3 healthy dishes with a Mexican touch to eat during Lent

Mexican families during Lent and Holy Week enjoy various traditional dishes. The vast majority have the nopal as the protagonist. This ingredient is essential in their culture and food.

Its gastronomy for these special days varies in each region, so it is very wide. Many typical dishes are made with nopal. Thus, we can enjoy the nopales salad, nopales with onions, bean soup with nopales, tomato broth with nopales, grilled nopales with panela cheese, fish with nopales sauce and many more.

The nopal is a food that is easy to prepare and very versatile. It is a type of cactus which is eaten after removing the skin and cooking it. It can be found in arid areas of the American continent, Italy and Spain.

The pulp of the nopal is juicy, so you can make countless preparations with it. Regarding its nutritional properties, we can say that its high water content makes it a ideal food to stay hydrated. What’s more provides fiberwhich allows to improve the intestinal transit, fight constipation, and help reduce blood triglyceride levels. It is also a food Rich in antioxidants and calcium.

Broad bean soup with nopales

Broad bean soup with nopales.

Shutterstock | at the other side of

A delicious recipe, typical of Mexican homes during Lent and of nutritional value since it provides protein, fiber, vitamins, iron and potassium.

Remember that whenever an iron-rich preparation is consumed to achieve better absorption, you should consume a citrus fruit. It can be, for example, an orange, grapefruit for dessert, or add a few drops of lemon to the dish.


  • 250 grams of dried broad beans
  • 1 ½ liters of cold water
  • 200 grams of nopales
  • 4 tomatoes
  • ½ onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig of coriander
  • Salt and pepper


Rinse the beans with water and leave them soaking for two hours, then strain and set aside.

In a saucepan over high heat place the soaked beans, water and ¼ onion. Cook, stirring regularly, for approximately 50 minutes or until the beans are soft.

Cut the nopales and cook in a pot over medium heat until they release all their slime and are soft, remove, and rinse slightly to remove any excess slime, set aside.

In the blender process the tomatoes, the rest of the onion and the garlic. Add this broth to the cooked beans and season with salt and pepper. Add the coriander sprig and the cooked nopales. Let the soup boil for a minute so that all the flavors are integrated and serve in a bowl.


The ideal is to soak the broad beans overnight in a container with enough water, and when you are going to cook them, drain the water in which they were soaked.

It can be served with a few slices of French or whole wheat bread for dipping.

Tlacoyos with beans and nopales

Tlacoyos with beans and nopales.

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The tlacoyos are a typical preparation from central Mexico, its name comes from the Nahuatl tlaoyo which means “shelled corn patty”. It is said that this dish was used by the indigenous people of Mesoamerica when they made long journeys on foot.

These are thick oval corn tortillas that are usually filled with beans or fava beans and served covered with sauce, nopales, cheese and cilantro.


  • 1 and ½ cups of corn flour for tortillas
  • 1 ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Piece of plastic to form the tlacoyos
  • ¾ cups black bean puree
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of green or red sauce
  • ½ cup Cotija cheese or crumbled Mexican cheese
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion


Mix the cornmeal with the salt in a medium bowl.

Mix well to form a smooth dough, knead for a few minutes to make it feel smooth, divide the dough into 6 pieces and cover with a damp cloth or napkin. Heat the griddle over medium heat.

Take one of the dough pieces and wrap your hand around it, place it on a plastic sheet and flatten it with your hands to form a thick circle.

Add about 1 ½ tablespoons of bean paste in the center of the circle.

Fold the circle to seal the edges forming a crescent or empanada, then hold the Tlacoyo with both hands and gently press the ends to form the pointed tips on each side. Place back in the plastic and flatten the Tlacoyo a bit with your fingers.

Place the Tlacoyo on the already hot griddle and roast them on each side for approximately 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness. You can add the oil at this point or heat the oil in a separate pan and then lightly fry the Tlacoyos afterwards. It will take 1-2 minutes to fry each side of the tlacoyo.

Serve topped with nopales salad, salsa, crumbled cheese, and chopped onion.


Have a small bowl of extra water handy to moisten your hands and the dough as you work with it. If the dough feels dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time.

Recipe from: https://www.mexicoenmicocina.com/como- Hace-tlacoyos/

the cotija cheese It is a cheese originally from Mexico. It is a hard matured dry cheese. It has a strong, salty flavor and a refined aroma. It is used in salads and pasta.

If this cheese is not available, we can substitute it with a crumbly cheese, such as feta cheese.

Green or red sauce. The green sauce is a classic in Mexican cuisine, a mixture of green tomato, jalapeño, onion and cilantro, while the red sauce is based on tomato, chili peppers, spring onion and garlic.

vegetarian burritos

Vegetarian burritos.

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Burritos are one of the inevitable dishes in the Mexican kitchen, but the traditional ones must be said to be quite caloric because they are made with minced meat and fried beans, so they are not the most suitable for this Lenten occasion.

That is why I chose a healthier, more nutritious variety, rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and also very simple to make during our preparation for Easter. These are vegetarian burritos, ideal for a dinner, a school or work lunch.

These do not have nopal as an ingredient but they do have another fundamental food of Mexican gastronomy, which is avocado.

Avocado is a very healthy food, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid), which helps reduce LDL cholesterol (bad). It also provides minerals such as magnesium and even more potassium than bananas, as well as vitamins C, E and B6. It is an ally for pregnant women due to its folic acid content.


Makes 8 servings

  • 8 flour tortillas
  • ½ chopped lettuce
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 sliced ​​avocado
  • 1 cup of disinfected soy germ
  • ½ red onion julienned
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Place an extended flour tortilla and add a little lettuce, chopped tomato, soybean germ, onion and avocado.

Add salt and pepper to taste, a few drops of olive oil and roll the tortilla to form the burrito. Place on a hot griddle and heat the burrito until lightly browned.

Serve hot and cut in halves.


It can be accompanied with a rich soup or salad.

You can also add beans or other vegetables that you like.

Recipe from: https://www.cocinavital.mx/blog-de-cocina/tips-de-cocina/platillos-para-una-comida-de-cuaresma-mexicana/2018/02/