Even though Mexican food is the most popular south-of-the-border cuisine in the U.S., there are plenty of others that deserve a spot at the table. Brazilian food, with its vibrant, hearty flavors and dishes designed for sharing, is one. “Because of [my grandmother], I grew up with the belief that food is way more than nutrition. It is an expression of one’s self, including culture, values and — especially — emotions!” shares Brazilian expat Olivia Mesquita, author of the new cookbook Authentic Brazilian Home Cooking. In it, she shares dishes sure to warm the hearts and bellies of all your loved ones. Try one tonight!

Vegetarian Moqueca

Serves 6

2 tbsp. olive oil 

4 cloves garlic, minced 

1 red chili pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped 

2 large red onions, sliced 

9 mini sweet red peppers, sliced 

Roma tomatoes, sliced  

1 (14.8 oz.) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced 

1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk 

1⁄4 cup red palm oil 

1⁄3 cup chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low. Cook garlic and chili pepper for 1 minute. 

2. Arrange half the onions in the pot in a layer, followed by half the sliced peppers, half the tomatoes, half the hearts of palm and half the chickpeas. Season, then pour in half the coconut milk. Repeat with remaining ingredients, finishing with coconut milk and red palm oil. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. 

3. Turn heat off and stir in cilantro. Serve immediately with rice.

Per serving: 659 calories, 10g protein, 39g carbs, 10g fiber, 11g sugar, 53g fat

Brazilian Rice With Black-Eyed Peas

Serves 6

4 tbsp. ghee 

1 yellow onion, finely chopped 

8 cloves garlic, minced 

1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed 

1 tsp. kosher salt 

1⁄4 tsp. turmeric 

13⁄4 cups hot water 

1 bay leaf 

4 oz. bacon, diced 

1 large red onion, finely chopped 

1 cup shredded carne seca or corned beef 

1 (14 oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained 

1⁄2 cup beef broth 

5 oz. Halloumi, sliced, fried and cut into cubes 

1⁄3 cup chopped parsley

1. Heat 1 tbsp. ghee in a saucepan over medium. Add onion; cook 2 minutes. Add 4 cloves garlic; cook 1 minute. Add rice; cook 2 minutes. Add next 4 ingredients; bring to boil. Cover; simmer 15 minutes. Turn heat off and crack lid. Let rest 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. 

2. In a sauté pan, over medium, melt 2 tbsp. ghee. Add bacon; cook 2 minutes. Add onion; cook 3 minutes. Add 4 cloves garlic; cook 1 minute. Add beef; cook 5 min. Add peas, rice and broth, cover; simmer 5 minutes. 3. Stir in fried Halloumi and parsley. Serve.

Per serving: 547 calories, 26g protein, 41g carbs, 4g fiber, 3g sugar, 31g fat

Brazilian Chocolate Flan

Serves 12

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan 

Granulated sugar, for dusting 

2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk 

1 cup heavy cream 

6 tbsp. cocoa powder 

4 large eggs 

2 egg yolks 

1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt Chocolate sprinkles

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Heat a kettle or pot of water. Brush a 91 ⁄2″ ring cake pan with butter and dust with sugar. 

2. In a blender, combine all ingredients except sprinkles and blend until smooth. Pour into pan; cover with foil and place in a roasting pan or baking dish. Pour hot water into roasting pan halfway up the sides of the ring pan. Bake 50 to 75 minutes, or until set but still jiggly in the center. 

3. Remove from oven and cool in water bath. Remove ring pan, wipe dry, cover with plastic wrap; chill 4 hours. 

4. Gently run a thin sharp knife around the edges of the pan; invert it onto a serving platter. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles and serve cold.

Per serving: 386 calories, 9g protein, 51g carbs, 1g fiber, 49g sugar, 18g fat