Vegan Fajitas and a Valentine’s Day Gone Wrong

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Sometimes special occasions just turn out to be a hot mess. This was the case with our Valentine’s Day a couple weeks ago. Humour me while I share our story.

On the 14th, I woke up with a rash on my face and my eyes nearly swollen shut (as I mentioned, I’ve been struggling with allergies). They weren’t exactly the bedroom eyes I was hoping for! Eric had to cancel our dinner reservation because of the itchy, miserable state I was in. I don’t really put much emphasis on Valentine’s Day to begin with, but I was really looking forward to a nice evening out with my husband. Either way, we still managed to have a nice time together cuddled up on the couch giggling at Dwight’s antics on The Office while eating bowls of cereal. We made the best of the night and circumstances.

Just as we were about to get into bed at the end of the night, my shoulder was hit by a water bomb coming from above. I looked up to see a huge leak coming from the ceiling. Oh yes, the night gets better. All (rainy) day long this leak had been dropping water on our bed. I ripped up the layers of the sheets to find the bed absolutely soaked right through every layer. It’s midnight now and we’re pushing the bed as far over across the room as we can. Eric’s searching for a bucket somewhere buried in the garage. I’m stripping (the bed), cursing as I try to fit queen-sized sheets on a king-sized bed, and wondering what the heck we’re going to use for a duvet.

Drip, drip, drip.

In the grand scheme of things it was certainly not catastrophic, but it was definitely a hot mess of a day. If you also had one of those days on Valentine’s Day, rest assured you are not alone!

I promised Eric a homemade dinner of his choice when I was feeling better and he promised me dinner out. He chose fajitas for his special dinner – a childhood favourite for us both.

Growing up, whenever my mom told me it was fajita night (or taco night), I would be filled with glee. That yellow Old El Paso box was a magical box and I’d sneak it into the grocery cart whenever I could. My parents were never more cool than on fajita night. Well, except on pizza night.

Of course I’m still a huge fan of fajitas, but I make them a bit differently these days. It always amazes me the tasty dishes I can create with a bunch of plants.

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The lentil walnut meat is adapted from my previous versions and I play around with the seasonings every time I make it. I encourage you to do the same. This time I seasoned it with cumin powder, chili powder, cayenne, vegan Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and a bit of tomato paste. Feel free to use whichever spices or seasonings call out to you. An all-natural taco seasoning pack would also work in a pinch. If you aren’t down with walnuts, feel free to leave them out and simply use lentils for the base. Both will work just fine.

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Vegan Fajitas with Lentil Walnut Meat

Email, text, or print this recipe

Yield: 4-6 fajitas

For the lentil walnut meat:

  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils (makes about 2 cups cooked)
  • 3 cups water or broth
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted if preferred (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use Wizard’s brand)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste

 

For the stir-fry:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small orange pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

 

Tortilla/Topping ideas:

  • 4-6 small soft tortillas (or try lettuce cups)
  • Avocado slices
  • Cashew or Macadamia Cream
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Hot sauce

 

1. Rinse lentils and add to a medium pot along with 3 cups of water or broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender.

2. Meanwhile, sauté the onion and peppers in a skillet with the coconut oil for about 15 minutes over medium heat, or until softened.

3. Add walnuts into a mini processor and process until the size of peas or a bit smaller. Set aside. Add half of the cooked lentil mixture into a mini food processor. Process until mostly smooth. Mix back into the remaining lentils in the pot. Stir in walnuts if using. Slowly add the spices and seasonings to taste, adjusting amounts if necessary. If lentil mixture is dry add some water, a tablespoon at a time, until moistened. Turn on heat to warm lentil mixture just before serving.

4. Spoon lentil meat onto soft tortillas, followed by the skillet mixture and your desired toppings. Enjoy!

For lentil walnut meat nutritional info, see here.

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{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 27, 2013

I can’t believe that!!! The rash is bad enough, but a ceiling problem too? And in the winter!

Love this meat idea. Your lentil-walnut loaf is fantastic, so I will definitely be checking this out too! :)

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Melissa @ Suitcase and Heels February 27, 2013

Is it weird that I’m in awe of your avocado slices? They’re perfect! Finding an avocado here in Newfoundland that doesn’t have some amount of bruising/brown spots is really hard. The only solution is Costco but as a girl living alone, I just can’t eat 6 avocados before they go bad.

