Recipe: Beef Fajitas with Guacamole

Enjoy the attention-grabbing sizzle of fajitas at home in less time than getting takeout—and just the way each diner likes them
Beef Fajitas with Guacamole

Photo: Colin Price for Chronicle Books

The sizzle of fajitas and their delicious aroma wafting by at a restaurant certainly grab attention. And it’s easy to whip up this sizzling meal at home in just a little over half an hour—and all in one pan.

In this beef fajitas recipe by cooking school teacher and cookbook author Carla Snyder, which is from her book, One Pan, Whole Family, a complete meal in one pan is ready to eat in less time than it might take to order and pick up take-out. The recipe works for kids’ tastes and includes optional ways to spice up the adult portions and adult beverage pairing suggestion, too. That way, one recipe has the potential to make everyone at the table happy.

So how are fajitas and tacos different? In fajitas, the sliced meat and veggies such as onion and peppers are grilled, while tacos usually have fresh lettuce, tomatoes and other raw vegetables on top.

Set the fajita meat and vegetables out on the table, and each person can assemble them in a tortilla so every flavorful bite is just the way they like them, whether they’re a fan of lots of vegetables, a little meat and lots of guacamole or someone who enjoys lots of cheese and meat, fewer vegetables, but still lots of guac.

Beef Fajitas with Guacamole

Makes 4 to 6 Servings | 35 minutes

1½ pounds London broil (also known as top round or flank steak)
2 garlic cloves
4 limes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano chile or green bell pepper
2 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 to 12 (6-inch) flour tortillas

For serving
crumbled queso fresco
sour cream
jarred or fresh salsa

1. On a large cutting board, cut the steak into thin strips and then into bite-size pieces. Transfer the steak to a zippered plastic bag.

2. Flip the cutting board over onto the clean side, mince the garlic and add half to the steak. Juice three of the limes and add 2/3 of the juice to the steak along with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, the cumin, ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mush the marinade around, squeeze out the extra air, zip the bag closed and let it rest on the counter while you prepare the other ingredients. (I like marinating the steak in the bag because the marinade really covers the surface of the meat, but if you’d rather just place it all in a casserole or shallow dish, that is fine as well.)

3. Thinly slice the onion and then mince about 2 tablespoons of it; place the minced onion in a medium bowl and the sliced onion in a larger bowl. Seed and thinly slice the bell pepper and poblano and transfer them to the bowl with the sliced onion.

4. Halve and pit the avocados, then, using a large spoon, scoop the avocado flesh into the bowl with the minced onion and add the cilantro. Mash it all together with the back of a fork. Add the remaining 1/3 lime juice, a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Taste and add more salt, pepper or lime juice if it needs it and set the guacamole aside.

5. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When the oil shimmers, add the sliced onion and peppers and the remaining half of the garlic. Sprinkle the vegetables with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and sauté them until they’re tender but still a little crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the veggies to a large platter.

6. Add the meat and marinade to the hot pan and sprinkle the meat with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sauté the meat, stirring occasionally, until medium-rare, about 2 minutes. Transfer the meat to the platter with the vegetables. There should be marinade remaining in the pan. Continue to cook for another minute until it reduces somewhat, and then pour it over the meat and vegetables.

7. Warm the tortillas on a plate, covered with microwave-safe plastic wrap, in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Slice the remaining lime into wedges.

8. Lay out the platter of meat and vegetables, warm tortillas, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, lime wedges and salsa on the table and make your own personal fajitas just the way you like them.

» Extra-Hungry Kids? Open a can of refried beans and warm them up in the microwave. Serve them with the fajita fixings and either load the beans onto your fajita or serve them alongside.

» Adult Taste Buds? Add pickled jalapeños, chopped lettuce and Mexican hot sauce to the spread.

» In the Glass: Fajitas and beer just go together. Drink your favorite. Mine is a Corona Light longneck with a slice of lime, but any brew will do. Serve the kids an Arnold Palmer: half iced tea, half lemonade.

Nutrition info Beef Fajitas with Guacamole (Per Serving): Calories 570; Fat 27g (Sat. 8g); Chol 100mg; Sodium 870mg; Carb 45g; Fiber 8g; Sugar 6g; Protein 41g

Recipe and photo from One Pan, Whole Family by Carla Snyder ©2018 used with permission of Chronicle Books. Photo by Colin Price.

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.