26 Healthy Mexican-Inspired Recipes for Kids
Think beyond taco night with these healthy Mexican-inspired meals. The whole family will love these delicious recipes that can easily be adjusted for spice levels depending on your tolerance. Recipes like Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas and Cheese Quesadillas with Peppers & Onions are flavorful and will be loved by even the pickiest of eaters.
Mexican Skillet Lasagna
This easy Mexican-inspired lasagna recipe replaces the noodles with tortilla strips that become like tender ribbons in the cayenne- and cumin-spiked tomato sauce. Topped with Cheddar and cream cheese, the lasagna is just as soulful as its Italian cousin and can be made on a busy weeknight in about 30 minutes using a single skillet. Excerpted from The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, published by ABRAMS © 2017.
Cheese Quesadillas with Peppers & Onions
These 15-minute quesadillas are a notch above basic with the addition of sautéed peppers and onions. Let the kiddos load them up with the toppings at the table.
Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Crema
Avocado cuts some of the sour cream in our quick crema loaded with cilantro, for a healthier taco sauce that takes these shrimp tacos to the next level. Shrimp cook up super-fast, making them the ultimate taco filling for a fast weeknight dinner that's also impressive and delicious enough for a weekend dinner party.
Virgin Layered Strawberry-Mango Margaritas
This frozen mocktail is so delicious and beautiful! Layers of blended strawberries and mango with a touch of zesty citrus flavor combine for a fun nonalcoholic drink without all the extra calories and sugar of a traditional restaurant margarita.
Freezer Bean & Cheese Burritos
This copycat version of store-bought frozen burritos is perfect for meal prepping. Make a big batch to store in the freezer for healthy packable lunches or a quick campsite meal.
Build-Your-Own Chicken Tacos
This kid-friendly recipe keeps every element of tacos separate so your child can decide to eat them separately or have fun building their own mini tacos with their favorite toppings. Plus, it's perfect for packing into a bento box for a healthy lunch for school.
Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas
One sheet pan is all you'll need to whip up these zesty chicken fajitas. They're quick and easy to make and cleanup is even faster!
Tres Leches Cake
Translating to "three milks" cake, Tres Leches Cake is a traditional Mexican sponge cake that's soaked in, you guessed it, three kinds of milk, for the ultimate moist, decadent cake. Think of it as a poke cake that we've lightened up with this easy recipe.
This recipe takes cornbread to the next level with added spice from green chiles and cheesy Cheddar on top.
Mexican Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Everyone will love this Mexican-inspired pasta salad recipe. We lighten up the creamy dressing with avocado for a healthier version of a picnic favorite.
Chicken Taco Bowls
This chicken taco bowl recipe uses the underside of a muffin tin as a mold to bake cute little homemade “tortilla bowls.” The “tortilla bowls” are filled with a zesty chicken filling and topped like nachos. If you have 2 large muffin tins, you can make all 8 “bowls” at once. Bake them in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, rotating top to bottom about halfway through baking.
Almost Chipotle's Guacamole
Make guacamole at home that tastes just like it came from Chipotle--but don't worry, our version won't be "extra"! This deliciously fresh guac is perfect for topping burrito bowls or tacos, or serve as an appetizer or healthy snack with tortilla chips and veggies.
Camping Chicken Quesadillas
These make-ahead quesadillas are a genius campfire dinner solution. Assemble and wrap in foil at home, then once you get to camp, just throw over hot coals for a quick campsite meal.
8-Layer Taco Salad
This gorgeous and colorful 8-layer taco salad recipe is made healthier by using ground turkey in place of beef, adding Greek yogurt and bumping up the amount of vegetables. Serve this salad in a clear glass bowl and you'll have an eye-catching party-worthy dinner or potluck side in just 30 minutes.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
This refreshing drink is served by roadside vendors all over Mexico. Not too much fruit, not too much sugar, just a beautiful way to quench your thirst on a summer day.
Skip the greasy mess and bake these healthier churros rather than frying them in oil. The cinnamon-sugar-dusted classic Mexican dessert comes out of the oven crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Richly flavorful pulled pork is served in corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, red onions, and salsa, then topped with lime crema.
Here's a burrito inspired by San Francisco's super burritos that come packed with meat, beans, rice, cheese, guacamole and salsa. We've kept this home-style version a bit simpler to make and a whole lot healthier with brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas and a more reasonable serving size. We recommend wrapping it in foil--the traditional way to serve it--so you can pick the burrito up and eat it without it falling apart, peeling back the foil as you go. Serve with a cold beer and vinegar-dressed slaw.
Enjoy this crunchy, refreshing alternative to mayonnaise-based coleslaw on a taco or on the side.
The EatingWell Taco
Building the perfect taco is a very personal task--cheese under meat, cheese on top, no cheese at all? This is just our recommendation.
Mexican Black Beans (Frijoles Negros con Hoja de Aguacate)
This authentic Mexican black bean recipe uses avocado leaves to add a flavor reminiscent of anise. If you don't have a Latin market in your area you'll likely have to go online, though it's worth it. But even if you leave them out, you'll still have an awesome pot of healthy black beans.
Chile-Marinated Skirt Steak (Carne Asada en Adobo de Guajillo)
In this Mexican-inspired steak recipe, dried chiles are toasted, soaked and pureed to make a flavorful marinade. Toasting the chiles in a heavy, dry skillet is the key to unlocking their flavor (not just their heat). Look for dried chiles in the produce section of many markets. Serve with rice, beans and a green salad.
Our vegetarian version of fideos, a toasted pasta dish served in both Mexico and Spain, is packed with green beans, corn and tomatoes. Omit the cheese to make it vegan. Serve with a crisp romaine, red onion and avocado salad tossed with red-wine vinaigrette.
Yucatan Lemon Soup
Although it's traditionally made with limes (and you could certainly make it that way), Meyer lemons add a gentler, subtle twist to this classic Mexican soup with shrimp, garlic and lots of fresh cilantro. Meyer lemons are usually available only during the winter months; they are rounder and smoother than common lemons. Serve as a light entree with a big salad or as a special starter.
Mini Chile Relleno Casseroles
Everyone gets an individual portion with this vegetarian, Tex-Mex mini casserole. A normal-size casserole like this would take close to an hour to bake--these are ready in half the time. Heatproof ramekins are a cook's best friend--we use them all the time to hold ingredients while cooking. You can buy them at most grocery stores.
Homemade Corn Tortillas
Nothing beats the taste of freshly griddled corn tortillas! They are easy to make, but you do need masa harina, which is available in Latin American markets and large supermarkets. Masa harina is made from corn kernels that are dried, treated with lime and then ground into a fresh dough. The dough is dried and ground into a powder to make masa harina (which means "dough flour").