Think Mexican food and you’ll likely recall the bellyache you had the last time you opted for a dish that touted its south of the border roots. But traditional fare is much healthier than the fried enchiladas and overstuffed burritos that are synonymous with Mexican food in the U.S. “True, traditional Mexican cuisine is very healthy,” says Laura Diaz-Brown, a certified nutritionist best known as celebrity chef LaLa. “It’s high in legumes, bursting with vegetables and uses meat sparingly. And the food is cooked with olive oil or charbroiled, baked and steamed—not fried and processed.” A third-generation restaurateur and daughter of Mexican immigrants, Diaz-Brown is a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association and an impassioned fan of her cultural cuisine. “Food in its natural state is simply delicious. Sometimes we forget that, being accustomed to Mexican dishes literally drowned in extras,” she says. Diaz-Brown suggests skipping heavy sauces and creams when making your favorite Mexican fare at home and, instead, focusing on bold flavors in place of fats—think chiles, limes, herbs and spices. Here, five chefs from across the continent share their healthy takes on Mexican main courses. ¡Buen provecho!
Bay Scallops Ceviche
Las Ventanas, Los Cabos, Mexico
PREP: 30 min. COOK: none SERVES 4
The scallops in chef Fabrice Guisset’s
ceviche boast multiple heart-healthy
nutrients, including vitamin B12,
omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and
potassium. Plus, the mighty mollusks
are 80 percent protein, making them
11∕3 pounds bay sea scallops
1∕4 red onion, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, diced (approximately
1 1∕2 cups)
6 ounces lime juice
1 jalape.o chile, seeded and
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 ounce virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1. Cut scallops into small cubes and
marinate in lime juice for 30 to 60
minutes. Dice the onion, tomato and
cucumber the same size.
2. Remove the scallops from the
lime juice, combine with all the other
ingredients and mix well.
3. Season with salt, garnish with lime
wedge and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 242 calories, 8.5 g fat
(1 g saturated fat), 27 g protein,
15 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 253 mg