by Julie Snyder
Fajitas originated in northern Mexico. They were brought by cowboys into south Texas. Over the years, they've become as popular in the United States as pizza.
To be authentic, fajitas contain flank steak marinated in lime juice, grilled and thinly sliced. The meat is served with refried beans, guacamole and salsa in a flour tortilla.
We've defied tradition and developed a recipe for your vegetarian or vegan friends. It's made with black beans and grilled vegetables and rivals the flavor of its more traditional sibling.
In fact, it's so tasty that you might want to double the recipe. Wrap half up in foil, toss in the freezer and take one with you for a quick, nutritious and tasty lunch.
Fajitas with black beans and grilled vegetables
Prep time: 20 minutes | Total time: 20 minutes | Yield: 4 servings
• Four 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
• 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4" strips
• 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4" slices
• 1 large tomato, cut crosswise into 1/2" slices
• 1 tablespoon oil
• 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or one 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon dried epazote or oregano
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• salt and ground pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup salsa, drained
• 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
• 1 avocado, cut into strips
Heat a ridged grill pan or medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tortillas and heat until hot. Wrap them in foil and set aside.
Add the peppers and cook until they blister, about 8 minutes. Stir several times during cooking. Transfer to a serving plate.
Add the onion to the pan. Cook until lightly blackened, about 1 minute. Turn and grill until limp. Add to the plate of peppers.
Lightly oil or spray the pan. Add the tomatoes and grill 1 minute. Turn and grill another minute. Transfer to the vegetable plate.
Wipe the pan and add the oil to it. Combine the beans, cumin and epazote and cook, mashing to the desired consistency. When hot, add the lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place 1/4 of the bean mixture on each tortilla. Add a portion of the pepper strips, onions and tomatoes. Top with 1 tablespoon or more salsa, 1/4 avocado and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Fold the tortilla over the filling and serve.
Epazote is a strongly pungent Latin American herb, also called worm weed, pigweed, or Mexican tea. It's usually sold in its dried form in the Hispanic section of supermarkets or in Hispanic grocery stores.
Epazote is popular in many bean dishes because it's refuted to reduce gas.
What's in your favorite fajita -- beans, chicken, beef, pork or shrimp?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.