Try out our veggie bean fajitas for those days when you are in the mood for some bean-filled, tangy, crunchy and healthful Tex-Mex goodness. Easy to assemble and a complete mini-meal in itself, the veggie bean fajita is a great lunch idea for a relaxed spring weekend day at home with family.
Ingredients (serves 4 – makes about 10 fajitas):
- Corn tortillas (store-bought)
- Bell peppers (cut into strips) (different colors – I used green and orange) (1 small sized one of each color)
- Mushrooms (2 cups chopped – they tend to shrink considerably after cooking)
- Avocado (1 medium sized – mashed with a fork)
- Lemon juice (1 tbsp)
- Salt (to taste)
- Tomatoes (1 small – finely chopped)
- Onions (1/2 cup – finely chopped)
- Coriander leaves (2 tbsp – finely chopped)
- Lettuce (2 cups coarsely shredded)
- Greek yogurt or sour cream (I used Greek yogurt) (3/4 cup)
- Black beans (1 cup nicely cooked)
- Cumin (jeera) powder (1 tsp)
- Fennel (saunf) powder (1 tsp)
- Coriander (dhaniya) powder (1 tsp)
- Chilli powder (1/2 tsp)
- Oil (1.5 tbsp)
- Ghee/butter (for applying on the tortillas before serving)
- Chilli sauce (optional)
- Soak the black beans the previous night in enough water. Pressure cook well with a little salt (3 whistles and 6 minutes on simmer). Drain out the water and keep aside. You can use this water if you want instead of water in your cooking for dishes like dhals, soups, making roti/chapathi dough, gravy vegetables etc.
- In a pan on medium heat, add 1/2 tbsp of oil and onions (leave a teaspoon or so for the salsa). When the onions are translucent, add the cumin, fennel, coriander, chilli powder and cooked beans. Mix well. Cook uncovered for a few minutes until any excess water evaporates and the mixture is well homogenized. Keep the prepared beans aside in a bowl.
- In the same pan on high heat, add 1/2 tbsp of oil and the bell pepper strips with salt. Cook for a few minutes, stirring briskly to avoid burning. Switch off the heat before the peppers get overcooked. We want them to retain their crunch. Keep aside in a bowl.
- In the same pan on medium heat, add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of oil and the chopped mushrooms with salt. The mushrooms will start to sweat. Increase the heat and cook uncovered until the water evaporates. Turn off the heat and keep the mushrooms aside.
- In a bowl, add chopped tomatoes, coriander leaves, the 1 tsp of saved chopped onion, 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice, salt to taste and mix well. Adjust tastes. The salsa is ready. Keep it aside.
- In a plate, mash the avocado well with a fork. Transfer to a bowl, add 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice, salt to taste and mix well. Adjust tastes. The guacamole is ready. Keep it aside.
- On a tava (wide pan used for making rotis) on medium heat, lightly heat the tortillas and apply some ghee or butter on both sides. You can make it as crunchy or as soft as you like it. For crunchier tortillas, increase the heat slightly and cook it longer.
- Keep the tortilla on a plate. Add a layer of beans, then bell peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, salsa, guacamole, yogurt/sour cream and some chilli sauce (optional). The quantities of each of the ingredients you add is up to you and will also determine how many fajitas you can make out of the toppings you have made.
- Fold or roll and enjoy! Beware, it can get a bit messy while eating, but the taste is sure to be heavenly!
Sweet (corn tortillas, lettuce, beans), sour (yogurt/sour cream, lemon juice), salty (salt), bitter (coriander, cumin, lettuce, coriander leaves, bell peppers), pungent (fennel powder, chilli sauce, bell peppers, chilli powder), astringent (lettuce, coriander leaves).
Fajitas are a great spring lunch! Corn is a good choice grain during spring and for kapha pacification. It helps to reduce water retention and high blood pressure. Beans have a bad reputation for increasing flatulence and causing digestion problems for vatas. But, they offer several good properties – high in good fiber which aids in healthy elimination, good source for protein and complex carbohydrates, good for satiating strong hunger pangs and help in weight loss, and help in reducing cholestrol. Beans are great for kapha pacification as well and are especially recommended in spring time due to their dry nature and low glycemic index. Addition of coriander, cumin and fennel powders helps in making this recipe suitable for all the doshas in general and also enhances the digestibility of the beans. Avocado with its heavy, oily, sweet, dense properties is kapha aggravating. But with the other kapha pacifying ingredients in this recipe like corn and beans, this is not of concern. Avocados are considered to be tamasic in Ayurveda. However, they are high in healthy fats, omega 3 fatty acids, proteins and vitamins and low on cholesterol and make for a great weight loss support. The addition of lemon, salt and cilantro lightens up the avocado. Tomatoes and raw onions are both slightly pitta aggravating, but should be okay if consumed in moderation. Lettuce is cooling, light and refreshing for pittas. Bell peppers (part of the nightshade family) are vata and pitta aggravating due to their dry, hot properties. Mushrooms are considered tamasic in Ayurveda. You can safely skip them or substitute them with a vegetable of your choice (baby corn, broccoli etc.) without compromising on taste in this recipe. According to Western medicine, among their numerous benefits, they are also considered to be antioxidant rich and help in boosting immunity. Also, one of my daughters loves them, so I do add them occasionally in some dishes.
This dish is probably a bit more rajasic and tamasic than sattvic. Of course, these are just general guidelines to help us understand what these qualities are and one cannot categorically classify this as a rajasic dish or tamasic dish. It just has certain ingredients that can tend to increase these gunas in the recipe. That said, we can definitely look into what can be done to increase sattva even in such a dish. For example, the easiest principles to follow for increasing sattva are to use fresh ingredients, eat shortly after preparation and in a calm and content state of mind without any distractions or loud noises. Other things to do is to use salt in moderation, not overdo the pungency (i.e. regulate the amount of chilli powder and sauces), and not overdo the sourness (i.e. don’t overuse sour cream or lemon) of the dish. The addition of cumin, coriander and fennel definitely contributes to increasing sattva in the dish. Using canned products, excessive intake of mushrooms and avocados, stale ingredients will tend to increase the tamasic guna.