Vegan Fajitas and a Valentine’s Day Gone Wrong

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on February 27, 2013

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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

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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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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 28, 2013 at 6:41 am

What a pain in the butt! So sorry you had to deal with that on top of dealing with allergies. I’m glad you were able to make up for it later with these delicious looking fajitas. I’ve been on such a Mexican kick lately!

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Christine @ Gotta Eat Green February 28, 2013 at 8:46 am

My V-day was water filled as well! We got stuck in the down pour on the way to a concert, it was still an amazing time though. Fajitas are by far my go-to meal when I want something quick and easy!

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Kelly @ Vegan Iowan February 28, 2013 at 11:15 am

You poor thing! We always make dinner at home on Valentine’s Day and leave the restaurants to the “amateurs” – we prefer drinking wine on the couch to fighting crowds and making reservations so far in advance. Then, a day or two after, we’re free to enjoy great service and food without any hassle!

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Alex @ Delicious-Knowledge.com February 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Sorry to hear about your Valentines day! Sometimes spending nights curled up on the couch is better than going out! Love tacos- one of our favorite meals!

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Heather February 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Making this tonight. We are vegetarian, but don’t tell the kids. Try to trick them with yummy alternatives. haha. Hopefully this wins over little bellies with big opinions!

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Lindsay @ VeganYumminess February 28, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Yummies!! I love that you used walnuts and lentils for the fajita meat. How clever! I need to try that. I’m so sorry about your awful Valentine’s Day. :(

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Katherine February 28, 2013 at 4:57 pm

A while back was having some eye issues as well- super puffy, dry, red eyelids where I couldn’t open my eyes and my doctor suggested it could be from my nail polish? I’ll never know if that was the cause- it went away on it’s own- but it’s always a possibility!

Good luck to you xo

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Sherisse H (@lovesplantbased) February 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I like the topping suggestions, yum!

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SarahBeee February 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Aww Angela me too!
I have been having some issues this week with my skin and general look! All day Tuesday and yesterday people have been asking me if I am ok, because I looked like I was crying. And my eyes are all swollen and puffy today! I am going to make some of these right now. I have all the ingredients, so I don’t have to leave the house! :)

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michelle February 28, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I started making this as soon as you posted today. I used sunflower seeds instead of the walnuts and it was fantastic! The recipe made a lot of lentil meat so I look forward to using it in burritos and sandwiches this week.

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vegan miam March 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

Sunflower seeds sound awesome! I should try that.

♡ rika, vegan miam

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Tami February 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm

That looks so good! thanks. Sounds like your valentines went as well as mine. Planned a day of fun then Wednesday night I broke my tooth (lost half of the tooth and filling fell out) So I spent almost 5 hours in the dentist chairs with specialist to save the tooth and in a lot of pain for the next 3 days :(

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Ouch! That sounds like you need a re-do too. Hope you are feeling better now!

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Cheryl February 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Just made these last night, and I’m AMAZED by the lentil meat–holy cow! Perfect taco/fajita texture!
Thank you, this one’s going to be a favorite for us.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Im so happy you enjoyed it Cheryl! Thanks for letting me know :)

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Padma February 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Oh gosh, I hope you are feeling better. I went through something similar every time I came home to visit my parents. I would break out in hives and get the strangest rashes. I joked with my parents that I was allergic to coming home, and therefore couldn’t come often to visit them. And then I had to spend several months with them. It got worse for a while, but now its much better. It kind of went away on its own. But yours sounds more serious.

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Joanne February 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm

I made this for dinner tonight and my meat eating hubby and parents all loved it. I’m going to use the leftovers on top of tortilla chips for some killer nachos tomorrow! Great recipe!!

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Willow February 28, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Oh no! What an unfortunate way to spend the holiday. It can’t be all bad, though – after all, it resulted in fajitas! I haven’t had fajitas in years, now, and have never tried making them with lentils. All the spices you used sound just incredible together (didn’t even know there was such a thing as vegan worcestershire!). Seriously got my mouth watering just thinking about it! Mmm!

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vegan miam March 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

Yes, a vegan worcestershire is awesome!

♡ rika, vegan miam

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Stacey Jennings February 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Wow this looks amazing! I am a big fan of fajitas myself and have many them many times but mine never ever look this good! I am going to try your recipe tomorrow night and see how it goes! Cheers to a good looking recipe! Many thanks!

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Sunteerto March 1, 2013 at 1:15 am

vegan fajitas is nice to share a lot with our partner for valentine. That’s romantic I think. The important think how you make that vegan with pure love for your lover.

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vegan miam March 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

I miss vegan fajitas! I can’t believe in Bogota, Colombia, there aren’t any! I bet these fajitas are great with yellow plantains!

♡ rika, vegan miam

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char eats greens March 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

Ohhh Angela. I’m sure you looked beautiful, puffy eyed and all ;). I seriously need to make these fajitas asap!! I swear peppers are my fave right now, so another dish to use them in is fine by me!!!

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Alina March 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I am eating a deconstructed (and slightly modified) version of this right now, and I think it’s great! (I used spinach instead of cilantro, hot sauce instead of chili and cumin powder, and onion powder instead of garlic powder). I can imagine a meat-lover really liking this. Thank you for this recipe!