My Valentine’s Day wasn’t stellar either. I was supposed to be on a plane that day to Seoul, South Korea to visit the guy I’m dating (he’s an ex-pat English teacher there) but he came down with bronchitis and cracked a rib during a violent coughing fit a week before my departure so I’ve had to move the whole thing back a month. *sigh* :(

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Emily February 27, 2013

I know, and getting them at the optimum ripeness – not too hard, not too soft :-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 27, 2013

Oh, story of my life trying to find the perfect avocado. :) I tend to use them on the firmer side for pictures, they tend to have less bruises that way.

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Tanya @ playful and hungry February 27, 2013

There’s this one grocery here that always has perfectly ripe avocados – you can tell that I love it! ;)

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Vegan Radhika Sarohia February 28, 2013

^ The avocados in the photos for this post look scrumptious!
It’s past midnight and too late to fly to the grocery store for some haha
[It's probably good I check this blog more often at night than in the day, I'd just run out and buy everything that looks good to try and make it, would be disastrous:p]

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Stephanie March 13, 2013

I’ve never tried this myself, but there’s a pin floating around pinterest that claims that you can freeze ripe, peeled half avocados for later use. Maybe give it a try with the Costco avocados? :)

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Veronica September 16, 2013

You know you can actually freeze ripe avocados! I used to let them go to waste all the time too if I didn’t go through the whole Costco Bag. But just let them ripen, and then you can peel them and put them in freezer or air tight bags and use them later for guacamole or any other recipe where you mash or blend them. Save the avocados :)

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Caitlin February 27, 2013

what a valentine’s day! these fajitas definitely look like a fantastic after-holiday dinner celebration. plus, i love eating with my hands ;)

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Shundara@ SavyNaturalista February 27, 2013

Ange you are so versatile with lentils I can’t wait to try this… I hope you find the culprit to you allergies in can be a daunting process.. Gosh that is one horror valentines day story I don’t think I have one just yet… I hope your mattress did not take that long to dry out, I know when my mattress got soaked from a leak it to nearly a week to finish drying…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 27, 2013

Luckily, we had a waterproof mattress cover on our mattress (because of our cat- long story!) so it didn’t go through the actual mattress….so happy about that!!

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Shannon February 27, 2013

We didn’t have any water damage, but my partner and I were both super sick. We managed to eat soup at 4pm and I don’t think we moved from the couch until we headed to bed at 8pm.
In the long run it’s pretty amusing I think. I’d rather go out to a fancy dinner on a night when it isn’t packed & overpriced.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 27, 2013

Yeah, we both said we’d never forget this V-day!
Hope you are feeling better. :)

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Casandra February 27, 2013

Fajita/tacos are a big favourite of ours too! We always use a seasoned black bean mash but next time I’ll try the lentil walnut meat! Scallions are also a must for us!

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Emily February 27, 2013

Ooh, I was wondering what to make for dinner tonight – sorted, and easily amended for my carnivorous husband.

Hope you get the allergies licked soon, and your leak fixed!

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Sarah @ mymostlyhealthylife.com February 27, 2013

Mmm these look absolutely amazing. I found out last night that I enjoy red, yellow and orange peppers after thinking my whole life that I despised peppers, so I CAN’T wait to try them in a fajita! I hope you guys had a great belated-valentines!

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Sarah L. February 27, 2013

I used to hate all peppers too! What were we thinking??

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Alex @ Raw Recovery February 27, 2013

Oh no your Valentine’s Day sounds like…not so much fun! I’m so sorry you had an allergic reaction and that your bed got soaked through by the leak. That is truly no fun at all. The fajitas however look excellent! My exboyfriend’s mom used to make me vegan tacos using lentils when I’d go visit them, and they were so delicious. I might have to make a deconstructed fajita bowl since I can’t have grains for two weeks (an allergy elimination diet) but this is a great idea for dinner tonight! Thanks Angela! Hope you and your bed are feeling better!

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Heather February 27, 2013

Oof, that’s rough! Did you ever figure out what was going on with your allergies? Feel better!

