I can’t tell you how much I love Mexican food.
It combines all of my favorite things – cheese, spice, corn and avocados and can be eaten with your hands. It's my go-to drunk/pre-drunk/drinking/non-drinking-but-just-hangry food (just ask any of my kickball teammates). If I could eat bottomless nachos and never feel sick, I would sign my soul away to the cheese-covered devil.
But, sadly, in this quarter-life stage of my life, I tend to bloat after indulging in the heavenly flavors of salt, cheese and spice. That will never stop me from eating nachos, but I’ve learned I sometimes have to indulge my cravings in another, more responsible way. Being an adult really sucks. Working in an office, paying rent, bloating at even the sight of dairy. Sigh.
But before you sigh off a cliff, I have a solution for you! It’s got all of the best Mexican flavors, and leaves your tummy happy. I’m confident it’ll even turn your favorite meat-loving skeptic into a true believer. The portabella mushrooms even look like steak, so you can really trick your loved ones.
This is the perfect way to reset after the weekend. Plus, all the ingredients can be made and stored separately, so these bowls are the perfect “meal plan” recipe, if you’re a lucky someone who has their shit together enough to actually meal plan.
I know there are a lot of mushroom haters out there – and I hear ya! These bowls are very versatile. You can easily sub sweet potatoes for mushrooms, zucchini and squash for peppers. You can top with your favorite salsa, add an extra squeeze of lime or slice your avocados instead of making guacamole. Make it your own! At the very least, it should hold you over until your next Mexican food craving.
Portabella-Veggie Fajita Bowls
Yield: 4-6 servings
Cook Time: 35-40m
Category: Mains, Vegan
Source: inspired by Cookie + Kate
rice & beans:
1 cup of rice
1 can of black beans
1¼-1 ½ cups of vegetable broth *
3-4 medium-to-large portabella mushrooms
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lime juice
½ teaspoon cumin
½ cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon chile powder
1 red or yellow onion, sliced into half moons
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 green pepper sliced into strips
roasted corn: **
1 cup of frozen corn
2 tbsp olive oil
salt + pepper to taste
2 ripe avocados
1 medium jalepeno, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp of red onion, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp of lime juice
½ tsp garlic powder ***
2 tbsp cilantro,. finely chopped
¼ tsp salt
*Mushy rice? Use these ratios as a guide: for long-grain brown rice, use 1 1/4 cups liquid to 1 cup rice. For short-grain, use 1 1/2 cups liquid to 1 cup of rice
** If you're lucky enough to own a grill, I highly recommend roasting your corn in tin foil on the grill. I love the way my dad does it - olive oil and red pepper flakes for some heat, but absolutely make it your own.
*** I advise against using actual garlic here, as it tends to overtake the rest of the flavors (and I'm not just being lazy!). A sprinkle of garlic powder should do the trick.
Prepare the mushrooms: Wash and de-gill the mushrooms using a spoon. Slice off the stems and cut into strips. Add mushrooms to a freezer bag. Mix your marinade in a bowl and pour half of the marinade over your mushrooms. Give the bag a good shake to the beat of your favorite upbeat song (good music is key here, so choose your songs wisely). Let the mushrooms marinate in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
Cook the rice: While you wait for your mushrooms, cook the rice according to its package. I recommend using veggie stock instead of water for enhanced flavor. When finished, fluff with a fork and stir in black beans.
Prepare your veggies: While the rice cooks, slice your veggies into strips. In a bowl, pour the marinade over your veggies and let sit for a couple of minutes. No shame in keeping a box of tissues handy for those onion moments!
Cook the mushrooms and veggies: Heat a couple glugs of olive oil in a skillet. Once hot, add your veggies, stirring occasionally so no one burns to the bottom of the skillet. Cook until soft, at least 10 minutes, maybe more.
"Roast" the corn: Once the veggies are done, spoon them into a serving bowl and wipe out he pan (carefully!). Reheat the pan, add the olive oil, and once it's hot, add the frozen corn directly to the pan. Cook until the corn starts to brown and make popping noises (that's the technical term), stirring occasionally so nothing burns, about ten minutes.
Make the guac: Mash your avocados with a fork. Add lime juice, red onion, cilantro, garlic powder and salt. Try a spoonful and add additional salt and garlic powder according to your taste buds.
Serve: Start with a base of rice and beans, then add your roasted corn. Layer on the veggies and mushrooms. Top with a generous amount of guac. Say mmm.
To store: Store everything separately in an airtight container. Guac is tricky to store, but I usually find that putting it into a storage container, squeezing extra lime juice on top and then pressing cling wrap to the surface does the trick.