Healthy South American Recipes

Find healthy, delicious South American recipes including Brazilian and Argentinian recipes. Healthier recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

Rating: 4.9 stars
25
This chipotle-flavored burrito bowl recipe is even better than takeout and just as fast. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthy dinner.

Basic Quinoa

This foolproof recipe for perfectly cooked quinoa is fast and easy! Use cooked quinoa as a simple healthy side dish, in a salad or as a base for a delicious main dish.

Puerto Rican Fish Stew (Bacalao)

Rating: 4.78 stars
5
Bacalao, salted dried codfish, is the defining ingredient in traditional Puerto Rican fish stew, but salt cod requires overnight soaking and several rinses in cool water before it can be used, so we opt for fresh fish in this quick version. Serve with crusty rolls to soak up the juices.

Roast Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce

Rating: 5 stars
2
Chimichurri--a bright, herby sauce served across Argentina--is the perfect healthy sauce for an easy salmon dinner. This recipe uses parsley but feel free to try your favorite combination of herbs, such as basil, mint or cilantro. Serve with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli.

Shrimp Paulista

Rating: 5 stars
4
Residents of Sao Paulo call themselves Paulistas and this simple shrimp dish is a regional favorite. Traditionally, the shrimp are cooked in their shells; however, we've removed them to make for easier eating.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

Rating: 4.64 stars
10
Brazil's cuisine often features smoky, grilled meats, but this healthy vegetarian bean soup recipe is completely meat-free. Instead, blackened jalapeños, fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika provide the Brazilian flair. A little molasses adds a sweet-toasty note, and the kale, while not traditional, bumps up your daily veggie count.

Empanadas with Chorizo & Potato

Rating: 5 stars
2
A staple in South American cuisine, homemade empanadas can be served as a main dish or a side. We keep this simple by focusing on the empanada filling and instead of making the dough from scratch, we achieve flaky empanadas with the help of refrigerated pie crust.

Skillet-Roasted Strip Steaks with Pebre Sauce & Avocado

Rating: 4.8 stars
3
This recipe was inspired by the popular Chilean sandwich, called a churrasco, that features a thin sandwich steak, mashed avocado and a type of salsa called Pebre. We have substituted tender strip steak for sandwich steaks to make a satisfying steak dinner. If you have leftovers, layer the components in a mayonnaise-coated crusty roll and enjoy a churrasco sandwich the following day. Searing a steak on the stovetop and then finishing it in a moderate oven allows for good browning, and the gentle heat helps ensure a tender result.

Caramel Cream Cheese Custard (Flan de Queso)

Rating: 4.33 stars
3
Every panaderia (bakery) in Puerto Rico has many flavors of flan, from vanilla to guava. Reduced-fat cream cheese gives this version a rich, comforting texture.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

This easy chicken soup recipe is made in the slow cooker and topped with crispy tortilla chips before serving.

Steak and Chimichurri Salad

Chimichurri sauce is an essential part of Argentinean cuisine and goes great with grilled beef or chicken. This recipe takes advantage of the great flavor combination of Chimichurri sauce with steak and dressed greens, making it the perfect summer meal.

Arroz con Pollo

Rating: 4.1 stars
9
Arroz con pollo, or chicken cooked with rice, is a common dish in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean. We use quick-cooking brown rice here to help you get this on the table in just 40 minutes. Serve with a mixed green salad tossed with cilantro-lime vinaigrette.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Chicken Saute with Mango Sauce

Rating: Unrated
2
Here is one simple technique that guarantees juicy results every time. First, pound the chicken: making it thinner ensures quick and even cooking. Next, dredge the chicken lightly in seasoned flour, which helps it turn deep golden brown when sauteed. After the chicken is cooked, deglaze the skillet with broth, wine or a little water to make a pan sauce. The liquid loosens the flavor-boosting browned bits from the bottom of the pan, making a tastier sauce.

Steak & Vegetables with Chimichurri Sauce

Rating: Unrated
1
Originally from Uruguay and Argentina, chimichurri is a sauce or marinade with the main ingredients being fresh parsley and garlic. In this recipe it is paired with grilled steak, zucchini and tomato skewers.

Chicken Empanadas

Empanadas usually are served hot and blistered from the deep fryer, but home cooks will be glad that these baked healthier handpies offer similar pleasures without a trip into a vat of bubbling oil. The simple dough, similar to pie crust, comes together in a jiffy in the food processor. For a fun tweak, make the recipe into mini empanadas with 3-inch, rather than 6-inch, rounds of dough.