Here's an important thing we learned about ourselves this year: When times are tough, nothing really soothes the soul quite like tacos. Or enchiladas. Or carnitas.
And we're not alone in this realization: According to a July 2020 report from delivery service Doordash, 40 percent of people said they craved Mexican food most out of all cuisines, and Tex-Mex items like queso blanco and grilled chicken tacos saw enormous boosts in searches — 1,735 percent and 1,502 percent, respectively.
Even home cooks got into the trend. Searches for "best Mexican recipes" are up 101 percent in 2020, according to Pinterest, and traffic to our own Mexican-inspired dish categories increased annually, too. Our enchilada recipes are up 12 percent and our carnitas recipes are up 7 percent.
But these dishes didn't just deliver comfort; they also made it easier to get a nutritious meal on the table fast, says dietitian and self-proclaimed foodie Kelli McGrane, RD.
"Tex-Mex meals are kid-friendly, budget-friendly and easy to make, yet are packed with flavor," McGrane says. "It also doesn't hurt that Tex-Mex leftovers tend to taste just as good, if not better, making them good options for meal prep."
Mexican-inspired meals were there for us when we needed them this year. Keep scrolling to see 2020's most popular healthy Tex-Mex recipes on LIVESTRONG.com and our food-tracking app MyPlate.
1. Protein Eggsadilla
If you're looking to start your morning on a high-fiber note, Taylor Vashro, RD, recommends trying this flavorful Tex-Mex breakfast recipe. "I love that it uses a whole-wheat tortilla for extra fiber and one egg (with added egg whites) to provide protein," Vashro says.
Get the Protein Eggsadilla recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Fajita Frittata With Avocado Salsa
"This frittata is great for someone following a low-carb or high-fat diet, as it contains 9 grams of carbs, 18 grams of protein and 21 grams of fat per serving," Vashro says. And while low-carb recipes are often big on fat and protein, this one incorporates a variety of vegetables for essential vitamins and nutrients.
Get the Fajita Frittata With Avocado Salsa recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Healthy Instant Pot Carnitas
While carnitas are always filled with mouth-watering flavor, the takeout versions of this Tex-Mex classic are usually high in sodium, fat and calories. But this recipe skips out on the calorie overload; it uses pork tenderloin (instead of pork shoulder) to help lower the fat content, says Elizabeth Shaw, RDN.
Get the Healthy Instant Pot Carnitas recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Mexican Tomato, Black Bean and Corn Pasta Soup
"This plant-based recipe is brimming with vegetables, beans and whole grains," McGrane says. "As a result, one serving provides almost a day's worth of fiber."
Get the Mexican Tomato, Black Bean and Corn Pasta Soup recipe and nutrition here.
5. Keto Chicken Enchiladas
"High in protein and filled with vegetables, this is a great recipe idea for someone looking for a hearty meal," Shaw says. "Simply using a no-added-salt tomato product is an easy start to lower the sodium here."
Get the Keto Chicken Enchiladas recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Grass-Fed Steak Tacos With Cowgirl Salsa
These tacos pack a nice balance of healthy fats, protein and carbs, making them an excellent option for your next taco night. The recipe also calls for grass-fed beef, which tends to be high in antioxidants, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, and is a bit lower in saturated fat than conventional beef, McGrane says.
Get the Grass-Fed Steak Tacos With Cowgirl Salsa recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Easy Grilled Chicken Mole Poblano
Another tasty, balanced meal, this easy grilled chicken mole poblano recipe is lower in fat than many mole dishes you'd find at restaurants, McGrane says. In addition to plenty of Mexican-inspired flavors, one serving contains 35 grams of lean protein to help keep you full.
Get the Easy Grilled Chicken and Mole Poblano recipe and nutrition info here.
8. Keto Carnitas Salad
"The unique addition of pepitas in this recipe offers some extra unsaturated fat, micronutrients and protein to your diet," Vashro says. "This is a great keto-friendly recipe, as it provides a variety of vegetables, which can be lacking on a keto diet."
Get the Keto Carnitas Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
- Doordash: "The Deep Dish: Food Trends in 2020"
- Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Shaw, RD
- Registered Dietitian Taylor Vashro, RD
- AHA Science Advisory: "Dietary Cholesterol And Cardiovascular Risk"
- Registered Dietitian Kelli McGrane, RD
- Hunter:"Food Study Special Report"
- Uber Newsroom:"The 2020 Uber Eats Cravings Report"