No-fuss fajita bowls      

A flavourful, healthy meal in an easy-to-eat format!

For years my family resisted meals in the taco-burrito-fajita family because they found them too messy to eat. Thankfully, everyone’s gotten over that but it was a memory of toddler tears at yet another burrito blowout that led to the creation of this recipe. It’s got all the great flavour you’d expect in a fajita, but in an easy-to-enjoy format and can be made with grilled chicken instead of steak, if you prefer. As a bonus, without the tortillas, the dish is gluten-free. I like to serve this meal buffet-style so everyone can assemble their own bowl with the toppings of their choice. If your family is a fan of fajitas, you might also enjoy this fajita skillet casserole.

Ingredients

Beef

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) flank steak
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) lime juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) canned pineapple juice *
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) each ground cumin AND chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each salt pepper

* Note that pineapple juice is an amazing meat tenderizer but if you leave the meat in it too long, it will start to disintegrate. If you are prepping the meat more than 6 hours ahead of time, replace the pineapple juice with orange juice, water or white wine.

Rice

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) butter
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup (250 mL) basmati rice
  • 2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro

Vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cooked frozen corn
  • 1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced Spanish or white onion **
  • 2 cups (500 mL) thinly sliced red, green or orange bell peppers **
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) beer, chicken stock, white wine or water

** I cut the thin slices into 1 inch pieces to make them easier to eat

Toppings

  • 1 ripe avocado, diced and tossed with the juice of 1 lime
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Method

  • Start by marinating the beef. Put the flank steak in a large zip-sealed bag. In a small bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients, whisking together. Drizzle over meat, then seal bag, pressing air out as you do so. Refrigerate for 3 – 6 hours (or overnight if not using pineapple juice), flipping bag occasionally. Remove from fridge 45 minutes before cooking.
  • When ready to start cooking, start by preheating your grill (barbeque) to medium-hot (about 375F).
  • While grill heats, slice peppers and onions and set aside.
  • Sauté the garlic and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes, until garlic is softened. Add the rice and chicken stock and bring to a boil, then cook, covered for about 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in chopped cilantro, then keep pot covered until all other ingredients are cooked.
  • Remove flank steak from marinade (discarding marinade) and grill for about 7 minutes per side, until meat registers 135F in the thickest part. Remove from grill and place on a tray or plate; cover loosely with foil and let rest for 7 – 8 minutes.
  • While meat is resting, put remaining olive oil and sliced onions in a large, heavy duty frying pan. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring often, until onions are translucent. Add corn, peppers, salt and pepper and beer and cook 2 – 3 minutes more, stirring often, until peppers are tender-crisp and liquid has mostly evaporated.
  • Slice cooked beef very thinly across the grain. Cut slices in halves or thirds to create bite-sized pieces. Place on a platter or plate.
  • To assemble bowls, put cooked rice in the bottom then arrange corn, sautéed onions and peppers and sliced beef on top. Garnish with avocado, salsa, sour cream and cilantro.

Serves 6

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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