Oven-Roasted Vegetarian Fajitas
When we lived in the US, I bought fajita spice mix packets from time to time. But after a few batches of fajitas made with the prepackaged mixes my husband told me his guts always got upset afterward.
So, even before we moved to Argentina (where there is no such thing as prepared fajita spice mix anyway), I had already started searching for the right blend of spices so that I could make my own without any fillers or additives. (And since I switched to making my own, he hasn’t had any problems.)
As is true of most of the dishes I make, this one is exceedingly flexible. Use whatever veggies look good. I think the best for fajitas tend to be all types and colors of peppers, onion, zucchini, yellow summer squash, mushrooms, and cabbage (purple or green). Not necessarily all at once. Some fresh corn or cherry tomatoes added towards the end can be nice too.
Some people even put things like eggplant and carrot in their fajitas, but those don’t feel ‘authentically’ Mexican to me. Although, in truth, fajitas aren’t a traditional Mexican dish.
If you choose veggies that are very watery, such as zucchini and squash, you might want to add a tablespoon of cornstarch or another thickener to the spice mix to soak up the excess liquid, especially if you plan to eat them in tortillas. Or not. Your choice.
Unless we have corn tortillas around (which are gluten-free), I make a vegan fajita bowl for me with a base of rice and beans with the veggies, avocado, and salsa on top. Flour tortillas are easy to get here, so my husband usually has fajitas the more traditional way as self-assembled tacos with some grated cheese.
The fajita filling also makes great leftovers, so feel free to make extra. A key for me to healthy eating is always having easy things to grab out of the fridge. And one of the easiest ways to do this is make extra food every night when I prepare dinner.
And, it goes without saying, that letting the oven do the work makes making dinner SO much easier. Not only that, but roasting vegetables brings out the flavors in a way that beats stove-top cooking every time. This dinner is definitely weeknight gourmet.
Recipe for Oven-Roasted Vegetarian Fajitas
Your choice of veggies (Any kind/color of bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and/or yellow summer squash as the base. Mushrooms, sliced cabbage (purple or green), fresh corn, and/or cherry tomatoes added later with the spices.)
Used in the photos for this post:
4 large bell peppers- sliced
1 large onion- sliced
2 cloves garlic- minced or thinly siced
2-3 cups mushrooms- thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ground red pepper (no heat or mild)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon five spice or cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder or red pepper flakes (optional, or use more if you like heat)
Juice of two limes or 1 large lemon
Add-ons of choice:
Beans- cooked & drained (whole black or pinto beans, pureed/refried-style)
Heat the oven to 350F (175C) while you clean and prepare the vegetables. Remember, the easy way to prep bell peppers is to chop the whole pepper in half and then pull out the insides and the stem. Then slice them with the cut side up, or even standing on end, instead of trying to slice through the tough skin. Also, if you do the garlic and onion first, the bell peppers will remove the smell from your hands as you cut and handle them. (Lemon juice will too!)
Place the prepared bell peppers, onion and garlic in a baking dish and toss with a little olive oil, maybe 2-3 tablespoons, just enough to lightly coat everything. (Wait to add the mushrooms til later.)
Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until just tender, stirring once or twice for even cooking.
Prepare the spices by combining in a bowl with the lime/lemon juice and mix well.
When your veggies are just tender, add the mushrooms and spice mix and stir to combine. Put back in the oven for another 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are hot and barely starting to release their juices.
Serve with sides and toppings of your choice-
• Tortillas (flour or corn)- I heat these in a dry skillet over med-low on each side until soft and hot. Keep warm in foil, under a dishtowel, or under a pot lid on a plate.
• Or try these easy Gluten-Free Whole Food Wraps
• Guacamole- the easiest version is smashed avocado with jar salsa of your choice, maybe with a little extra lemon juice
• Salsa (try this fresh homemade version)
• Grated cheese- if you eat dairy
• Cooked rice and/or beans
• Thinly sliced olives can be good too
• Fresh lime or lemon wedges (I prefer lime, but we don’t have them in Argentina. Lemon works well enough though.)
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