A collection of healthy Mexican food recipes including lightened up versions of favorites like tacos, taquitos, and enchiladas.
We’re huge fans of Mexican food in our house. I could probably eat it every day and be perfectly happy. From the look of it, I’m not alone – my Mexican inspired recipes are consistently some of the most popular ones on this site.
Unfortunately, Mexican food tends to get a bad reputation – especially here in the northeast where, until recently, it was synonymous with greasy, carb-heavy food smothered in massive amounts of cheese. When we went to Mexico for my honeymoon, we were surprised to find that a lot of Mexican foods aren’t like that at all. Instead, theres a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and seafood, and flavorful sauces.
When we came home, we realized that there were more healthy options on menus that we thought. We were always focused on fried tacos, cheesy enchiladas, and giant plates of nachos, but we quickly discovered lighter options like tacos de carne asada with onion cilantro salsa were also on many menus. We fell in love with lighter options like bistec a la mexicana (beef cooked with onions and jalapeno peppers), cochinita pibil (pork cooked with acidic citrus) and salmon en manchamanteles (a delicious sauce flavored with chocolate and tropical fruit)
Now that street-style tacos are popular, it’s reputation is starting to turn around and more traditional Mexican food is even easier to find.
Of course, it’s also fun to make healthy Mexican recipes at home. I love finding ways to incorporate flavors like chipotle chiles, avocado, and lime into my recipes. I also love playing around with technique, and have discovered ways to lighten up some of my childhood Tex-mex favorites by baking them instead of frying and by making my own lower-sodium sauces (including this habanero hot sauce recipe.)
Here are some of my favorite healthy recipes for Mexican food:
Baked Taquito Recipes
Taquitos and flautas, tortillas rolled around meat or other fillings and fried until they’re super crispy, are delicious. I discovered that baked taquitos can be just as crispy as the traditional version, but have much less fat. Depending on what you choose to fill them with, bakes taquitos can actually be healthy!
- These baked chicken flautas stuffed with chicken and spinach are one of my most popular recipes and get rave reviews.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try my Buffalo chicken taquitos or even hummus chicken flautas.
- This vegetarian taquitos recipe is filled with farmers market produce
- Baked breakfast taquitos that are perfect for mornings on-the-go.
Along the same line as these taquito recipes, you’ll love making air fryer empanadas! They come out so crispy without any oil!
Healthy Taco Recipes
When I think about healthy Mexican food, tacos are usually one of the first things that come to mind. I love all of the fresh creations that have been popping up on menus and in food trucks lately! A few of my favorites include:
- Halibut tacos with chipotle lime yogurt
- Healthy fish tacos with spicy picked onions
- Grilled pork and pineapple tacos
- Chorizo potato tacos
If you prefer to get your fill of taco flavor in something that’s more appropriate for a fork and knife, be sure to check out my taco casserole and dorito taco bake. They’re both incredibly popular – people love them! Make them with baked chips to keep them on the lighter side. This chilaquiles verdes recipe topped with fresh sauce and runny eggs reminds me of a breakfast version of taco casserole.
Enchiladas have a special place in my heart. Good enchilada sauce has so much flavor! I love making my own simple enchilada sauce so I can control the ingredients that are in it and keep the sodium down. A few of my favorite recipes include:
- Chicken enchiladas in creamy, homemade poblano sauce
- Spinach and cheese enchiladas
- Sweet potato enchiladas
- Mole enchiladas stuffed with butternut squash
Stacked enchiladas are also really fun, and are easier that make than rolling individual tortillas. Try this recipe for stacked chicken enchiladas verde or stacked enchiladas with pork and pineapple.
Enchilada sauce can also add healthy Mexican flavor to less traditional recipes. I love pouring it over this sweet potato noodles recipe with chicken, enchilada sauce, beans, and corn.