There’s no getting away from it, making healthy, freshly cooked, delicious meals night after night can be a real challenge. Busy days with work and/or kids or health challenges that leave you with little energy or capacity to plan or create dishes make fast food and processed meals more appealing. Even though you know they won’t taste as good or give you the nourishment your body needs.
Confession time – I too find it hard from time to time to keep up the enthusiasm to create something wonderful in the kitchen! And that’s ok. Because there’s always the faithful staples to fall back on; those meals you come back to week after week because they’re quick, easy and tasty too. Thank goodness!
So what kind of meals am I talking about? Ones like:
- Baked potato, hummus and salad
- Stir fry veg and noodles
- Gnocchi, basil and salad
- Pasta with steamed veggies and (soya) cream sauce
- Tray baked veg with chickpeas
- Veggie fajitas
Out of those, fajitas are the ones we have nearly every week. Which is why I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to pop it on the blog. Probably because I tend to think people what the interesting recipes not the simple ones. But simple ones are good too 🙂
The reason we love fajitas (apart from the fact they taste awesome) is it’s another great way of using up bits and bobs of veg languishing in the bottom of the fridge. A lonely carrot, slightly soft courgette, broccoli stems waiting for their turn to be used – they can all join together to become something wonderful. And if you plan ahead, making sure you buy different coloured peppers, red onion and something green, it’s easy to have a rainbow dinner cooked in minutes. This makes sure you get a range of different anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that support your body right down at cellular level.
The key cooking skill for fajitas when you are following a diet for health programme like Overcoming MS is frying without oil. Which might come as a bit of surprise if you’re used to the sizzling pans served in Tex Mex restaurants. Fajitas can taste just as delicious without the oil – the flavour comes from the veggies and the seasoning. If you want to know more about why and how to cook without oil, then have a look at this article here.
Apart from the lovely rainbow veggies, I like to add some plant protein into the mix too. The easiest way is to add slices of smoked tofu. Or slices of plain tofu or tempeh bathed in my smoky marinade for a little while. Alternatively, you can make refried beans (without the frying of course). This recipe can be found in my book if you have it.
Fajita seasoning can be found quite readily on the supermarket shelves. But they sometimes include ingredients that are not so good for sensitive eaters including gluten, added salt and sugar plus on occasion food additives and colourings. These last ones are now known to be unhelpful to gut health so best avoided wherever possible.
So whats the solution? I make up my own fajita seasoning and keep it in a separate jar on the spice rack so it’s ready when I want it. You can find the recipe (one of the earliest ones I posted) here.
The final part of fajitas is of course what do you serve them in? Wholewheat or gluten free wraps are readily available, but again, check the ingredients as many have additives which are known to damage the gut. If you want to avoid wheat completely, then large lettuce leaves like cos lettuce are a good option. Just make sure you serve and eat immediately or the leaves wilt rather rapidly. I have a recipe for a flatbread/wrap made with gram flour which works well too. It’s coming up on the blog soon.
I hope you enjoy this easy veggie fajita recipe. Do let me know how you get on.
Easy veggie fajitas
- 1 onion red or white
- 1 carrot
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow and/or green pepper
- 1 small courgette
- 200 grams smoked tofu or plain tofu/tempeh
- 2 teaspoons fajita seasoning
- fresh coriander roughly chopped
- wholewheat/gluten free wraps or large lettuce leaves
- dairy free yoghurt optional
- chopped avocado and/or tomato optional
- tomato salsa optional
- Peel and slice the onion. Peel and cut the carrot into thin batons. Wash, deseed and slice the peppers. Wash and cut the courgette into batons.
- Slice the smoked tofu or tempeh if using (extra time needed for marinading if you choose to do that)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of water in the base of a non-stick frying or stir fry pan. Add the veggies and stir fry on a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring continually so the veggies don't stick to the pan. Add more water if needed.
- Once the veggies are slightly softened but still crunchy, add the sliced tofu or tempeh and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the fajita seasoning, making sure everything is covered. Lower the heat and leave to simmer.
- Prepare the wraps (you might like to warm them a little) and any extra toppings.
- Spoon the fajita mix into the wraps, top with toppings and eat whilst still lovely and hot.