Also, the colors in this dish are so vibrant and beautiful! Makes me crave tacos…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 27, 2013

Not yet, but the rashes have gone away and things seems to be getting better with my eyes. I’ve gone for two different kinds of allergy testing so I hope to have more answers soon. Or maybe I will never know!

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Sarah @ Yogi in Action February 27, 2013

Aww- that does sound like a terrible Valentine’s Day. But one of those days where next year you guys will laugh about how bad it was.

I also loved fajita night as a child, and continue to love it as an adult. I will definitely be trying this recipe- especially with the lentil walnut meat, as I’ve been overdoing it on soy lately.

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Laura Thomas February 27, 2013

These look SO fresh and tasty. Need to make some soon. I’m off to Austin, TX this weekend so there will definitely be some fajitas/tacos in the near future. Sorry your Valentine’s wasn’t quite as romantic as planned; hope there wasn’t any lasting water damage!

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh February 27, 2013

Aww, that stinks! I’m not one to put emphasis on a Hallmark holiday either but still, what cruddy timing! Did you guys get the leak fixed?

Fajita night sounds perfect!

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Monica February 27, 2013

valentine’s day gone wrong… vegan fajitas gone right! so, so right!
do you think there is a different nut that would work well in this recipe other than walnuts? i’d love to make this for a family dinner, but my sister happens to be allergic to walnuts.
thanks, angela!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 27, 2013

heh :) I’m sure many nuts could work – or even sunflower seeds. I would try toasted almonds or sunflower seeds. But it’s still tasty without any nuts at all too.

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Gosia February 27, 2013

Do you think your allergies might be related to the water damage? Maybe there is some underlying mold up there? Just a thought…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 27, 2013

I’ve definitely thought of that…I sure hope not, but you never know. Our landlord is having someone come in to fix it and assess the damage so hopefully I will know more soon.

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Duze February 27, 2013

Hi Angela,
You have such beautiful photos on your blog! I love reading your stories too!

Have you ever wondered if you are allergic to tree nuts or legumes? You use a lot of both. I have been vegetarian for several years and had to eliminate both in the last two years because I have developed allergies to them. I suspect it is due to the frequency with which I ate them. I used to eat nuts daily and until recently I ate beans and lentils daily too.Over the past few months I was insanely bloated and my stomach felt like it was being stabbed every time I ate beans or avocado. I have since removed both from my diet and voila, flat stomach and my eyes no longer have dark circles underneath. I hope for your sake that that is not the case for you as I deeply miss all of these foods.

Danielle

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! February 27, 2013

I love using lentils as an alternative in recipes that typically use meat! Such great chew and texture! These fajitas look amazing.

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Sabrina February 27, 2013

What brand of tortilla do you use?

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Alexis @ Hummusapien February 27, 2013

I had walnut “meat” at a raw vegan restaurant a while back and it was fabulous! I love the idea of adding lentils to lighten it up a bit. Gorgeous pics by the way!

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Angie February 27, 2013

quite the eventful day! the recipe looks DELICIOUS (they always do) and I always love trying out something new that you offer up! thanks so much for your awesome blog and recipe ideas!

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Ali @ Project Kale February 27, 2013

I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day, but I have to say, that might send me over the edge to really hate it! Oh well, at least it makes for a good story that you can laugh about :)

LOVE lentils – can’t wait to try these fajitas – or put the filling into taco shells! YUM!

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Kristy February 27, 2013

geez! What a Valentine’s Day! This looks like the perfect dish for a “do-over” night. :-) Fajitas have always had a spot in my heart too- I can’t wait to try that lentil-walnut filling!

I hope you’re feeling better. Trying to narrow down what you’re allergic to is so rough. :-/

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Andrea @ Vegvacious February 27, 2013

Geesh, you give the saying ‘when it rains, it pours’ true meaning in that story!!!

I will definitely be giving this recipe a try — I love your taco salad recipe with the bean/nut “meat” mixture, so I’m sure to love this one as well!

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Caroline @ chocolate & carrots February 27, 2013

These look great! I bet I can even get my meat loving husband to try these! :D

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Ruthie February 27, 2013

Wow, that lentil/walnut mixture is brilliant! I had been looking for more ways to incorporate walnuts into my diet and just happened to have leftover lentils in my fridge :) Thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait to try these fajitas too, yumm.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks February 27, 2013

So sorry about your VDay. Trust me, more often than not ‘special days’ turn out to the be the hot mess ones. It’s always the non-special tuesdays that end up being more special in my memory banks as I think back. I’ve had plenty of anniversaries, bdays, etc that not only weren’t special, they were downright horrible due to illness, missed flights/being apart, water heaters breaking and springing leaks….always happens on holidays to me too!

