M is for Mexico

mexican-mix-1068589__480I’ve not been to Mexico, nor have I eaten in a ‘real’ Mexican restaurant, writes our guest blogger, Dr Susan Aldridge,   freelance writer and editor based in London, with an interest in medicine, health, science and food/nutrition. But I’ve made up three Mexican-style recipes which I suggest are at least as authentic as the nachos, burritos and tacos on offer from chain restaurants and pubs.

The key is to focus on three very healthy ingredients used in Mexican cooking – avocados, chillis and cacao.

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated oleic acid which can improved your lipid profile and insulin sensitivity. You could try it on toast or fresh bread as a substitute for butter or margarine if your goal is to get away from saturated fat and trans fats.

The ingredient that makes chillis hot is capsaicin, which is strongly anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, as well as clearing (or taking your mind off!) nasal congestion – so good for colds and chronic conditions like arthritis. Finally, cacao powder and very dark chocolate are packed with antioxidants.

Avocado smoothie

A healthy treat that tastes like chocolate milk shake.
Serves one

One avocado
One pear
250ml hemp milk
One tbsp cacao powder

Blend all ingredients in a Nutribullet and drink immediately.


Supermarket and restaurant guacamole is too often an insult to this traditional Mexican recipe – gloopy, tasteless and nasty! It’s so easy to make your own. Adjust the ingredients to make it more/less creamy/hot.

Serves two
Two avocados
Two tbsp sour cream/crème fraiche/yoghurt
One finely chopped red chilli pepper and a splash of chilli sauce
Juice of one of two limes
Tbsp cold-pressed linseed, rapeseed or olive oil

Mash the avocados with a potato masher and stir in all other ingredients. This gives a nice chunky texture (a food processor or blender makes it too smooth). Serve with tortilla chips and/or crudites. Also useful as a vegetarian alternative to meat in a main meal.

Ultimate vegetarian chilli


Plan to make this last for two to three days.
Serves six

Two red onions
One red, one yellow & one orange pepper
One packet Quorn mince
400g sweetcorn
400g frozen or fresh peas
400g tin tomatoes or prepared tomato sauce
One tbsp. chilli powder
Two chilli peppers
One tbsp cinnamon
One tbsp grated dark chocolate of cacao powder

Fry the onions and peppers in coconut oil with the spices for around 10 mins, till soft, and add mince. Cook for another 10 mins or so, then add tomato sauce, peas and sweetcorn. Simmer for around 30 mins and then stir in the chocolate/cacao powder. Top with avocado slices, sour cream/crème fraiche and serve with green salad/rice/tortilla chips.

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