There’s something iconic about the sound of fajitas. Fragrant onions and peppers, sizzling on that hot cast iron platter, smoking on the tray as the waiter walks them through a crowded restaurant. “Be careful, they’re hot,” they always warn as a fresh-off-the-grill platter is set in front of you. And with that, every neighboring table is immediately jealous (and anyone with menus on hand will probably follow suit and order the fajitas!).
I’ve tried over the years to make vegetarian fajitas, but (as an avid omnivore) nothing could ever satisfy my appetite as well as seared beef or chicken. Tofu missed the mark and just substituting beans by themselves left me wondering where the meaty texture was. I was at a loss until I realized something – what about mushroom fajitas? If you can make mushroom meatloaf, you should certainly be able to make fajitas.
Use Mushrooms as a Meat Replacement
Mushrooms make the perfect meat replacement. I mean, who needs faux-meat when you have mushrooms? Chop them finely and serve with lentils and you’ll swear you’re eating ground beef. Slice and sear them and they’ll mimic the texture of steak. Keep them whole and grill ’em up and you have a perfect meat “patty.”
So, of course, mushroom fajitas will be perfect! Close your eyes and you may never know this dish is vegetarian. All you need to do now is decide which mushroom will work best.
Portobello mushrooms are the obvious choice here because they have the right size and shape. I’m a mushroom lover, though, so I don’t think you need to limit it to portobellos. Sub in crimini mushrooms (quartered) and you’ll have the same flavor and texture.
Find some oyster or shiitake mushrooms, cut them into 1/2-inch steaks, and give them a hard sear for some nice caramelization. Or choose baby shiitake mushrooms and keep them whole to add some fun flair. Any edible mushroom will do, so have some fun with it!
Skip the Fajita Seasoning
My memories of fajitas go way past that sizzling platter in the restaurant. Growing up, we regularly had Mexican night – tacos, burritos, something my mother called Mexican lasagna, and fajitas. This was my favorite night of the week because it was the perfect excuse to smother my entire dish with sour cream!
My childhood’s fajita night usually involved a yellow box of Old El Paso with its seasoning packet. It was a nice, quick way for my mother to put dinner on the table, but I like cooking without the packet. Those seasoning packets usually have all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients (and maybe some MSG, too). So skip the packet and make the seasoning yourself.
All you need is to stock up your spice drawer. Smokey ground cumin, spicy cayenne pepper, earthy chile powder, and pungent garlic powder. Mix it up with a pinch of salt and add some lime juice for its bright, acidic tang and voila – perfectly seasoned mushroom fajitas without any of the additives.
Serve ‘Em Up!
The best thing about these fajitas – you won’t need a lot of garnish. You already have soft-but-crunchy onions and peppers, perfectly seasoned mushrooms, and earthy and savory lentils. Really, all you need to finish this off is some creamy texture and tortillas to serve them on.
In comes the Greek yogurt and avocado. I always used sour cream growing up, but Greek yogurt is much healthier for you and it delivers the same tangy flavor. Pair it with the smooth texture of chopped avocado and you’ll have everything you need for a delicious meal.
We use flour tortillas in this recipe, but you can sub in your favorite corn tortillas to make it gluten-free. This mushroom fajitas with lentils recipe also makes an excellent tostada topper. Feel free to switch it up and spread the avocado on the bottom and top with the fajita mix for a fun and crunchy twist!
Of course, I’m still a big fan of meat-filled meals, but it’s nice to have a meatless Monday option. This omnivore thinks that these fajitas are just as satisfying as a meaty fajita. Whip up a batch and let us know if you agree.
Yields: 4 servings | Calories: 502 | Total Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 278mg | Carbohydrates: 71g | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 7g | Protein: 22g | SmartPoints: 16
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups mushrooms sliced thick, such as portobello or shiitake, but any kind will work
- 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper sliced into thin strips
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup red lentils, cooked
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 (8 inch) flour tortillas
- 1 small avocado, pit removed, peeled, and sliced into thick strips
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms, bell peppers, and onion. Cook just until tender. The peppers and onions should still have just a little bit of crunch.
- Increase the heat to high and stir in the lentils, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook until the vegetables are coated well in the spices and the mixture is very fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Lay the tortillas on a flat surface and fill with the mushroom mixture. Top with the avocado and a dollop of the Greek yogurt. Serve and enjoy!
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