Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with these healthy dishes

23 Sep
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Last week on Monday, September 15, marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s a time of celebration and acknowledgement for Latin Americans’ contribution to our society. Originally declared a week-long event by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, it was expanded into a month twenty years later by President Ronald Reagan. Hispanics make up 17.1% of the U.S. population, which continues to grow. The largest Latino influence that can be seen in American society is on cuisine. Goya, Taco Bell, and Chipotle are examples of American society embracing Hispanic culture. Experiencing the savory flavors of Latin American cuisine is one way to celebrate the culture. An even better way to do so is through the healthy alternatives. Check them out below:

Skillet Veggie Tacos


2 red bell peppers (chopped)

1 medium onion

1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms

1 to 2 jalapeño peppers (seeded and chopped)

2 garlic cloves (minced)

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons of ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¾ of a cup of sweet white wine

1 can of pinto beans (rinsed and drained)

2 cups of chopped spinach

12 fat-free flour tortillas

½ cup of crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese.


  1. Sauté red bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, jalapeño peppers, and the garlic cloves in hot oil in a skillet for 5 minutes in medium high heat. Continue until the vegetables are tender. Add cumin and oregano. Sauté for 2 more minutes.

  2. At reduced heat, stir in wine and simmer for 10 minutes or until the amount of liquid is reduced by half.

  3. Add the beans and cook until heated.

  4. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes, or until the spinach wilts.

  5. Serve everything in warm tortillas.

Health  benefits

Olive oil – It can help lower risk of a heart attack, stroke, and other heart diseases.

Ground cumin – It helps support heart health, reduce risk of anemia, control blood pressure

Oregano – Contains vitamin k, which supports bone growth and bone density.

Spinach – Helps lower blood pressure, prevent Asthma. It contains vitamin a which keeps hair moisturized. it also contains vitamin c which helps build and maintain collagen, provides structure for skin and hair.

Corn Arepa with Tuna and Avocado Salad


1 cup of corn arepa flour(masarepa)

¾ of teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups of warm water

2 tablespoons of olive oil

½ of small white onion (diced)

1 can of Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore in Water (lightly drained)

1 avocado (peeled, seeded, and diced)

Juice from ¼ lemon

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)

1 tablespoon of greek yogurt

Salt and pepper


  1. Mix corn flour and salt in a deep bowl. Little by little, add warm water. Mix the ingredients with your hands in a steady circular motion. Keep doing so until mixture doesn’t stick to your hands.

  2. Divide the dough into equal balled portions. Press these portions flat between the palms of your hands.

  3. Place arepas in a pan or flat non-stick skillet at medium heat and cook for four minutes on each side. Each side must be golden.

  4. In a medium sauté pan, cook olive oil and onion until translucent. Add tuna and cook for 3-4 minutes.

  5. Place sauté to a bowl and briefly let it cool. Once cooled, add avocado, lemon juice, cilantro, yogurt, salt, and pepper.

  6. Top the arepas with salad.

Health  benefits

Avocado – The benefits to eating avocado include maintaining a healthy heart, lowering cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, and lowering risk of strokes, to name a few.

Tuna – Due to the omega-3 fats it contains, tuna helps lower the risk of heart diseases, strokes, and cancer.

Coconut Arroz con Leche


½ cup of brown rice

1 Cinnamon stick

2 Tablespoons of vanilla extract

1 Cup of coconut milk

1 ½ tablespoons of agave syrup

1 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon

½ cup of golden raisins

4 Cups of water


  1. Put the brown rice, 4 cups of water, cinnamon stick, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract in a large pot and boil in medium-high heat for 15 minutes.

  2. While boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 45 minutes.

  3. Drain the rice and place it back into the pot. Turn the heat back to medium-high add remaining vanilla extract, coconut milk, agave syrup, and cinnamon. Simmer uncovered until it’s thick and creamy. Stir for 20 minutes.

  4. Add golden raising and continue to cook. Stir for an additional 5 minutes.

  5. Serve warm and sprinkle cinnamon.

Ingredients’ Benefits:

Cinnamon – Helps control blood sugar and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease..

Brown rice – It’s rich in antioxidants and high in fiber. It may help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Chicken Picadillo


1 Pound of chicken breast (boneless, skinless, and cut into strips)

2 Teaspoons of olive oil

1 Yellow onion (chopped)

1 Green pepper (chopped)

1 Red pepper (chopped)

3 Cloves of garlic (mashed)

1/3 Cup of tomato sauce

1/3 Cup of chicken broth

1/3 Cup of fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup of water

¼ Teaspoon of ground cumin

2 Bay leaves

¼ Cup of golden raisins

2 Tablespoons of green olives (chopped)


  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil in medium heat. Add onion, peppers, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

  2. Add the chicken and stir for 5-10 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked thorough.

  3. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, lemon juice, cumin, bay leaves, water, and raisins. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken is tender.

  4. Remove bay leaves, add green olives, and serve.

Health benefits:

Olives – They’re low in fat and can help control cholesterol levels.

Source:  Skillet Veggie TacosCorn Arepa with Tuna and Avocado Salad

Coconut Arroz con LecheChicken Picadillo

By:Karina Hernandez

Last modified on Friday, 26 September 2014 11:15

© 2007 - 2013 Birds Nest Foundation. All Rights Reserved | Developed by NGC