Glad you guys made it and had a special meal at least :)

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Katie February 27, 2013

I struggle with chronic uticaria and angioedema – sorry to hear you’re dealing with it too! After lots of testing mine doesn’t seem to have a cause (it’s probably autoimmune) so I just try to remember that things could be so much worse, but it does get frustrating, especially at first. I tried so many things – switching laundry detergents, lotions, juicing more, cutting out alcohol, changing my diet. But nothing seemed to help all that much. My biggest triggers are exercise and pressure (skinny jeans are my worst enemy) but I’ll never stop biking; my immunologist says that as long as I carry my epi-pen he won’t tell me to give anything up :). Good luck and keep us updated if you find anything interesting out!

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Sarah L. February 27, 2013

Tough luck on V-day! That’s definitely one of those hate-it-now-but-this-will-make-a-good-story-one-day sort of days.

When I was younger, Old El Paso made an annual appearance on my birthday. I loved tacos even more than birthday cake – though at the time, ground beef and cheese were my only taco fillings. This past September, I had my first (almost) vegan birthday and cooked up some walnut lentil taco meat with pico de gallo guac, bean dip, and sour cream to fill in those beloved yellow shells. A delicious and healthier upgrade to previous birthdays!

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Sara February 27, 2013

ahh man what a pain in the butt of a day sorry:( Those fajitas are making my mouth water some now though;P

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 27, 2013

Wooooah you and I must have the same brainwaves today because I just posted a vegan lentil-tempeh ‘meat’ recipe this morning! (http://bit.ly/XgVtrf) Sorry to hear your Valentine’s Day was a little less than ideal. At least you got to spend time together though – like you said, that’s what counts!

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Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} February 27, 2013

Oh no what a mess! Great to hear that you had a mattress cover though, that was my first thought that the water soaked the mattress too.

The fajitas look awesome. I agree that taco/fajita night are always great.

Hope you get some answers to your allergy situation soon. It’s so frustrating to not feel well and not have any answers as to why or what is causing it.

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kimmythevegan February 27, 2013

omg omg omg I can’t *wait* to make these. They look so good!!!

and um… that really sucks about your valentine’s day. It would be a completely craptastic day any old day, but on valentine’s day? Extra sucky :(

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Anna @ Your Healthy Place February 27, 2013

OMG that sounds like such a crazy Valentine’s story! At least it’s one that you can look back on in future years and laugh. I love fajitas too so that makes everything better, right??

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scissors and spice February 27, 2013

Glad you are feeling better and I have also fond memories of taco night at our house! :)

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl February 27, 2013

These look SO tasty! And seriously, I just have to say…your pictures are always SO gorgeous! Awesome work :).

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Alley @ Alley's Recipe Book February 27, 2013

Hope you have a great makeup Valentine’s dinner!

I used to buy those Old El Paso taco kits too… but all you need are tortillas and a good spice collection and of course all the veggies and grains (which, you have to buy those with or without the box). Maybe tomorrow will be taco night! :)

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Stephanie @ Legally Blinde February 27, 2013

WOW! These look absolutely delicious, Angela. And your pictures are just amazing – all of the colors are beautiful; I think the flavors are popping right out of my computer screen. I can’t wait to try this out!

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health February 28, 2013

That is an unfortunate day! But one that you can look back and laugh at once enough time has passed. These fajitas look awesome. You are the Queen of delicious vegan recipes! :)

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Vegan Radhika Sarohia February 28, 2013

The vegan fajitas look totally delicious!!
I love teh avocados
And maybe next Valentine’s Day will be better :)

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Vegan Radhika Sarohia February 28, 2013

“It always amazes me the tasty dishes I can create with a bunch of plants.”

^ I agree…I’ve gotten into artichokes lately, I grill them and go to town…every time I see a new type of produce in the grocery aisle I pick it up and start Googling vegan recipes for it, I think that’s how I landed on OSG blog one fine day last year:D

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