Soy Curl Fajitas

Everyone’s favorite sizzling Tex-Mex dinner gets a vegan update with the use of soy curls in this remake of the classic dish people love to hear as much as they love to eat! Marinated and spiced soy curls are sauteed to meaty perfection with red and green peppers, onions and served with pico, guac, and ALL the fixin’s!


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If ASMR were a food, it would have to be fajitas. 

I like to believe we all had the same introduction to fajitas: That sizzle called to you from all the way across the room growing louder as it got closer. And you said something eloquent like “WHAT IS THAT SIZZLING NOISE?!” really loud. 

Then, you smelled the wafting onions and peppers as the server went past and you had to grab your seat to keep yourself from following. And that’s when you met your new favorite use for tortillas.

In this recipe, we use plump pieces of marinated soy curls help veganize this classic dish of seared chicken and sauteed bell peppers and onions. Serve it with ALL the sides and fixin’s for, what I feel, is THE perfect meal.

In case you can’t tell. I really love vegan fajitas! And if you feel the same way I do, then you are in the right place. Look out Taco Tuesday, Fajita Friday is coming for ya!

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Why You’ll Love Vegan Soy Curl Fajitas:

  • They are an easy dinner to make with a handful of simple ingredients.
  • It’s the perfect dinner for the whole family, or just for yourself with leftovers.
  • The sides and toppings are completely customizable to suit your tastes.
  • They have so much flavor and are just as delicious as you remember!

Ingredients for Vegan Chicken Fajitas

To make the base of these delicious vegan fajitas, you’ll need:

  • Vegan chicken bouillon powder – We used our homemade vegan bouillon powder which adds the perfect chicken flavor to the soy curls!
  • Taco seasoning – We used a taco seasoning packet. Check the ingredients to make sure the brand you’re buying is vegan. Some varieties contain dairy.
  • Soy curls – These are our favorite vegan chicken substitute. They come dehydrated and are a great plant-based protein that can be flavored to mimic a variety of meat dishes.
  • Lime – This helps balance the flavors with its light citrusy acidity.
  • Agave – Also helps balance the spicy and plays off the citrus
  • Red and green bell pepper
  • Yellow or white onion
  • Olive oil
  • Small flour tortillas – Warmed, so they’re a bit more pliable

We’ve also listed many optional toppings for these vegan fajitas in the “How to Serve” section below!

Close up shot of cooked soy curls for vegan chicken fajitas sprinkled with green herbs

How to Cut Onions and Bell Peppers for Fajitas

Onions and peppers should be cut into nice long strips for fajita veggies. I like them almost the length of the tortilla, but some people like them a little shorter. Here I’ll offer some of my best tips to achieve the perfect slices.

To Cut Onions for Fajitas:

  1. Using a large knife, cut your onion lengthwise from bottom to top. The bottom is the “hairy” part where the roots were, and the top is the part that comes to a point, where the stalk was cut.
  2. Lay the flat side on the counter and cut the bottom off each half. Leave the tops intact: you use them later for finger safety.
  3. Peel the inedible outer skin layers and place the onions flat side down on the cutting board again.
  4. Take one half and hold the sides firmly with your pinky and thumb while placing your fingers talon-style on the top, fingertips bent back slightly. This will keep them from being exposed to the knife’s blade. Move your fingers back slowly as you slice, keeping the tips bent back slightly.
  5. Slice 1/4 inch strips, pressing the knife down gently as you slice forward.
  6. Repeat with the other half of the onion.

To Cut Bell Peppers for Fajitas:

You can cut the top of the pepper off just below the bottom of the green stem. Alternatively, you can also push the stem (pedicel) through the top and pull the chambers of the pepper apart. Once you have the interior of your pepper exposed…

  1. Slice off the white capsaicin membrane and remove the seeds. Toss, use for composting, or save the seeds to plant later.
  2. Keep the exterior side down and slice into the soft internal part. This will help prevent knife slippage on the harder, “waxy” exterior.
  3. Keep your fingertips back and use them with slight pressure to hold the pepper in place.
  4. Slice 1/4 inch strips, pressing the knife down gently as you slice forward. Slide your fingers back slowly as you cut
  5. Slice lengthwise top to bottom for longer strips. Or cut your peppers crosswise for shorter strips.
  6. Repeat with the other half of the pepper.

Substitution Options

If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a varied degree of difference in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you! 

For the bouillon powder: Sub half as much bouillon paste or use 2-3 bouillon cubes.

For the red / green peppers: You can use all green or red bell pepper. You can even use orange or yellow bell peppers for a great addition of color. You can also use squash, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli…yes, broccoli!

For the lime: You can swap out jarred lime juice in a 1:1 ratio for fresh lime juice. 1 lime usually yields 2 Tablespoons of juice

For the agave: Use an equal amount of coconut sugar or light brown sugar instead. You could also skip it entirely.

For the yellow/white onion: You can use red onion for a slightly mellower flavor than white or yellow onion. Note that red onions sometimes bleed their color into the the other ingredients.

For the oil: Feel free to omit the oil when sauteeing the onions and peppers. You can use a little water to help deglaze the pan and keep them from sticking. You can also use other oils like canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, or refined coconut oil.

For the flour tortillas: Fajitas are most often served with soft, warm tortillas. You can use corn tortillas or GF tortillas for a gluten-free option. You can even skip the tortillas and opt for a lettuce wrap!

