5 Quick, Nutritious and Delicious Latin America Recipes
Tuesday February 15, 2022 - Posted by admin
Do you have a new date to impress, an anniversary to celebrate, a birthday, an office party or a family potluck? Or maybe you want to pass the time by making a new dish? Or, are you preparing for a trip to Latin America to learn Spanish?
Well, no matter what your reason is for checking out this article, we have you covered with our list of 5 Quick, Nutritious and Delicious Latin America Recipes. It was not an easy job. Latin America is a vast region spanning different climates and cultures. Therefore, we know that this list doesn’t come close to representing the full extent of what each Latin American country has to offer; Latin American cuisine is among the most varied kitchens in the world. But the dishes we want you to show are yummy! So, please check 5 Quick, Nutritious and Delicious Latin America Recipes.
Latin American Cuisine
From the Mexican border to the south of Argentina, Latin American territory stretches some 10,000km. Within such an extensive territory with so many countries, the diversity is not only limited to geography or culture; gastronomically, Latin America is a very varied region. However, some essential flavours and ingredients are used all over Latin America, such as peppers, beans, corn, rice, avocados, and lemon.
All the Nutritious and Delicious Latin America Recipes we chose for this list take less than one hour and a half to prepare so that you won’t lose your patience in the kitchen. We also chose Latin American dishes with ingredients that are not impossible to find anywhere in the world. So don’t worry; you won’t need to find the nearest Latino market or go on a long quest to find what you need.
Reading tip: Latin American Kitchen vocabulary
Don’t forget to make your way to the bottom of this blog article called “5 Quick, Nutritious and Delicious Latin America Recipes”, to check out the extra Latin American side dishes.
5 Quick, Nutritious and Delicious Latin America Recipes
# 1- Classic Peruvian Ceviche
Ceviche is a trendy refreshing Latin American dish with a lovely acidic taste. You can serve ceviche with a chilled beer or with National Cocktail of Peru, Pisco Sour, and you have the perfect pairing for a hot summer day.
The dish is typically prepared with fresh fish, limes, onion, hot peppers, cilantro and salt. The acid in the lime will cause the proteins in the fish to denature, causing the fish to become slightly opaque and a bit firmer.
Please, note that this is not technically cooking the fish. The lime juice will not kill parasites as heat normally would. That’s why it is important to use high quality and very fresh fish.
Prep Time: 20 mins.
Total Time: 30 mins.
Servings: 6 small servings
- 1 ½ pounds very fresh and high-quality fish (halibut, escolar, mahi-mahi etc. In the Andes Mountains, the Peruvians use fresh trout)
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice from about 35- 40 key limes, or 15-20 Peruvian limes
- 1-2 habanero peppers or Ají Limo cut in half, without seeds and deveined to reduce the heat
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh cilantro
- Salt to taste
- Finely chopped cilantro to taste
- Lettuce leaves
- Canchita or chulpe corn nuts
- Fresh boiled corn
- Sweet potato: thinly fried or baked chips or boiled thick slices
- Diced or sliced hot peppers for people who love spicy (optional)
- Extra lime slices (optional)
How to Prepare Ceviche
- Cut the fish into small cubes, place in a bowl and cover with cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt; cover and refrigerate
- Rub the thin onion slices with 1/2 tablespoon of salt and rinse in cold water.
- Rinse the fish to remove the salt
- Place the cubes of fish, half of the sliced onions, the cilantro sprigs and hot peppers in a glass bowl and pour the lime juice over the ingredients. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt.
- Cover and refrigerate for about 5-15 minutes.
- Remove the cilantro sprigs and the hot peppers from the mix.
- Use a spoon to place the ceviche in each serving bowl, add sliced onions, lettuce, sweet potatoes (camote, as it’s called in Peru).
# 2 Empanadas from Argentina
Empanadas are found throughout Latin America, and each country has its own version. In this article, we talk about the meaty and savoury empanadas from Mendoza, Argentina. This region is also famous for its wine. Perhaps you can even pick up a bottle of Argentinian wine to enjoy with these empanadas.
