Healthy Eating

Mexican Makeover

Forget calorie-laden chimichangas and fat- filled nachos. Traditional Mexican dishes are fresh, flavorful and good for you, too.

Mexican Makeover
Pin it Romulo Yanes

Quinoa “Tamale” with
Tomatillo-Avocado Sauce

La Casa Sena, Santa Fe, N.M.
PREP: 45 min. COOK: 20 min.
At La Casa Sena in Santa Fe, N.M.,
chef Patrick Gharrity serves up locally
farmed, seasonal, sustainable food.
His vegan version of the classic tamale
uses quinoa. A complete protein, this
ancient grain is also rich in magnesium,
iron, copper and manganese.
(Note: When making tamales, it can
be tricky to master the art of using a
corn husk as a wrap. You can get the
same taste and nutritional value by
leaving out the traditional corn husks
and, instead, layering the components
of the recipe in a bowl.)
12 corn husks
1 cup quinoa
11∕4 cups water, plus 1/2 cup
1∕2 pound tomatillos
1 large, ripe avocado
1 tablespoon cilantro
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1 jalape.o, ribs and seeds
2 scallions (tops only)
Salt to taste
1/4 pound mushrooms
1/2 pound onion
1 cup sweet corn
1. Soak the corn husks in warm water
for 20 minutes, or until soft. Allow to
cool and tear 2 pieces of 1∕4-inch strips
off of each of the corn husks, along
the grain. Set aside.
2. While the corn husks are soaking,
cook the quinoa and water over
low heat in a covered saucepan for
about 20 minutes or until all the water
absorbs. Allow to cool.
3. To make sauce, clean and husk
tomatillos. Chop and pur.e tomatillos,
avocado, cilantro, lime juice, jalape.o,
scallions, remaining water and salt.
4. Lay the corn husks flat, add
about 3∕4 cup of quinoa on each corn
husk. Wrap the husk over quinoa, and
tie at the ends with the strips.
5. Saut.e mushrooms, onion and
sweet corn for about 4 minutes until
onions are translucent.
6. Slice the top of the husk so that the
quinoa is exposed. Pour about 1 1∕2
ounces of pur.e onto the center of a
plate, place the tamale on the pur.e
and pour the mushrooms, corn and
onions over the top of tamale. (If you
are serving the recipe in a bowl, pour
1 1∕2 ounces of pur.e in first, add 3/4 cup
quinoa, then top with the mushroom,
corn and onion mixture.)
Per serving: 115 calories, 4 g fat
(.5 g saturated fat), 4 g protein, 18 g
carbohydrate, 3.5 g fiber, 5 mg sodium.