Confession: Lately, "stay-at-home" orders have us desperate for any (and every!) reason to mix up the mundane. (Seriously, if we rotate between the same pair of sweatpants and gym shorts one more time...)
Thankfully, holidays help—even if we can't party in person with our friends and loved ones. And tomorrow on May 5, we're going ALL out. Enter: Cinco de Mayo.
Contrary to popular belief in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico's Independence Day (which falls on Sept. 16), but rather commemorates an underdog victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. People usually celebrate by wearing festive dress, attending parades, and of course, cooking. It's a great excuse to partake in Mexico's delicious cuisine and cultural traditions. And even though it's a bummer to cancel in-person parties this year, all is not lost. You can still register for a virtual margarita-making class, tune into a lineup of top-notch mariachi bands, and make your own piñata. Hungry? Si! Try these simple, healthy hacks to make your Cinco de Mayo fiesta a smash—especially if you have to celebrate solo this year.
Healthy Mexican Recipes to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
1. Mocktail-Up Your Marg
If you're in a festive mood but want to avoid overdoing it on anything but the guac, opt for this booze-free concoction. Margaritas are always fun, but not everyone can or wants to deal with a tequila hangover. This margarita mocktail, by Sara Haas, RD, is made with fresh lime juice, pomegranate juice, and sparkling lime seltzer. It’s a drink that actually has antioxidants, thanks to the pomegranate.
- 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 1/2 cups lime-flavored sparkling water + extra for finishing
- Cut off one end of the lime and use it to run along the rim of glasses. Dip the rims in the salt and set aside. Slice the remaining part of the lime into thin rounds and reserve for garnish.
- To a measuring cup or pitcher, add the lime juice, pomegranate juice and water. Stir to combine.
- Fill glasses with ice then top with margarita. Garnish with slices of lime and finish with a splash of sparkling water.
BONUS: If you do want to add an adult twist, omit the sparkling water and replace with 1 cup champagne or sparkling wine and add 1/4 cup tequila.
Related: 5 Skinny Mocktails for July 4
2. DIY Tortilla Shells
Tacos are key for a successful Cinco—and every taco-enthusiast knows it's just as much about the tortilla as what's inside. “When you make the tortillas and fillings yourself, it gives you control over what you’re eating,” says Guillermo Carmona, Executive Chef at Velas Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. “You can measure how much salt and corn flour you use, and even choose blue corn flour or add a dash of spinach extract to make your tacos healthier and more colorful.” Spinach extract adds fiber, while blue corn flour tortillas pack more protein and less starch than regular corn flour, research has found. Follow these steps to make fresh tortillas tonight.
- 1 cup yellow corn or blue corn flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat a flat grill, griddle pan or nonstick frying pan.
- In a mixing bowl, mix about 1 cup flour with 1 cup water by hand until it doesn’t feel dry, sticky, or stick to the bowl. Then add a pinch of salt.
- Make round little balls (about 2 inches or so in diameter) from the large ball of dough.
- To flatten the tortillas, use a wood or metal tortilla press lined with two sheets of plastic or wax paper (If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use two flat cutting boards lined with wax paper). Press the dough flat until it’s about ⅛ inch thick.
- Put the dough on the griddle or grill pan and let the tortillas cook until golden, turning once. Leave them out at room temperature until ready to fill.
3. Supercharge Your Guac
Believe it or not, you can make your guacamole even creamier by including Greek yogurt to your recipe. In just a dollop, this already nutritious side dish becomes more jam-packed with good fats and protein. If you're going to load up on the green stuff, might as well make sure it's working in your favor.
Ingredients (Makes 8 servings):
- 2 ripe avocados, diced
- ¼ Cup Powerful plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Pink Himalayan sea salt and black pepper to taste
- In a mixing bowl, mash avocado to the desired texture. Add remaining ingredients and mix until evenly combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- This protein and healthy fat packed dip is great with pita chips or veggies, but can also be used as a delicious salad, sandwich, or burger topper. Combine with a couple chopped, hard-boiled egg whites for a hearty egg salad served in romaine lettuce leaves.
4. Bust Out Your A+ Taco Game
Taco night may be everyone’s fave, but it’s not known for being a nutritional fiesta. There are so many ways to go wrong: white flour tortillas, gobs of sour cream, mountains of white rice, that you may have knocked it off your weekly menu a long time ago. Well, time to bring it back! You can eat like a Spartan and still love your Mex, as long as you’re mindful. Try these insanely tasty shrimp tacos from our Spartan Mexico team. (You get the best of both worlds: bold flavor, and healthy, wholesome ingredients. De nada.)
- 1/4 C Chopped Cilantro
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 8 pieces Corn Tortillas
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3/4 C Fat Free Greek Yogurt
- Fresh Lime Juice - 2.0 tbsp
- 1/2 head of Cabbage
- 4 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 lb Shrimp
- (optional) black pepper to taste
- Heat tortillas over medium heat in a dry skillet until warm and starting to form small brown spots. Set aside on a plate covered with a clean kitchen towel.
- Mix yogurt, cayenne, lime juice, cilantro, & salt in a small bowl, set aside.
- Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet and add cabbage. Cook for about four minutes or until the cabbage is just barely wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Cut shrimp into thirds, so you have little bite size pieces. Sauté in two teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper over medium heat just until done.
- They cook up in just a few minutes... so be sure to watch them!
- Build your taco! Place a scoop of cabbage on the warmed tortillas taco, then top with shrimp, and cilantro sauce... enjoy! Pepper - as required