As a mostly vegetarian, fajitas is a go-to order of mine when at a Mexican or Southwestern style restaurant. It’s an easy thing to get vegetarian. It usually consists of stir fried peppers and onions, maybe with other vegetables thrown in if I’m lucky. Add some beans and guac to this, and I think it’s a pretty satisfying meal. At home we make fajitas often since it’s one of those meals that can come together really easily and I can use pretty much whatever vegetables I have on hand. But, I especially like this version.
I love tempeh in all sorts of recipes, so if it’s a new ingredient to you, I highly recommend you give it a try. Some people think of tempeh and tofu as “meat substitutes”, and I get that, but I think of it as its own thing all together. I mean, imagine people are expecting you to be just like your sister, but you’re like, “Hey, man, I’m a totally different person. We’re not substitutes for each other. Geez.”
Oh wait, is that oddly specific. Never mind.
(Also I’m totally kidding, just so we’re all clear.) 🙂
One thing I love about it is it can take on all sorts of flavors with the addition of a good marinade or sauce, which is exactly what this fajita recipe is all about! You will have to let the tempeh sit in the marinade for at least 2 hours, but if you throw it together in the morning or over lunch (if you go home for lunch), then you’ll be ready to go at dinner time without any waiting.
8 oz. tempeh, one package
2 chipotle peppers (the kind that come in adobo sauce)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic (or two if your cloves are on the small side)
1/2 of a small red onion (about 2 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 bell peppers
6-8 corn tortilla shells
1-2 tablespoons oil for cooking (I use olive oil most of the time.)
lime, cheese, or sour cream to serve
Cut the tempeh into strips, kind of like skirt steak, and set aside.
In a food processor, combine the chipotle peppers, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, 1/4 of the onion (about 1 oz.), cumin, and salt. Pulse until a thick paste forms. In a large ziplock bag, or two small ones if you realize you are out of large size bags, combine the tempeh with the marinade. Seal the bags, removing any air, and gently mash it around so the tempeh gets completely coated. Refrigerate for 2+ hours (overnight would be OK too).
Slice the pepper and remaining onion into small strips and stir fry in a little oil over medium heat. Once those have softened, remove to a plate. Then lightly pan fry each tortilla just until they begin to puff on each side. Place those on serving plates folded in half so they will keep their shape for a few minutes. Last, stir fry the tempeh for 3-5 minutes until each piece has browned on each side.
Divide peppers, onions, and tempeh among your prepared shells.
P.S. If you don’t end up consuming all the tempeh just save it in a ziplock and use in scrambled eggs, a BBQ grilled cheese, or on top of a salad. I’ve done all three before—I love this tempeh!
Note: If you are enjoying these as part of the Weekday Weekend Challenge be sure to use corn tortillas or another whole grain tortilla option and omit any dairy toppings. Add some more veggies like a quick homemade pico instead!
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman