Roasted Chickpea Fajitas and the Attack of the Spacey Cook

My kitchen karma has been off lately. Ever since returning to school for the semester, I’ve been downright destructive in my cooking practices, and it really is unlike me. A kitchen may look like a bomb has gone off when I finish making some recipes, but that’s only a superficial mess – one that a good sponge and some elbow grease can fix right up. No, in the past two weeks I have melted a spatula handle, gotten over-heated oil potentially permanently smoked into a frying pan, caused the Teflon coating of a soup pot to literally lift up off of the bottom, and am even now, as we speak, soaking yet another pan in the hopes that just 24 hours more of warm water will coax a thin speckling of burnt chicken stock and bean debris off the bottom of it; I’ve ruined two batches of beans trying to cook them, and turned a soup into a pasta sauce by letting it cook down too long. My kitchen is one step away from being a slapstick comedy routine, and I’m not really sure what’s going on.

Even these delicious vegetarian fajitas brought out the novice in me. Luckily, I didn’t ruin them, but it’s almost amazing that I didn’t. Last Tuesday night I intended to have a chickpea soup, but that’s when the aforementioned Teflon fiasco occurred, and I decided “elevated risk of cancer” was not going to be on the menu that night. I had to chuck the chickpeas that I had been cooking and find something else. I spotted the extra chickpeas I had soaked all day but hadn’t cooked – the ones meant for this meal later on in the week – and pounced. In my relief to find a solution to my problem, it never even occurred to me that I had not yet cooked them. I know, there are no words. Let’s just move on at that. Like I said, something’s definitely off at Floptimism right now.

The good news is that they turned out to be totally edible – more than that, they were fantastic! The fajitas had this creamy-crunchy dynamic to them that was awesome – you don’t want to bite into a wrap made of mush, right? And they were smoky hot, not run-for-the-nearest-fire-hydrant hot, which worked well with the chickpeas. The cilantro held its own as a flavoring, which was definitely a welcome addition. The only things I’d do differently would be to serve lime wedges and avocado as additional toppings – I think the lime flavor could have been stronger, and I love any excuse to add a little avocado to my world. But really, this recipe’s a great one. In addition to the toppings that I have listed below, you could definitely add some cheese, salsa, or even other vegetables, so don’t feel tied down by what I used or suggest. As a side note, I had leftover filling that tasted amazing the next day scooped up with lime tortilla chips. I may have enjoyed that even more than the filling wrapped up in a tortilla!

Past Fajita Recipes: Easy Chicken Fajitas

Roasted Chickpea Fajitas, adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Yield: 6-8 servings

The Ingredients
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon chili powder, divided
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, divided
3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
2 tablespoons water
1 ¼ cups dried chickpeas, cooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bell peppers, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
⅓ cup chopped cilantro

serving suggestions:
warm whole grain tortillas1
diced tomatoes (or salsa)
sliced avocado
chopped spinach
plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
lime wedges

The Method
Start by roasting the chickpeas. For the full recipe, preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit; for a single serving, you can use the toaster oven set at 350°, no preheating necessary. Either way, line a baking sheet with foil (optional) and coat with nonstick spray. Whisk together 2 teaspoons chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and the water in a medium mixing bowl. Toss in the chickpeas until all of the beans are nicely coated with the spice mixture. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway and removing when the chickpeas have become a little crispy.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet and add the onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring once in a while but not frequently.

While the vegetables are sautéing, mix the remaining chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and lime juice in a small bowl. Add the spice mixture to the pan and allow the entire mixture to cook about 5 minutes more so that the vegetables are tender. Finally, stir in the finished chickpeas and fresh cilantro and remove from the heat.

Divide the filling evenly amongst the tortillas and serve with desired toppings. Make your own tortilla, roll it up, and enjoy immediately!

1If you’re able to use the toaster oven to roast the chickpeas, just rest the wrap on top of the appliance to keep it warm. If you’re using the oven, you can wrap the tortillas in foil and place them in the oven for the last 5 or so minutes of the chickpeas’ roasting time, then turn off the oven when you remove the chickpeas and leave the wraps in until you’re ready to assemble and serve.


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