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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegetarian Mexican Recipes: 30 Healthy Meals

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These 30 healthy and nutritious vegetarian Mexican recipes are full of flavor and absolutely delicious! With a rich blend of spices, lots of vegetables and plant protein, you’ll have a satisfying meal everyone in your family will love!

assortment of vegetarian Mexican recipes

Mexican food is both my and my husbands favorite cuisine! It’s so full of flavor, and we can adjust the spice level to suit our taste. It’s also something I know the kids will always eat too!

Growing up, along with Indian recipes we ate at home, Mexican was another staple cuisine.

As an ethnic cuisine it is very conducive to vegetarians, as so many dishes are made with black beans, or refried beans.

The key to making vegetarian Mexican recipes healthy is to load them with fresh vegetables, while reducing the overall cheese, and oil.

The combination of chili peppers, fresh ingredients, and just the right amount of crunch and cheese, makes these vegetarian Mexican recipes healthy, nutritious, and totally family friendly!

Ingredients Used in Mexican Cuisine

photo of cheese and ingredients used in vegetarian Mexican recipes

Mexican recipes are great for vegetarians. Meat was not plentiful in Mexico before the Spaniards came. As a result, Mexican dishes included beans, corn, and chili peppers and spices to give their food a rich and deep flavor.

If you are inspired to make Mexican recipes regularly, these are the ingredients you will want to keep on hand.

Chili Peppers: Chilis add great spice and flavor. There are a variety of chili peppers with different levels of spice. They have been included in Mexican recipes for thousands of years because they grow in Mexico. Some of the most common types of chilis include serrano, ancho, and jalapeño.

Beans: A staple ingredient that gives Mexican recipes the bulk of their nutrition are beans. Black beans and pinto beans are the most common. Sometimes they are made into refried beans, but are also included in soups, and salads.

Corn: Corn is the main grain that is used in Mexican cooking. It is used to make tortillas, tamales, and is also added in its whole kernel form in rice, soups, and salads.

Avocado: Avocado gives a natural creaminess to recipes. It is used as a dip, such as guacamole, as a garnish on top of tacos, and in salads, and soups. Hass avocados are grown in Mexico.

Tomatoes: Used to make salsas, and as a topping or filling in tacos, and burritos. However, tomatoes are also cooked and roasted to create rich sauces that are used to smother enchiladas.

Cheese: When you think of Mexican recipes, you likely think of foods smothered or stuffed with cheese, like in enchiladas, and quesadillas. There’s a Mexican cheese blend you can buy in stores. However, cheese was not as widely used in recipes until recently. Some of the more traditional cheeses include queso blanco, queso fresco, and cojita, and panela.

Less Common Ingredients: Other ingredients that are commonly used in Mexican recipes that are not as widely used in the United States include tomatillos, jicama, and sometimes cactus. Tomatillos are similar to tomatoes in size and shape, but are green in color, and have a more sour taste. Jicama is a root vegetable, with a nice crunch, and a slightly sweet flavor.

What Are The Most Commonly Used Spices in Vegetarian Mexican Recipes?

photo of spices used in vegetarian Mexican recipes

Keep these spices in stock in your pantry to have at the ready when making your favorite Mexican recipes!

  • Herbs: Fresh and dried herbs are used to add flavor. The most common used are cilantro, and Mexican oregano. Cilantro adds a nice bright color, and fresh flavor on top of tacos, burritos, soups, and salads. Oregano adds a bit of a citrus flavor to dishes.
  • Garlic: While you may not think of garlic as a spice, it is what adds a great deal of flavor to many recipes.
  • Onion: Sometimes sautéd and other times used raw, onions add a bite of flavor. Using red onions is most common.
  • Chipotle Powder: Made from roasted jalapeños that have been ground. This adds some spice to your dishes.
  • Chili Powder: A blend of spices that often includes smoked paprika, sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne, and oregano. It is used to spice chilis, beans, and soups.
  • Cumin: With an earthy warm flavor, cumin is both bitter, and slightly sweet. It is used to season tacos, beans, rice, enchiladas, and other traditional recipes.
  • Cinnamon: Warm, spicy, and sweet, cinnamon is often used in desserts like churros.
  • Cloves: Often used with cumin and cinnamon in recipes, it has a warm and sweet flavor.
  • Anise: Most commonly used in dessert recipes, it’s used to flavor cakes, cookies, and sweet breads. It has a licorice like flavor.
  • Cocoa Powder: Used to make mole sauces, which are spicy, smoky with a hint of sweetness.

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

photo of mortal and pestle grinding spices

Blender or Food Processor: Creating rich Mexican sauces like moles, enchilada sauces, and even salsas, can be made quick and easily if you have a blender of food processor.