The empanadas are typically made with ground beef, onions, hot pepper, paprika, cumin, oregano, olives and hard-boiled eggs.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 mins.
Servings: 20 medium empanadas or ~30 small empanadas
Dough for empanadas – makes about 20 medium or 30 small empanadas:
3 cups flour
1 egg yolk
½ cup of grasa – lard or butter or mix of both
¾ to 1 cup of warm milk
½ tsp salt
Beef picadillo filling:
1 lb ground beef
2 white onions diced, about 3 cups
1/2 cup lard or butter
2 tbs smoked paprika
2 tsp chili powder or any ground hot pepper adjust to taste
1 tbs finely chopped fresh oregano
½ tbs ground cumin
1 bunch green onions finely chopped
3 hard boiled eggs sliced
¼ cup sliced green olives
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white and yolk separated and lightly whisked
How to prepare empanadas
- Mix the flour and salt in a food processor, pulse until well combined.
- Add the lard or butter, blend well.
- Add the egg yolk and the milk in small amounts, pulse until small dough clumps start to form.
- Make a couple of balls, flatten into disks
- chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas
- Use the empanada discs immediately or store them in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.
Beef picadillo filling and empanada assembly:
- Combine the ground beef, paprika, red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients and chill until ready to use.
- Melt the lard in a large frying pan or sauté pan, add the onions and salt, cook until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes.
- Add the meat mixture to the onions and cook on medium heat until the meat is done, and stir frequently.
- Let the meat mixture or picadillo cool down, and then mix in the chopped green onions and chopped oregano.
- To assemble the empanadas add a spoonful of the meat mixture in the center of each empanada disc, add a slice of egg and sliced olive.
Brush the edges of the empanada discs with the egg whites. You can also use water, but egg white is good natural “glue” that helps seal the empanada.
- Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges gently with your fingers, or twist and fold the edges with your fingers. You can use a fork to finish sealing the empanadas, when done.
- Lightly brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk; this will give them a nice golden glow when they bake.
- Let the empanadas rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 400 F and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden on top.
Serve warm with chimichurri sauce (see bonus sides section for recipe) or other dipping sauces.
# 3 Arroz con Pollo (Chicken Rice)
Arroz con Pollo is a popular Latin American dish with rice and chicken; each country has it’s own version, from Peru to Colombia, to the Carribean. If you are craving a warm and delicious home-cooked meal, try the ultimate one-pan meal:arroz con pollo.
Prep Time: 30 mins.
Cook Time: 1 hour
3 lbs chicken assorted pieces
1 tbs achiote powder
1 tbs ground cumin
½ tbs ground coriander
10 garlic cloves crushed
2-3 tbs oil or butter
1 white onion diced, about 2 cups
2 celery stalks finely diced
4 tomatoes peeled and diced
1 bell pepper diced
1 cup beer or white wine
1 ½-2 cups water or broth
2 cups rice
2 medium carrots diced
1 cup peas
3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
How to prepare Arroz con Pollo
- Mix the crushed garlic, achiote, cumin, coriander and salt together.
- Rub the garlic seasoning on the chicken pieces.
- Heat the oil or butter on medium-high heat in a big sauté pan, add the chicken pieces (skin side down) and cook until browned on each side.
- Add the diced onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, and celery, mix well and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 1 cup of beer or white wine, cook for about 20-25 minutes over medium heat until the liquid is evaporated by half, and stir frequently.
- Add the broth or water, rice, peas and carrots, mix well.
- Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to very low and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped cilantro.
# 4 Palta Rellena (Aguacates rellenos)
Avocados are very popular in Latin America, from streetfood (pan con palta), to appetizers in fancy restaurants.
