It's that time of year again - when we make big plans to do things differently in the new year. If one of your goals is to eat better while trying new things, Latin American cuisine is a great place to start.
In general, South American food is cooked at home from fresh ingredients, including lots of fruits and vegetables. South Americans value traditional mealtimes, slow food style, shared with family and friends. Unlike in the US, fast food, sweets, and processed foods tend to be more expensive and enjoyed as infrequent treats. So though you may think of fried foods, starches, and lots of meat when you think of Latin food, if you were to visit a grocery store or market in Latin America you would see people loading their carts with lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. Of course, it helps that they have a more tropical climate and tons of biodiversity, can grow mangos and bananas in their backyards, and have access to hundreds of varieties of flavorful potatoes, healthful grains like quinoa and kiwicha, and exotic tropical fruits. That tends to make one's diet more varied and interesting.
But we can all follow their example even if we can't buy perfectly ripe avocados every day at the grocery store. Here are some recipes with which to get started. Not all of them are low fat, or low carb, or vegetarian...but they are nourishing and homemade with nutritious ingredients.
Warm Quinoa Salad with Red Pepper Mango Salsa
Grilled Fish with Plantain and Coconut Salsa in Banana Leaves
Green Soup with Chiles - Sopa de Espinacas
Green Goddess Arepa - Arepa con Palta y Choclo
Vegetarian Quinoa Paella - Paella de Quinoa
Fried Rice with Okra - Arroz Frito com Quaibo
Pollo a la Brasa-style Baked Chicken Breasts