Mortar and Pestle: A stone mortar and pestle is used to grind spices, make guacamoles and salsas. Grinding with stones releases the natural oils of seeds and other spices.

Cast Iron Griddle: A flat cast iron griddle allows you cook your own tortillas, make quesadillas, sauté vegetables and more!

Heavy Casserole Dish: You’ll use a large heavy casserole dish to make enchiladas, Mexican casseroles, and chilaquiles.

Top Tips for Making Vegetarian Mexican Recipes

  • Dry roast your vegetables for added flavor. Dry roasting involves cooking over a flame. You can dry roast peppers, garlic, chiles, and other ingredients.
  • Don’t add too much cheese. If you want to make your recipes taste more authentic, add a modest amount of cheese. That way you’ll be able to taste the spices.
  • Make your own home cooked beans. It really brings out their flavor in a whole new way! And it’s much less expensive than canned.
  • When you’re cooking with chiles, use care. I recommend working with gloves. The oils from spicy chiles will burn your hands if you’re not careful! Avoid touching your eyes, or face after working with chilis if you do not wear gloves.
  • Pack your recipes with tons of veggies for added texture, flavor and nutrition.
  • Don’t forget to use salt and pepper to season your dishes!

How Do You Make Mexican Recipes Healthier?

  • Be modest with the cheese. Restaurants add way more cheese than necessary. This adds loads of fat and calories that aren’t necessary.
  • As mentioned above, use the dry roasting technique when making salsa. You will not to add extra fat in the form or oil, because the natural heat and flavor will be enough.
  • Use agave syrup or maple syrup as a sweetener for desserts. It is less refined than white sugar. I also recommend reducing the overall sugar content of dessert recipes.
  • Load on the spices. Use those authentic spices to add flavor. You won’t need to rely on oil, or cheese to do it for you.
  • Opt for corn tortillas or whole wheat tortillas rather than white flour tortillas. They are more nutrient dense.
  • Be sure to add lots of fresh vegetables to your dishes for added nutrients.
  • Use beans to your advantage. They are full of protein, fiber, vitamins and nutrients.
  • If you’re looking for a bit of added crunch, top your dishes with pumpkin seeds! These seeds are nutrient dense, and add a nice flavor and texture.
photo of mexican pizza recipe, top view

Most Popular Vegetarian Mexican Recipes

The recipes we know as Mexican in America compared to the most popular recipes in Mexico differ slightly. Whereas in America we tend to use flour tortillas, in Mexico, corn tortillas are used. Not as much cheese is used in authentic Mexican dishes. Quesadillas are stuffed with vegetables and other fillings, not just cheese!

In both Mexico and America, these are some of the most popular recipes made.

Burritos

Wrapped in a flour tortilla and stuffed with savory fillings, burritos when made vegetarian often include beans, rice, and vegetables. Sometimes they are served topped with a rich sauce and cheese.

When I make burritos, I prefer to lose the tortilla, and just include the filling like in this vegetarian burrito bowl!

Top shot of two jackfruit burrito bowls
BBQ Jackfruit Burrito Bowls
Caramelized BBQ Jackfruit on a bed of Mexican-style rice, with refried beans, smashed avocado, and topped with a crunchy carrot and red cabbage slaw makes for a healthy and hearty dinner!
View this recipe

Quesadillas

Often made with a flour tortilla, yet in Mexico more commonly a corn tortilla, is stuffed with small amount of cheese, along with vegetables, and maybe even beans. It’s topped with guacamole or salsa for added flavor.

healthy black bean quesadillas veggie
Healthy Quesadillas with Black Beans and Veggies
These easy healthy quesadillas are packed with black beans, gooey cheese, and crunchy veggies, and are ready in under 30 minutes!
View this recipe
Vegetarian Quesadillas with Cumin and Lentils
These Vegetarian Quesadillas with Cumin and Lentils is a simple weeknight meal you can pull together in 30 minutes or less. Tortillas are stuffed with toasted cumin seeds, lentils, corn, cheese, then topped with fresh pico de gallo. It’s a kid friendly meal your family will love!
View this recipe

Enchiladas

Corn tortillas are stuffed with a variety of fillings then covered in a rich red sauce and baked. Sometimes they are topped with cheese or other fresh ingredients.