There are many ways to make stuffed avocado, including chicken, tuna, turkey or crab, or vegan with just some vegetables. This recipe is for shrimp stuffed avocados
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 -10 stuffed avocado halves
4-5 firm ripe avocados
1 lb. medium sized cooked shrimp
½ medium red onion, diced finely
2 radishes, diced finely
½ red bell pepper, diced finely
2 celery stalks, diced finely
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
5 tbs cilantro aioli or regular mayonnaise with chopped cilantro
Lime juice from 1 lime
Salt/pepper to taste
Chopped lettuce, sliced tomatoes and chopped cilantro
How to prepare Palta Rellena
- Chop the cooked shrimp in half, if desired keep a few whole to garnish.
- Combine diced onions, radishes, bell pepper, celery, eggs, shrimp, ½ of the lime juice and aioli or mayonnaise in a bowl, mix well.
- Taste and salt/pepper if necessary.
- Cut avocados in half, remove seed and peel carefully.
- Drizzle remaining lime juice over avocados
- Use a spoon to stuff avocados with shrimp salad filling.
- Add any garnishes and serve immediately.
#5 Chilaquiles from Mexico
This dish is authentic Mexican comfort food and is perfect for breakfast or brunch! Chilaquiles from Mexico are fried pieces of corn tortilla, cooked in salsa and sprinkled with cheese and served with fried eggs and sometimes with a side of beans. You can serve chilaquiles with a red sauce or a green sauce.
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 dozen corn tortillas, quartered or cut into 6 wedges
1 1/2 to 2 cups red chilli sauce* or salsa verde*
Cotija cheese or queso fresco
Crema Mexicana or creme fraiche
Chopped red onion
Avocado, sliced or roughly chopped
*Red chilli sauce
Take fair dried ancho chillies; remove seeds, stems, and veins. Heat the chillies lightly on a skillet on medium heat; put them in a saucepan and pour boiling water to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Add the chillies, two garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 1/2 cups of chilli soaking liquid to a blender. Blend until completely puréed; strain through a mesh sieve into a frying pan to make the chilaquiles.
Put 1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed, into a saucepan and cover with water. Add one jalapeno, stems and seeds removed. Add two cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil—Cook for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove tomatillos, jalapeno and garlic to a blender. Add a cup of the cooking liquid; then blend until completely puréed and add salt.
How to prepare
- Fry the tortillas until golden brown.
- Remove tortillas to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess oil
- Sprinkle a little salt on the tortillas.
- Heat the salsa: Add 2 Tbsp. oil to pan, bring to high heat again. Add the salsa and let it cook for a few minutes.
- Add fried tortillas to the salsa. Gently turn over the tortilla until they are all well coated with salsa. Let cook for a few minutes more.
- Remove from heat. Serve chilaquiles with garnishes and fried eggs and beans.
Bonus Side dishes
Chimichurri from Argentina
Traditional Argentinean chimichurri sauce is made with parsley, oregano, garlic, onion, red pepper, vinegar and oil. There is a green and a red version of chimichuri.
The uncooked sauce is used both as an ingredient in cooking and as a table condiment for grilled meat. Traditionally, people make chimichurri with a mortar and pestle or, by chopping the herbs very finely, but you can also use a food processor or blender
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 to 1.5 cups
½ cup parsley (finely chopped; represents about 1/2 a bunch of parsley)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano finely chopped
4 garlic cloves crushed
½ cup green onions finely diced or minced
1 small red chilli pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional herbs based on your taste: thyme, basil, cilantro, etc.
How to prepare chimichurri?
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl; mix well.
- The chimichurri can be made ahead of time. Keep it refrigerated to use it within 24-48 hours.
Fried ripe plantains are a side dish for many Latin American recipes; they are popular all over Latin America, including the Amazon region. You can serve them as an appetizer, a side dish or for breakfast with a fried egg.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12 fried ripe plantains slices (6 per plantain)
2 ripe plantains
Oil for frying can use avocado, sunflower, and peanut oil
How to prepare fried plantains?
- Wash and peel the plantains
- Slice the plantains.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan and add the plantains.
- The plantains will cook very quickly, so turn them before they burn and cook until golden on each side.
- Thicker slices and less ripe plantains will need longer to cook and maybe more oil.
- Place the cooked plantains on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.