flair to your diet even as you remove meat from it.
1. Huevos Rancheros
If you're okay with having eggs, huevos rancheros are an absolutely delicious vegetarian Mexican recipe that will fill you up and give you plenty of energy. It may not be low calorie, but it’s got plenty of protein, fiber, and important nutrients. This is a good breakfast for days when you need a hearty meal to get you through the day. This recipe from myrecipes.com serves 4.
- 8 corn tortillas
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 8 eggs
- 2 cups red salsa (can use homemade or store bought)
- 1 cup shredded jack cheese (plus extra for sprinkling)
- 3 tablespoons cotija or parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1/4 cup green onions (chopped)
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 cans refried beans
Turn your oven to 200 F and place oven safe plates into the oven to warm. Heat the salsa over low heat in a covered pan. While the salsa heats, pour 1/2 inch of oil into a large pan and heat it over medium heat. To check if the oil is hot enough, dip the handle of a wooden spoon into it. When it bubbles, it's ready. Fry your tortillas for about 2 seconds per side, then place 2 tortillas on each plate. Replace the plates in the oven to keep them warm.
Fry your eggs, either in the oil in the pan, or using a separate nonstick pan. When the eggs are done, place 2 eggs on each plate, and add a helping of salsa as well.
Sprinkle both types of cheese, green onions and the oregano or cilantro over the top of the eggs. Serve with the refried beans on the side.
Note: for a healthier alternative, don’t fry the tortillas. Instead, crisp them in your oven or warm them on a griddle. You can also try using low-fat cheese and substituting non-fat refried beans for the full-fat variety.
Perhaps you feel like something simpler and sweeter than huevos rancheros. In that case, try this vegetarian Mexican recipe for horchata, a refreshing, delicious drink that works great as a replacement for sweetened beverages like soda. This recipe comes courtesy of Minimalist Baker.
- 3/4 cup long grain white rice
- 6 cups water (divided)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (plain or vanilla) or 1 cup light coconut milk or 1 cup rice milk
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup pitted dates (medjool or deglet nour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
Soak the rice in 2 cups of hot, but not boiling, water. Leave it there for about two hours, or until it feels soft but raw. Drain the rice and put it into your blender, along with the dates, cinnamon and 4 cups water. Blend until the mixture is relatively smooth. If your horchata isn’t sweet enough for you, add more dates or some honey. When you're satisfied with the taste, strain the liquid, add the milk, then whisk well. Chill before serving.
Guacamole is one of the easiest Mexican vegetarian recipes there is. Simply get a few avocados, remove the peels and stones, and then mash them. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice to taste. If desired, add a splash of your favorite salsa. Serve with tortilla chips or use as a sandwich spread.
4. Bean Dip
Beans are really good for you, and a number of the best healthy vegetarian Mexican recipes make use of them. This next recipe comes from food.com and is super easy.
- 1 can black beans (rinsed)
- 1⁄2 cup salsa
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper
Place all ingredients except the salt and pepper into your food processor and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Fresh Salsa
Our last vegetarian Mexican recipe comes from Creme de la Crumb. Like the bean dip recipe, it’s made in the blender, which keeps preparation easy.
- 28 ounces tomatoes (whole or diced)
- 1 can (12 ounces) diced tomatoes and chilies
- 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
- Juice of 1 lime (or more to taste)
- 2/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/2 red onion (diced)
- 1/2 white onion (diced)
- optional: 1 jalapeño (seeded and diced finely)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in blender and process until you’ve reached your preferred level of chunkiness. Chill for an hour, then serve.