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The Whole Enchilada, Issue #003 -- South American Low-Fat Recipes
January 04, 2004

The Whole Enchilada, Issue #003

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The Whole Enchilada

Issue # 003, 04 January 2004
Start the New Year with Low-Fat South American Dishes

What's cooking this month ...
  • Recipe of the month
    • Appetizer - Ecuadorian Salads
      • Garbanzo Bean Salad
      • Lettuce & Potato Salad
    • Main course
      • Chilean Seafood Stew
      • El Salvadorian Pupusas
    • Dessert
      • Argentinean Fruit Salad
      • Columbian Mango Gelatin
  • Free Cookbooks

Happy New Year! If you're like me, you probably enjoyed too many fantastic, high-calorie, fattening treats over the holiday season (but they really were delicious, weren't they!). If one of your New Year's resolutions is to eat more healthy foods this year, don't worry ... you can eat healthy and still enjoy exotic tasty meals.

I have prepared a low-fat South American menu for you this month. All of these dishes are tasty and exotic, but low in fat. So enjoy yourself, and you won't feel guilty because these recipes are also healthy.

Recipe of the Month

This month's recipe is a complete meal featuring traditional South American favorites. I have included 2 recipes for appetizers, main courses, and desserts - feel free to mix and match to create your own meal.

Appetizer - Ecuadorian Salads
Vinaigrette - Use for both salads

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons chicken broth (remove fat)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  pepper to taste
  pinch of salt (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.

Garbanzo Bean Salad
1 bell pepper (red), chopped
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1 small red onion, sliced
1/2 medium cucumber, thinly sliced

Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Cover and refrigerate. Toss again just before serving.

Lettuce and Potato Salad
2 cups lettuce, coarsely chopped
2 cups cooked potatoes, diced
1 cup cooked green beans, 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1 cup cooked peas
1 large tomato, chopped
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced

Stir together the lettuce, potatoes, green beans, peas and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Garnish with slices of hard-boiled egg and serve.

Main course - Chilean Seafood Stew
Serves 10


4 cups water
2 cups white wine
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 pound crayfish, washed
1/2 pound medium shrimp, washed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium red bell peppers, finely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1-1/2 pounds sea bass fillets, cut into thick pieces
(or substitute your fish of choice)
1-1/2 pounds small squid, cleaned and sliced (optional)
  pepper to taste
  pinch of salt (optional)


In a large, non-aluminum saucepan, combine the water, white wine, celery, and carrots. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and crayfish and continue to simmer for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the crayfish, shrimp, and vegetables from the broth and set the broth aside. Peel the crayfish and shrimp and discard the shells and vegetables.

Heat the olive oil in the large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onions and bell peppers until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, and oregano and stir. Add the reserved broth and bring it to a simmer. Stir in the fish and squid and simmer for 2 minutes. Return the crayfish and shrimp to the broth and simmer 1 more minute. Season to taste (optional), ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

Main Course - Pupusas (El Salvador)
Makes 25 pupusas


1 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium fresh green chile pepper, seeded and minced
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 pound low-fat white cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups flour
4 cups water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil


Cook the turkey, onion, and garlic in a large, non-stick saucepan over high heat until cooked through. If necessary, add small amounts of water to the turkey to prevent sticking. Reduce heat to low and add the chile pepper, tomato, and cumin. Simmer uncovered until all liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool. Stir in the cheese and salt.

Combine the flour in a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to make a dough. Divide the dough into 25 pieces and roll each into a ball. Flatten each ball between the palms of your hands to 1/2-inch (1 cm) thickness. Place a spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle of each flattened dough ball and enclose it firmly. Flatten the pupusas until they are again about 1/2-inch (1cm) thick.

Heat a flat, heavy (cast iron) skillet until it is very hot. Brush the skillet with a little oil. Cook the pupusas on each side for 4 to 5 minutes until nicely browned. Serve immediately.

Dessert - Argentinean Fruit Salad
Serves 8

3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium apple, chopped
1 medium plum, sliced
1 large orange, sliced into 1/4 -inch (6 mm) rounds
1 large grapefruit, sectioned
1 medium banana, sliced into rounds
1 quart frozen non-fat vanilla yogurt

In a large bowl, whisk together the honey and lemon juice, stir in the fruit. Serve the fruit topped with a scoop of frozen yogurt.

Dessert - Columbian Mango Gelatin
Serves 12


1 cup orange juice
3 packets unflavored gelatin
5 medium, very ripe mangoes
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups light whipped topping


Pour the orange juice into a small bowl and add the gelatin. Set aside for 5 minutes. Peel mangoes and puree in blender or food processor. You should have about 4 cups of puree. Place puree in a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and evaporated milk, and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Warm the orange juice and gelatin over a bowl of hot water (or in microwave) until liquid and smooth. Whisk the gelatin into the mango mixture. Stir in the whipped topping.

Chill a 10 cup mold with cold water and pour all the water out. Fill the mold with the mango mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 2 to 3 hours.

To serve, invert on a serving plate and lift the mold away carefully. Garnish with fresh fruit if desired. Serve cold.

Enjoy these (far) south of the border low-fat recipes. If you can't find some of the ingredients in your local grocery store, consider ordering online. Several excellent online Mexican food stores are on the Online groceries page. You can also find kitchen tools like mortar & pestle, tortilla press, and more at these sites.

See you next month.

Alan Howard
Mexican & Barbecue Recipes

P.S. In case you haven't checked out the entire site, don't miss the free cookbooks. There are over 300 great recipes in these two cook books.

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