Meat Free Mondays – Vegetarian Fajitas

Fajitas are a fun and festive way to enjoy vegetarian cooking with a Mexican flavor. Plus they are so easy to make!

When I was first starting to cook, before I attended culinary school, I used to depend on those little flavoring envelopes you got at the grocery store for flavoring fajitas. Those paper envelopes contained powdered magic that transformed sliced onions, peppers and tomatoes into Mexican magic, I thought.

I was wrong. Those envelopes only contained some spices most people probably already have in their spice cabinet, plus a little corn starch, and finally some chemicals you can definitely live without — like monosodium glutamate (MSG), and anti-caking additives to prolong the powder’s shelf life.

Making fajitas that are better than the the envelope-based ones is a no-brainer. With better ingredients, your end result is much improved and it is healthier for you as well.

Want to achieve that Mexican restaurant trick of having the fajitas platter sizzle as you bring it to the table? It’s simple. Just put your fajita platter in a hot oven or under the broiler for a few minutes to get the oil super hot, then just before walking it to the table, squeeze the juice from half a lime over it. The water in the lime juice hits the hot oil in the fajitas, causing it to sizzle and smoke like crazy.

Vegetarian Fajitas

4-5  8″ whole wheat tortillas

2 TBS vegetable oil

1/2 white onion, julienned

1/2 red onion, julienned

1/2 green pepper, julienned

1/2 red pepper, julienned

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 whole tomato, quartered

juice of 1/2 lime

1 TBS corn starch

1 TBS paprika

1 TBS cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup water

Sea salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

1. Put cast iron skillet on fire. When hot, add vegetable oil. When smoking, add onions and peppers. Cook until completely soft, stirring frequently, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and tomato and cook another minute.

2. In a measuring cup, stir together corn starch, paprika, cumin, chili powder and cayenne. Add water and stir. Add to vegetable mixture and stir until sauce is thickened, about two minutes. You may need to add additional water if it gets too thick. Just before service, squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Wrap tortillas in clean dishtowel and place on microwave safe plate. Place in microwave on high for 30-45 seconds. This is a quick and easy way to soften tortillas.

4. Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Some recipes call for Monterey jack cheese, but I left it out because I don’t think it’s necessary. There’s plenty of food already.

A word of caution, fajitas are usually pretty messy to eat, at least when I eat them! Make sure you serve them with plenty of napkins.

Mexican cooking easily translates to vegetarianism. You simply leave out the meat from any recipe. Conversely, I often have made this recipe with chicken, beef, pork or shrimp.

FYI: Most recipes I post are for two to four people, as usually I am cooking for just my wife and myself. Feel free to double or triple the recipes as necessary. And thanks for looking at my blog!