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cynthia March 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm

just thinking about what you could be allergic…maybe to canned products…im too….and i just finished eating this fajitas recipe…they were amazing!

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Margaret March 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I made these tonight for my roommates and we’re all still in a food coma-definitely one of my favorite recipes of your’s! You are so creative and make the transition to veganism so fun for me!

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Leanne March 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Thanks for another recipe that doesn’t make me miss meat or dairy! My cashew cream turned a grayish color though. Is this because I didn’t soak the cashews?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 5, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Hmm, did you rinse the cashews before using?

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Leanne March 5, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Yes :)

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Kayla March 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Come be my personal chef, please? :)

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Kathy March 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Double the recipe!!! I made a double recipe of lentils on Saturday, trusting it would be delicious. And it was! Alas, there were no perfect avocados to be had. :(
But on Sunday, I had a brilliant idea. I put a nice thick layer of the lentil “meat” on the bottom of a casserole and covered it with mashed sweet potatoes (with a touch of salt and maple syrup mixed in) and voilà! An eccentric but delicious shepherd’s pie. Two dinners for one… I like that.

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Christine @ 24 Carrot Kitchen March 13, 2013 at 6:58 am

This looks really delicious. I can’t wait to try it as I love these type of recipes. I want to try the Lentil Walnut Loaf as well.

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Ron March 22, 2013 at 1:06 am

Gotta go eat something!

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Stacy April 1, 2013 at 9:47 am

Angela, while I’m sure your taco meat would be fab in tacos, I tend to think of fajitas in the traditional way I grew up eating them in Texas, so in order to make them veggie I use extra large mushrooms, and marinate them in the same marinade I used to use for meat (google fajita marinade and adjust to taste). I sauté peppers and onions until they are caramalized and ah-mazing, then separately quickly sauté the mushrooms. Served with homemade guacamole, homemade pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and (shredded cheese-but I’m not vegan, you could sub Daiya) they are to.die.for. I also warm the tortillas in the oven and wrap in a towel. I love fajitas. :-) I am def going to try your “meat” in some yummy soft tacos soon!

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Dayana April 11, 2013 at 7:24 am

These are over the top delicious! I would like to start by saying thank you for making the food look and taste great. After months of researching, two weeks ago (April 1) I decided to adopt a plant based lifestyle. My meat loving husband thought it was a April fools joke! :0). On the sly I made this recipe and turkey on the side, lets just say he kept coming back for more of the lentils. With three little ones under the age of five your recipes are quick and easy to make. Thank you!

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Jill April 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm

My entire family thanks you for the fact that we just nearly ate ourselves sick. YU-UM!! Even my 7 year old daughter who said “Why can’t we just eat MEAT??” before dinner ate seconds and declared these the best fajitas ever. I added a big spoonful of nutritional yeast to the cashew cream to add B12 and a slight cheesy taste. Perfect!

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Leah May 26, 2013 at 8:59 am

Hi there, I came across your blog this morning wanting to incorporate some vegan dishes into our family meals. I noticed your mention of mysterious rash/ allergy and thought I’d share my own recent discovery of a food alergy of sorts that the docs don’t usually pick up. I get a rash and swollen eyes after handling fresh mangoes. Super itchy, hives sometimes, and swollen eyes. It tuned out some people are allergic to the oils in the skin of fresh mango. If you are sensitive to poison ivy you may also be sensitive to mango skin. My allergy flares up within 24-48 hours of slicing or handling fresh mangoes. I now avoid mangoes and pistachios in the shell (they are related).
I went through about 9 months of random flare ups before I finally eliminated things to get to the bottom of my issue.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 27, 2013 at 10:28 am

Hi Leah, Oh wow, I never would’ve thought of that! It’s funny – I have suspected mango actually because I was eating it around the time of my reaction, but maybe it’s actually the skin? Very interesting…I will certainly keep a closer eye on when it flares up. Thanks for the tip and so glad you figured it out!

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Deanna November 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Made this for dinner tonight… and it was awesome!! The Walnut Lentil meat was so good!!! Whole family, including my 7 & 9 year old’s ate the whole thing. Another great dish.

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Aimee @ aim for healthy bites September 13, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Thank you for this fabulous recipe! I have been on the hunt for years for a lentil dish that my husband will actually eat and this is it! I changed up a few of the spices and veggies and created a seasoning for the veggies before grilling and they turned out amazing. This is now a regular dish in our house.

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Emma December 21, 2015 at 5:04 am

Amazing! The lentil-walnut meat wowed everyone and I am going to adapt the spices and use it as a bell pepper stuffing. Thank you xxx

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Doreen November 24, 2016 at 11:09 am

This was absolutely delicious and very easy to make!
I made extra extra extra guacamole to put in the fajitas because … well, i think we all feel the same about sauce :P Since the ‘lentil meat’ is less juicy than real meat, I think it’s nice to have that added ‘moisture’ from the guacamole. I also made the cashew cream, which was nice but perhaps for this recipe combination I would make the cashew cream a little spicy for next time, or perhaps just add some garlic :)

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