vegan enchiladas, fresh out of the oven, served in a casserole dish and topped with green onions and olives
Vegan Enchiladas with Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes
Lip-smacking Vegan Enchiladas are easy to make, delicious, and a real crowd-pleaser. Each enchilada is filled with sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, spices, and they are topped with a 5 minute homemade enchilada sauce! 
View this recipe
vegetarian enchilada casserole, in a baking dish with the ingredients on the table
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
This healthy Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole is a quick and easy weeknight meal. Packed full of flavor, this Mexican meal is a lightened up version of a family favorite, so you can enjoy it guilt free!
View this recipe
Healthy Vegetarian Mexican Flautas
Packed full of flavor, these Mexican flautas are easy to make, kid-friendly, and perfect for a healthy weeknight meal.
View this recipe

Chili, Soups, and Stews

There are so many varieties of chili recipes. They can be filled with a variety of beans, and vegetables, with a combination of smoky spices. Chili Con Carne is a traditional Mexican chili, but a vegetarian version can easily be made with black beans, pinto beans, or a combination to create a hearty spicy and satisfying meal!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions and cheese
The Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili
This recipe blew my husband, the veggie-chili-skeptic, away. He no longer responded with “this isn’t chili,” but instead said “this is really good!” He even went back for seconds. It’s got the deep flavor of traditional meat chilis, but is much healthier and vegetarian friendly.
View this recipe
butternut squash chili served in a white bowl topped with green onions
Vegan Butternut Squash Chili
Made with sweet butternut squash, savory and warm spices, fiber and protein-packed black beans, crunchy corn, and acidic tomatoes, this chili has just about every flavor you could possibly want!
View this recipe
Healthy Vegetarian Chili Mac (Instant Pot Friendly!)
Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili Mac is the perfect recipe when you need dinner in a hurry. Healthy and full of flavor, this hearty meal can easily be made vegan or gluten-free! Recipe also includes stove top instructions.
View this recipe
vegan white bean soup served with avocado and greek yogurt in a white bowl
Slow Cooker Vegan White Bean Soup
This slow cooker vegan white bean soup is loaded with veggies and a rich smoky flavor. It's a hearty yet light, and an easy weeknight meal.
View this recipe
vegetarian stew recipe with beans and rice, served on a white plate with a spoon
Vegetarian Stew Recipe with Beans and Rice
This Vegetarian Stew recipe with beans and rice is healthy and hearty. It's a budget-friendly, family-friendly, plant-based meal that the whole family will enjoy!
View this recipe
healthy vegan black bean soup topped with greek yogurt, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips in a grey bowl, top view
Chunky Vegan Black Bean Soup
This chunky vegan black bean soup is a healthy, hearty, filling, one-pot meal! Made with simple ingredients, flavorful spices, and you can customize it with your favorite toppings.
View this recipe
vegetarian black bean soup with kale and hominy, topped with sour cream and cilantro, served in a white bowl, top view
Spicy Black Bean, Hominy and Kale Stew
Hominy is a new way to add corn to your soups and stews. It pairs nicely with black beans and kale in this hearty recipe.
View this recipe
mexican black bean soup topped with chips, avocado and cheese, served in a white bowl with spoon on the side
Mexican Black Bean Soup with Tortillas
This delicious and comforting Mexican Black Bean Soup with Tortillas is full of authentic Mexican flavors. Easy, healthy, and versatile, this soup can be made vegan and gluten-free.
View this recipe

Tacos and Fajitas

When it comes to Mexican recipes, tacos are often the first thing that comes to mind. Instead of crunchy hard shells, soft corn tortillas are the traditional shell. Here are some of my favorite taco inspired recipes!

vegan tacos with black beans, avocado, veggies, and cilantro, served on a white plate
Vegan Tacos with Black Beans and Avocado
These healthy and delicious vegan tacos are great for an easy weeknight meal. Packed with black beans, veggies, and spices, they're full of flavor, ready in 30 minutes, and perfect for the whole family!
View this recipe
Vegetarian Taco Lasagna Recipe
This Taco Lasagna Recipe is the perfect Italian and Mexican fusion dish. It's easy to make vegan, naturally gluten-free, and it's perfect if you are feeding a crowd.
View this recipe
vegetarian taco soup served in a white bowl, topped with tomatoes goat cheese tortilla chips and cilantro
Vegetarian Taco Soup with Roasted Tomato Salsa
This creamy vegetarian taco soup is packed full of Mexican flavors and is less than 250 calories per serving. This easy tomato based soup is the perfect guilt-free, healthy, comfort food!
View this recipe
Top down shot of a Mexican Taco casserole in a large pan
Kid-Friendly Mexican Taco Casserole
This healthy one pot meal is perfect when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry!
View this recipe
Guilt-Free, Healthy 7 Layer Taco Dip
This healthy, seven layer taco dip is a party table's best friend! Lightened up from the traditional bean dip recipes but with all of the same great flavor, you'll love how this bean dip tastes with chips, veggies or even on its own. Ready in just 20 minutes and kid-friendly too!
View this recipe
chipotle vegan sofritas in a white bowl on top of a wooden cutting board
The Ultimate Chipotle Inspired Sofritas
These Chipotle copycat Sofritas are a healthy, vegan-friendly protein alternative with tons of flavor. They’re low sugar, low sodium, spicy, and great for adding to tacos or veggie bowls! 
View this recipe
vegetarian fajitas in a corn tortilla topped with cheese, avocado and cilantro, served in a blue bowl
Smoky & Healthy Vegetarian Fajitas
The aroma of these Smoky Vegetarian Fajitas will make you smack your lips and your stomach growl. Every bite is filled with lots of caramelized vegetables, spicy seasonings, protein-packed black beans, gooey Mexican cheese, and a crispy corn tortilla. 
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Chilaquiles

