Healthy Cook

Best-Mex

by Kate Sherwood, May 2012

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Here are three dishes that are inspired by the flavors of Mexico. Cilantro and lime make a mild fish sparkle, spicy chipotle mellowed by sweet orange juice makes chicken smoky and succulent, and fresh corn, crunchy tortilla chips, and crisp white onion make black beans irresistible.

Tilapia with Cilantro-Lime Sauce

Total time: 30 minutes.

Tilapia is a mild-flavored, white-fleshed, farmed fish. Domestic tilapia is the most environmentally friendly. A good alternative is tilapia from Latin America. Avoid tilapia from Asia.

large avocado
1
cup cilantro, chopped
1
Tbs. lime juice
3
tsp. kosher salt, divided
¾
tilapia fillets (about 1¼ lbs.)
4
Freshly ground black pepper
Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1
cups finely shredded romaine
4
pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
½
scallions, sliced
2
oz. tortilla chips
4

Combine the avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and ½ tsp. of the salt in a small food processor. Blend until smooth.

Season the tilapia well with pepper and the remaining ¼ tsp. of salt. Sauté in a non-stick pan in the oil until lightly golden on one side, about 3 minutes. Gently turn the fish over and sauté until just cooked, 2-3 minutes.

Divide the lettuce and fish among four plates. Top with the avocado mixture and garnish with the tomatoes, scallions, and chips.

Serves 4.

PER SERVING

  • Calories: 410
  • Total Fat: 20 g
  • Sat Fat: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg
  • Sodium: 450 mg

Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Total time: 20 minutes.

Not a fan of finger food? Arrange the lettuce on four plates, top with the chicken, and garnish with the scallions and chips.

lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1
cloves garlic, minced
5
chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (more to taste), minced
½
cup orange juice
1
tsp. kosher salt
¾
Boston (or Bibb) lettuce leaves
16
oz. tortilla chips, broken up
4
scallions, sliced
3

In a large non-stick pan, sauté the chicken in the oil until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. The chicken will not be fully cooked, so remove it to a dedicated cutting board.

Add the garlic and chipotle to the pan and sauté for 30 seconds, then stir in the orange juice and salt. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Cut the chicken across the width into ½" slices and return them to the pan. Toss to coat with the sauce and cook through, 2-3 minutes. Stack the lettuce leaves on a plate. Serve the chicken, scallions, and chips in bowls. To assemble, spoon a small amount of the chicken, scallions, and chips into a leaf of lettuce and wrap.

Serves 4.

PER SERVING

  • Calories: 400
  • Total Fat: 18 g
  • Sat Fat: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 32 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 80 mg
  • Sodium: 460 mg

Black Bean Fiesta

Total Time: 25 minutes

Queso fresco is a fresh white cheese that should be available in most supermarkets. If you can't find it, you can use feta. For extra zing, add a few drops of hot sauce at the table.

white onion, diced, divided
1
pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
½
cup crumbled queso fresco
¾
cup fresh corn kernels
1
Tbs. lime juice
3
red bell pepper, diced
1
Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1
15 oz. cans no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
2
tsp. kosher salt
¾
oz. tortilla chips
4
lime, cut into wedges
1

In a large bowl, toss together half the onion with the tomato, cheese, corn, and lime juice. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté the remaining onion and the bell pepper in the oil until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the beans and sauté for another minute.

Add the contents of the skillet to the large bowl, mix all the ingredients together, and season with salt. Serve with chips and lime wedges.

Serves 4.

PER SERVING

  • Calories: 440
  • Total Fat: 15 g
  • Sat Fat: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Carbohydrates: 59 g
  • Fiber: 14 g
  • Cholesterol: 15 mg
  • Sodium: 460 mg

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