National Nutrition Month: Celebrate a World of Flavors in Guatemala
Kayla McSwords March 21, 2022

March is National Nutrition Month! “Celebrate a World of Flavors” is the theme for National Nutrition Month this year. Eating healthy food is often associated with bitter, bland, flavorless meals, but that just isn’t true. This year’s theme is about making healthy, flavorful food and celebrating cultural foods from around the world.  



Lake Atitlan in guatemala, Panajachel

Guatemala is a country in Central America best known for its flavorful coffee grown in the mountains. But Guatemala’s deep roots in its history has paved way for delicious cuisine. 21 different Mayan communities live in Guatemala, accounting for around 51% of the national population (Minority Rights Group International, 2015).


The Mayans did not famously disappear as many of people were once taught- they are still living in many countries in Central America, providing the world with delicious traditional recipes.


Guatemalan Enchiladas
A plate of food

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Enchiladas vary from region to region and the same rings true for Guatemala. In Guatemala, this enchilada recipe is called Jardineras from the Spanish word jardín which means garden.


True to the name, this recipe looks like a garden on your plate when you are finished. This recipe was written by Paula Benedfeldt-Diaz from the blog Growing Up Bilingual ( ).

Yield: 10 ENCHILADAS Prep time: 30 MINUTES Cook time: 40 MINUTES
Additional time: 10 MINUTES Total time: 1 HOUR 20 MINUTES


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1. Place beets in a saucepan covered with salted water to taste. 

2. Add 1 tsp of vinegar. 

3. Boil until tender about 40 minutes. 

4. Drain and run cold water over beets. 

5. Cut beets into small squares. 

6. Place 4 cups of water in a large saucepan. 

7. Add the green beans, carrots, green peas, and bay leaf. 

8. Bring water to a boil and cook vegetables until soft (don’t overcook as you still want some crunch). 

9. Let the vegetables cook and then chop the green beans and carrots into small pieces. 

10. Mix the vegetables and beets together. 

11. Add thyme and laurel to the mixture as well as the vinegar and one tablespoon of olive oil. 

12. Season with salt and pepper.


1. Chop ½ of small onion and add to a large saucepan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until translucent.

2. Add one whole tomato chopped to the pan and cook for 2- 3 minutes or until softened.

3. Remove 2/3 of tomato/onion mixture and set aside for later use.

4. Add beef or pork and cook thoroughly.


1. Place half of the onion and two tomatoes on a pot and bring to a boil. 

2. Cook until tomatoes are soft. 

3. Remove tomatoes and onion from the heat, drain and let the vegetables cool. 

4. Remove the skin from the tomato. 

5. Place tomatoes and onion in a blender and blend until smooth. 

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 


1. Toast tortillas- makes tostadas

2. To assemble the enchiladas, place a lettuce leaf on the tostada, add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable escabeche on top of the lettuce leaf, add a couple of tablespoons of ground meat, top with one slice of hardboiled egg, drizzle a tablespoon of tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese and fresh parsley.

Enjoy a taste of Guatemala!


Minority Rights Group International. (2015, June 19). Guatemala-Maya.

Benedfeldt-Diaz, Paula. Traditional Guatemalan Enchiladas or Jardineras Recipe. Growing Up Bilingual.


Lake Atitlan

Jardineras- Photo taken by Kayla McSwords


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