A traditional dish in Mexico, this recipe is made with layers of tortillas simmered in red or green sauce. It is often eaten as a breakfast, or made to use up leftovers!

chilaquiles rojos in a white casserole dish
Chilaquiles Rojos
If you love Mexican food, then you’re going to adore chilaquiles rojos! This classic Mexican dish is filled with black beans, peppers, tomatoes, and spices with layers of corn tortilla smothered in a rich tomato sauce. It’s a vegetarian-friendly Mexican casserole the whole family will love!
View this recipe

Posole

Posole or pozole is a traditional Mexican stew. It is made with hominy. Hominy is made from corn or maize. It is processed with alkali to create a meaty like texture.

Instant Pot Pinto Beans Vegan Posole
This easy Instant Pot Pinto Beans Vegan Posole is a delicious Mexican stew that is packed full of flavor. Ready in just 30 minutes, with rich spices, crunchy veggies, and chewy hominy – this healthy soup is perfect for a quick one-pot meal.
View this recipe

Tostadas

Tostadas are characterized by crispy corn tortillas that are topped with beans, cheese, and veggies. They are a quick and easy meal you can pull together when you have little time, and are always a big hit at dinner time!

Healthy Copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
This vegetarian copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizza is a real treat, and you wouldn't guess that it's healthy! Low in calories, made with whole foods, and ready in less than 30 minutes!
View this recipe

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

While stuffed peppers aren’t traditionally Mexican, when flavored with Mexican spices and using traditional ingredients they are an easy healthy veggie packed meal!

chili stuffed peppers with black beans and mushrooms, served on a white plate
Chili Stuffed Peppers with Black Beans and Mushrooms
These chili stuffed peppers are packed with fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, mushrooms, jalapeño peppers, and the perfect amount of cheese in every bite. They’re a healthy, satisfying, totally delicious and easy weeknight meal!
View this recipe
Healthy Stuffed Vegetarian Peppers
These stuffed vegetarian bell peppers are full of Mexican flavors and are perfect for a weeknight meal. They are gluten-free and can easily be made vegan too!
View this recipe
Vegetarian Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Quinoa and Corn
These hearty, spicy, stuffed poblano peppers with quinoa and corn are a Southwestern classic and take only 40 minutes to make! Earthy and sweet, rich and filling, this is a delicious, simple recipe that's a real crowd-pleaser.
View this recipe

More Favorite Vegetarian Mexican Recipes

If you’re on the lookout for more Mexican inspired recipes, give these a try!

Sweet potato hash in a bowl on a wooden table
Spicy Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash
This sweet potato breakfast hash is packed full of flavor, and makes a great brunch, side dish or even main meal! Packed full of veggies and plant protein this is a one pan meal that's easy to make.
View this recipe
Guilt-Free Late Night Nachos
These cheesy, loaded, vegetarian nachos taste just as good as the traditional recipe, but can be enjoyed completely guilt-free!
View this recipe
Cheesy Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole
A lightened-up, healthy quinoa bake that you can enjoy completely guilt-free. Reminiscent of enchiladas, slightly spicy and super satisfying, full of black beans, veggies, and cheesy goodness.
View this recipe

I hope you were able to find some inspiration for creating healthy and nutritious vegetarian Mexican recipes at home!

Check Out These Other Vegetarian Round-Up Posts!

If you have tried any of these vegetarian Mexican recipes or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

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Entrees ·

From healthy versions of favorites to cozy curries, these main courses are sure to bring some new recipes to your family’s table.

8 responses to “Vegetarian Mexican Recipes: 30 Healthy Meals”

  1. My family is going to love these recipes! I can’t wait to make some of these with my daughter soon! So excited!

  2. These are perfect for the New Year with having some new healthier eating goals. That Taco Bell Mexican Pizza is calling my name!

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