As a meat-eater, one of my favourite Saturday night dishes were fajitas. My mum would lay platters of tortillas, chicken, and fillings on the table, and leave us to make an almighty mess. In trying to re-capture these nostalgic dinners of my youth, I had a little look round for chicken alternatives, and found my solution in BBC GoodFood’s chickpea variety.
For me, the fajita was never really about the meat: it was about finding that ideal balance of coolness and heat. Tempering the salsa with soured cream and guacamole is a fine art, and enhanced by the addition of fresh coriander. I challenge any carnivore to give these a try, and ascertain just how far the chicken really does make the fajita.
To serve two:
- 400g can chickpeas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- smoked paprika (or normal)
- two tomatoes
- a small red onion
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- an avocado
- two limes
- a small pot of soured cream
- 2 tsp harissa
- 4 corn tortillas
Start by preheating the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, or heating the griddle pan. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, pat dry with kitchen paper, and drizzle them in olive oil. Add a dash of paprika and salt, stir well to coat, and roast for twenty to twenty-five minutes. Halfway through, take the tray out and give it a shake to turn the chickpeas over.
Get cracking with the other fajita fillings. Finely slice the red onion and put in a bowl with the diced tomatoes; add the red wine vinegar, mix, and leave to one side to marinate.
For the guacamole, peel and de-stone the avocado and place into another bowl. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime with plenty of salt and pepper, and mash with a fork to your preferred consistency. As I prefer my guac with a kick, I added a little chopped red chilli.
Add the harissa to the yoghurt and stir together. Put the tortillas in the oven to get a little crispy, or griddle them briefly – be careful not to toast them, as they’ll be difficult to eat. Arrange everything on the table, wait for nobody, and dig in.