Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grilled Eggplant Fajitas


I’ve been spending some time revisiting a few of the classics lately, and finding ways to make them fit into my vegetarian lifestyle, whether they want to or not! ;) This week’s lucky dish was fajitas, and with the help of one of my favorite nightshades, I can now add this usually meat stuffed delight back into my rotation - yay!

I’ve actually had this idea since I made the Vegetarian Gyros a couple of weeks ago, and finally decided to give it a go. I used eggplant in place of meat, which gave it a great texture and soaked up all the flavors of the fajita mix really well. I almost used mushrooms (as I’m prone to do), but was glad I chose the eggplant in the end. It was very yummy, and healthy to boot!

Getting Started

To get started, you want to prepare the eggplant. This takes about 30 minutes, so make sure you give yourself enough time, and also that you’re not starving already, as this is likely to cause you to eat most of your guacamole with chips beforehand. Cut off the top and bottom of the eggplant, then stand up on one end and slice into approx. 1/2in pieces (see picture below). Depending on the size of your eggplant, this should give you about 6 pieces. Lay the slices on a cookie sheet, or other flat surface, and sprinkle generously with salt; flip over and do the same to the other side. Let sit for 30 min, then rinse well to remove the salt. This process removes any bitterness from the eggplant, and is well worth the extra time!

While your eggplant sits, slice your onion and bell peppers (remove the seeds first) into strips, and prepare the fajita mix by blending all the fajita seasoning ingredients in a bowl. I had never made my own fajita seasoning before, so I found a recipe from food.com, and just made a few alterations to make it vegetarian…it was really yummy! If you are making homemade guacamole, go ahead and make that now. Also, if you are using an outside grill, make sure to get it going.

Once your eggplant is ready, rinse off the salt and pat dry. Next, drizzle each slice with olive oil and sprinkle generously with the fajita seasoning. I only ended up using about half of the seasoning mix, and saved the other half for future use; just use as much as you like. Rub it in really well, then flip over and do the same to the other side; if a little dry, add more olive oil. Your eggplant should look very pretty and fajita-ey at this time. 

Place your slices on the grill, grill pan, or something of the like (I used my Foreman, and just flipped them over when needed) and cook until tender and displaying the proper grill marks, a few minutes per side (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of this step - I blame the Coronas my hubby brought home!). At the same time, sauté the onion and peppers in olive oil over medium-high heat. Add salt to taste, and cook until tender and taking on a beautiful golden color, approx. 10min.

When everything is done, cut the eggplant into long strips, heat up your tortillas, and stuff them full of all the goodies!

Wrapping it up

I really loved this recipe. Whether a fellow veg or not, these are a great, healthier alternative to classic fajitas, without sacrificing taste. The eggplant soaked up all the flavors of the fajita seasoning, and went perfectly with the sautéed peppers and onion. Topped with homemade guacamole, sour cream, and a squeeze of fresh lime = heaven in a tortilla!

 Ingredients

1 eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 large yellow onion
Coarse salt to taste
Olive oil for sautéing veggies and coating eggplant (approx. 2-3 Tbs)
8 flour fajita tortillas (aka small tortillas)
Guacamole and sour cream for topping

Fajita Seasoning Ingredients

1 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp crushed oregano

Servings: 4-6


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8 comments:

  1. These are amazing! I just made these for lunch.

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    1. Yay! So glad you like them! They are one of my favorites :)

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  2. This recipe was just what I needed! Both my husband and I thought it was dubious, but we ended up loving Mexican-flavored eggplant. Thank you so much for giving me a new weeknight staple!

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    1. I'm so glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I am so thrilled to have found this eggplant recipe. I added zucchini strips to make the food go longer and because I ran out of eggplant.

    I love the fajita seasoning. I made adjustments based on my pantry. I omitted onion powder because I don't have any. I added 1 tsp "True Lime" crystallized lime powder. Finally, I have arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch. Still very tasty with these substitutions.

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  5. This recipe is delicious! I left out the cornstarch & sugar and it didn't matter. A big hit with the family, especially with guacamole on top. Thank you for the innovation.

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