Healthy Latin American Meals You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less


First, we want to remind you that eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite cultural foods. So many Latin American dishes are packed with nutrients that will fuel and strengthen your body. Whether your goals are for overall health or because you want to lose a few pounds, there are plenty of lighter Latin American recipes. There are a number of low-calorie seafood dishes, meatless options, and delicious, nutritious sides that will totally satisfy any craving for that Latin American flavor profile.

Here are some delicious LATAM dishes that are not only good for you, but also relatively quick and easy to prepare, so you can even stick to your healthy diet on busy days.


Calabacitas is a delicious Mexican side dish with indigenous roots that includes summer squash, corn, peppers, onions and just a little cheese. Vegetables are sautéed with herbs and spices like cumin, garlic, and oregano to create a super flavorful vegetable dish that goes with just about anything. You can even put it in a whole grain tortilla to make a quick and filling vegetarian taco.

Get the full recipe from Isabelle eats.

Nopal Salad

Raw nopales (cactus) salad is a super light and healthy side dish but still tasty enough to serve with just about any dinner, or even lunch with your protein of choice. It’s a combination of nopales, tomato, bell pepper, cilantro, onion, avocado and a bit of queso fresco, dressed simply with lime juice and olive oil.

Get the full recipe from Mexico in my kitchen.

Aji de Aguacate

Technically, Colombian ají de aguacate is a sauce, but it’s thick enough to use as a dipping sauce, making it a perfect healthy snack option as well as a condiment for things like baked empanadas, grilled meats and potatoes. It’s a savory combination of avocados, habanero peppers (which boost metabolism), lime, vinegar, hard-boiled eggs, onions, and cilantro. Everything is mixed together to create a dish that is velvety, rich and decadent, yet full of nutrients.

Get the full recipe from My Colombian Recipes.

Mexican fruit cups

Nothing is easier or more satisfying for healthy eating than fresh fruit, especially when eaten Mexican style, seasoned with Tajin and a tiny bit of chamoy. Any fruit works, but sweet pineapple, mango, and watermelon are especially delicious with those savory, spicy, and tangy flavors.

Get the full recipe from Isabelle eats.

Pulp Salad

Pulpo – or octopus – is a very traditional ingredient in many parts of the Caribbean and coastal areas of Latin America. It’s healthy and low in calories, and when turned into a salad full of peppers, garlic, olives and herbs, it’s flavorful and delicious. It only takes about 30 minutes to prepare, but it becomes much tastier after it has rested for an hour or two. It’s totally free time in the fridge, which you’ll need to chill or check off other things on your to-do list.

Get the full recipe from Delish D’Lites.

Chicken Nachos

Yes, you read that right. It’s actually super quick and easy to make a healthier version of nachos. Even if you’re on a diet, the most nutritious meals are well-balanced and include carbs, protein, and lots of vegetables, just like these “lighter” nachos. The base is multigrain tortilla chips, which are topped with shredded chicken breast, a load of vegetables, low-calorie homemade cheese sauce, and Greek yogurt sauce.

Get the full recipe from The Noshery.

Shrimp ceviche

Any seafood lover who’s been to Mexico knows that Mexican-style ceviche is out of this world. It’s fresh and light and full of flavor. This one only takes 15 minutes to make, but you need to let it rest for about an hour before eating it, which makes it a great dish to make. It’s made with raw shrimp, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, and a few seasonings to bring out all the flavor.

Get the full recipe from My latin table.

avocado salad

Latinx people have been eating avocado salad in various forms almost forever. No matter what you put in it, it ends up tasty, and of course, it’s full of nutrients. This one is a simple mix of avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and cilantro that only takes a few minutes to prepare. Add grilled or sautéed chicken breast or shrimp, and it’s a perfect meal that comes together in no time.

Get the full recipe from Isabelle eats.

Guineas in Escabèche

A dish dear to many Puerto Ricans, guineos en escabeche are basically pickled green bananas. Bananas are boiled until soft and tossed with olive oil, onions, green olives and sometimes chili peppers. So there are lots of nutrients in bananas and healthy fats in avocado. The taste is addictive, and while it’s not low calorie, it’s packed with healthy ingredients.

Get the full recipe from The Noshery.

mango sauce

Whether you add it to your tacos or garnish fish or chicken, fresh mango salsa adds major flavor to any dish. That boring but healthy chicken breast will be totally transformed by this nutrient-dense salsa that includes mango, bell peppers, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and olive oil. It’s simple to make with a few fresh ingredients and amazing taste.

Get the full recipe from Delish D’Lites.

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