Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vegetarian Fajitas

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch us as we try really really hard to eat with our family of 6 on $6/day.

Recently I was very justly accused of not including enough vegetable recipes on this site. My friend pointed out that this site is a little heavy on the bread, cake, chocolate spectrum. Um, guilty as charged. 

It's not that I dislike vegetables. In fact, I love vegetables. I love them so much that I most often eat them just plain and raw. Which doesn't provide too awfully much fodder for a food blog. The other problem is that I didn't grow up eating a lot of vegetables. As a child/young adult, I ate green beans from a can, corn from a can, frozen broccoli/cauliflower (which still turns my stomach a bit to think about), raw carrots, iceberg lettuce, corn, potatoes, tomatoes/tomato sauces. It wasn't until I was married or nearly married that I ever tried artichokes, avocados, asparasgus, squash in their various varieties (not counting zucchini bread, which I've always eaten and loved--shocker), varieties of onion, kale, sweet potato (not counting Thanksgiving sugary sweet potatoes), parsnips, beets, baby spinach, and about 100 other vegetables. I didn't know how to prepare fresh green beans when I grew them in my garden (steamed or sauted thank you very much, and then served with a pat of butter and salt and pepper). The point being that most of the vegetable recipes that I now have and love are straight up from other sources. I'm going to try to link more to them when we eat or I find them.

By the way, I'd like the record to clearly show that I do NOT blame my mother. I'm sure that there wasn't as much variety in the grocery stores in the small town of my youth. And, even more than that, now that I'm a mother, I'm quite sure that my four other brothers and sisters and I, must have done our best to whine away any vegetable adventurousness our poor mother ever had. Also, cooked vegetables like butter (or at least a bit of olive oil), and our family didn't do butter (or olive oil). Did any families of the '80s and '90s do butter or olive oil? Did yours? Seriously, I'd like to know.

Now, in addition to adding more veggie links and dishes to this blog, I'm making another change (Don't worry, we'll still do plenty of sweets. That's right, I read the stats to this blog; I know that the most popular posts are almost always the sweet ones. It's okay, all your little secrets are safe with me.) Anyway, what was the point before I distracted myself? Oh, yes, in Jean's Food Journal, I'll also be recording how many cups of fruits/vegetables the kids and I consume each day. Besides letting you know how we're doing, having to record it will pressure me to do well and to try to get my kids to do well. Win win.

Now for today's veggie-full recipe. I love it.

Vegetarian Fajitas
Serves 2
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Cost: .80
(pepper: .50, onion: .20, spices/sauces: .10)

1 large bell pepper (any color will do, but reds are my favorite and the prettiest)
1 small onion
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 T cider vinegar (or you can sub the plain distilled kind or probably anything you've got)
scant 1 T Worcheshire sauce
scant 1 T soy sauce
dash chili powder
1 small handful peanuts, probably about 3 Tbsp (preferrably raw; if not, go for something unsalted; you're getting plenty of salt in this meal)

Combine garlic, vinegar, Worcheshire, soy sauce, and chili powder in a bowl.

Chop vegetables and throw them in the bowl. You can marinate it for 20 minutes or so, but don't need to. (If you plan to leave them to marinate, you may want to reduce the amounts of vinegar, Worcheshire and soy to 1/2 T. However, I'm always making this for lunch and in a hurry, so I just throw it all into the pan without marinating for long.)

Heat oil in 10 or 12-inch skillet over medium or medium high heat (you don't want the veggies to scorch as soon as they hit the pan, but you don't want them to sit there for 20 minutes without getting any color either). Throw veggies and sauce in. Stir occasionally, letting vegetables suck up sauces and sort of carmalize with the oil a bit.

When nearly done, throw in the peanuts if using. I did this once on a whim and really liked it.

When the vegetables are tender and browned (from both sauce and heat), take them off and serve with tortillas or naan or rotti or whatever flat bread shivers your timbers. It would also do well served over rice. Or you can just eat it with a fork.



  1. Do your kids eat the fajitas? Or just you?

  2. This looks tasty, but VERY much NOT husband approved. :) What did Kip say?

    I agree with the veggies - we eat quite a lot and I've been focusing on more, but it is almost always a big plate of chopped veggies or fruit with dip left out on the table while mom cooks dinner. I just like them raw! And toddler babe likes to just dip and lick, but I call it "training for future vegetable eating" and tell my husband at least she has good vegetable associations, right?

  3. Definitely not husband or kid approved. I ate it for lunch. Kip had a sandwich. Savannah tried a pepper, but wasn't a fan. I am, though. I'm having another right now. Yum.

    And, Vanessa, my little ones like to dip and lick too. I'm not sure if those condiments will mean their death or salvation.



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