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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 husband’s 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 for our whole family.

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

The key to making a vegetarian Mexican meal healthy is to load it with fresh vegetables while reducing the overall cheese, and oil. Consider adding fiber-rich sweet potatoes to your favorite recipes. Opt for pico de Gallo for flavor instead of sour cream. Skip the tortilla and make burrito bowls instead!

The combination of chili peppers, fresh ingredients, and just the right amount of crunch and cheese, makes these Mexican vegetarian 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, 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 is 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.

Bell Peppers: Added to fajitas, rice recipes, tacos, and more.

Cheese: When you think of Mexican recipes, you likely think of foods smothered or stuffed with cheese, like 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, cojita, and panel.

Tortilla Chips and Tortillas: You’ll need some healthy tortilla chips and whole wheat or corn tortillas to make your favorite nachos, tacos, and burritos.

Rice: As a side dish, folded into burritos, or added to bowl recipes, rice isn’t just used for rice recipes. Mexican yellow rice, red rice, and more.

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 commonly 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 bit 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 bread. It has a licorice-like flavor.
  • Cocoa Powder: Used to make mole sauces, which are spicy, and 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 quickly and easily if you have a blender or food processor.

Mortar and Pestle: A stone mortar and pestle are used to grind spices, and 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 to 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 of 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.

How Do You Make Mexican Recipes Vegan?

Traditional Mexican food is often made with cheese, which means that in order to accommodate vegan diets you will need to either eliminate the cheese or use vegan cheese instead. I find that a great way to add flavor and texture to vegan Mexican recipes is to use guacamole or diced avocado, with pico de Gallo, and rich mole sauces. An easy recipe for vegan tacos can be made using cooked and sliced portobello mushrooms in a tortilla of your choice topped with chopped iceberg lettuce, salsa verde, and diced avocado with fresh lime juice.

photo of mexican pizza recipe, top view

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! Save these comfort foods for your Meatless Mondays!

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


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!

bbq jackfruit served in a white bowl with burrito fixings
BBQ Jackfruit Burrito Bowls
This pulled BBQ jackfruit burrito recipe in a bowl is simply incredible and bold in flavor. Made with tender jackfruit, hearty beans, rice, fresh vegetables, and comforting spices, this recipe is the perfect healthy option for meatless weeknight dinners!
View this recipe


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.

veggie quesadilla recipe - vegetarian black beans tomato corn quesadilla served with cold beer salsa and yogurt dip sause on dark wooden background.
Veggie Quesadilla Recipe
These easy healthy veggie quesadillas are packed with black beans, gooey cheese, and crunchy veggies, and are ready in under 30 minutes!
View this recipe
Easy Cheesy Mexican Lentil Quesadillas
These Lentil Quesadillas 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


Need a main course for a crowd? How about 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
easy healthy vegan enchilada casserole recipe in a white baking dish
Vegan Enchilada Casserole
This healthy Vegan 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!
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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 chili topped with avocado, jalapeno slices and lime in a white bowl with a spoon.
Vegan White Bean Chili
This hearty vegan white bean chili is jam-packed with plant-based protein, creamy potatoes, warm spices, and a little bit of heat! It's easy to make, easy to freeze, and kid-friendly. Naturally dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free.
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!
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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.
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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.
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Mexican bean soup served in a bowl topped with avocado and tortilla chips.
Mexican Bean Soup
This delicious, comforting Mexican Bean Soup topped with avocado and tortilla chips is full of authentic Mexican flavors. Easy, healthy, and versatile, this soup can be made vegan and is naturally gluten free!
View this recipe

Tacos and Fajitas

Tacos are not only reserved for Taco Tuesday! 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
easy healthy vegetarian layered taco casserole with tortillas in a white baking dish
Layered Taco Casserole With Tortillas
This layered taco casserole makes a quick and easy weeknight meal. Layers of corn tortillas, salsa, refried beans, and veggies transform this Mexican-inspired casserole into a hearty meal! Taste-tested and kid-approved! 
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Healthy vegetarian taco soup topped with cilantro and cheese in a white bowl.
Vegetarian Taco Soup Recipe
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!
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easy healthy pinto bean casserole recipe in a pan - vegetarian and gluten free
Easy Pinto Bean Casserole
This healthy Pinto Bean Casserole is a one pot meal perfect for when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry!
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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 copycat sofritas in a cast iron skillet topped with cilantro and lime wedges.
Sofritas (Chipotle Copycat Recipe!)
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! 
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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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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 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.

Vegan Pozole with Pinto Beans
This easy Vegan Pozole 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.
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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!

Mexican Pizza Taco Bell Recipe
This vegetarian copycat Mexican Pizza Taco Bell recipe 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!
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 breakfast hash served with toast
Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash
These breakfast sweet potatoes are 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
Loaded veggie nachos piled with veggies, jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, olives served on a white platter.
Loaded Veggie Nachos
Making loaded veggie nachos has never been easier! Layers of chips, melty cheeses, and the best toppings come together to make the perfect side dish or main dish. These nachos are easily customizable making them great for the whole family. Enjoy them for cinco de mayo, game day, or movie nights – this no meat nacho recipe is delicious any time of year!
View this recipe
black bean casserole with quinoa and cheese, in a white baking dish
Black Bean Casserole with Quinoa
A lightened-up, healthy black bean casserole that you can enjoy completely guilt-free. Reminiscent of enchiladas, slightly spicy and super satisfying, full of black beans, veggies, quinoa, 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! Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo, Taco Tuesday, or your family’s Mexican night, these easy dinner recipes are sure to satisfy!

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!

Posted In…

Plant Based Mexican Recipes ·

You can make satisfying Mexican food that’s healthy, plant based, vegetarian / vegan, and totally delicious all at the same time!

Mexican flavors are perfect for easy one-pot dishes like this pinto bean casserole, or this vegan posole. 

With smart swaps, you can create a healthy version of a Mexican favorite: “guacamole” with about half the calories and 3x the protein thanks to this vegan guacamole. Or remake a Mexican classic, flautas – into these baked Mexican vegetarian flautas with black beans

Like Chipotle? You’ll love my ultimate sofritas and veggie burrito bowls! These recipes are so easy to remix to add your own style – so feel free to customize them to suit your preferences!

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

  1. This was so educational and packed with so many recipes that now I don’t know what to try first! They all look sooo good!

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

  3. 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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