Soy Curl Substitute:

Outside the US, you can find a product similar to Butler soy curls labeled “TVP chunks” or “TVP strips”. They’re slightly different in texture, but either will work for this recipe!

Overhead shot of a cast iron pan filled with vegan fajita fillings: soy curls, peppers and onions, and lime wedges

How to Make Fajitas on the Stove

I often use a cast aluminum stovetop cover from Nordic Ware that has a grill side and a flat side. I LOVE using the flat side for making these fajitas. You can also just use a large cast iron frying pan or even a wok to achieve the same effect.

But this 2-burner flattop holds a lot more food in a single layer and thus cooks it more evenly and quickly. Because I realize not everyone has this piece of kitchen equipment, I wrote the directions using a regular cast iron skillet or saute pan.

Step 1: Marinate the soy curl chicken.

Add the dry soy curls to a large bowl or Tupperware container. Get in there and use your hands to break the larger pieces into bite-sized pieces. Keep in mind they will grow in size as they rehydrate. 

Next, you want to pour the hot water into a separate small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk in the bouillon powder, taco seasoning, lime juice and agave until well-incorporated. 

Pour this mixture over the soy curls, cover, and set them aside for at least 30 minutes while they rehydrate and absorb all that liquid and flavor.

Step 2: Cook the onions and peppers.

While your soy curls marinate, slice your onions and peppers according to the above directions. Heat your oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan or wok, then add the peppers and onions to the hot cast iron pan

Saute your fajita vegetables for about 13-15 minutes until they are soft and you have achieved a slight char. Remove and set aside or keep warm on a sheet pan in the oven on low heat.

Step 3: Cook the soy curls.

In the same pan you fried the peppers, add the marinated soy curls. Turn the heat to medium and let the mixture saute for 13-16 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. You want the liquid to be evaporated leaving a thick flavorful glaze for your taco meat. 

Then, add the pepper and onions back into the hot pan for a moment to reheat. 

Step 4: Serve with warm tortillas!

Before serving, warm your tortillas on a baking sheet for about 2-3 minutes in a 200°F oven.

Finally, remove the fajitas from the stove and adjust the seasonings to your taste.

See our “How to Serve” and “What to Serve with” sections below for ideas!

Close up photo of a round black cast iron pan filled with seared soy curls, red and green peppers and onions, and lime wedges

How to Serve Fajitas

So many people ask “How do you eat fajitas”? Everyone makes their own fajitas their own way. And while there’s no set, defined way, I thought I’d take a moment to offer some of my years of expertise and some of my early fajita failings. If this is your first time with fajitas, perhaps my mistakes can help you have a more enjoyable, less messy experience.

  1. Take your warm tortilla and spread a thin schmear of refried beans on the whole thing. This will help hold the rest of the ingredients together inside.
  2. Add your guac, vegan cheese and dairy-free sour cream. A lot of people make the mistake of just plopping these on top at the end. Placing them in now allows you to create a more even flavor throughout. And you don’t end up with mashed avocado in your nose.
  3. If you like rice or quinoa in your fajita, now is the time to add it. It will adhere to the other ingredients and stay in place better.
  4. Now add the peppers, onions, and vegan meats. Sprinkle on the pico, salsas, and maybe a little more dairy-free cheese.
  5. Try not to overstuff the tortilla with all the delicious additions. If you’re like me, you’ll fail every time, but at least try not to overstuff it.
  6. Pinch the tortilla end farthest from your mouth as you eat to keep things from falling out the end.
  7. Enjoy!

What to Serve with Fajitas

This is where the fajita fun really begins! There are so many great options for sides and tasty toppings you can serve with fajitas! The only limit is your imagination! Your favorite toppings may not be listed, so we’d love to hear what they are in the comment section!

  • Refried beans
  • Black beans or pinto beans
  • Mexican or Spanish rice. No, they are not the same thing.
  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Shredded vegan cheddar or jack cheese
  • Homemade guacamole and/or avocado slices
  • Pico de gallo or salsa. No, they are not the same thing.
  • Roasted corn or corn salsa
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Favorite hot sauce
  • Lime wedges – for a fresh squeeze of lime
  • Fresh cilantro
  • A cold margarita to wash it all down

How to Store Vegetarian Chicken Fajitas

In the Fridge – The cooked soy curls and the onions and peppers will last about a week in the refrigerator when stored properly in a sealed air tight container..

In the Freezer – I prefer to store the soy curl chicken and peppers and onions separately when freezing them. Make sure they’re both completely cool and store in a freezer safe bag or an airtight container. I like to place them in our Souper Cubes using alternating compartments for the soy chicken and the veg creating little fajita “kits”. That way we can just take what we need out of the freezer without having to defrost everything.

How to Reheat Fajitas

From the Fridge – Reheat your vegan fajita meat and vegetables in the microwave on medium-high heat (75-80% power) for 3-4 minutes. Stir and heat again on high for 2 minutes. Times vary depending on microwave power.

From the Freezer – Reheat your vegan fajita meat and vegetables in the microwave at 50% power for 6-7 minutes until defrosted. Stir and heat again on high for 2 minutes. Times vary depending on microwave power.

Close up overhead shot of a cast iron pan filled with soy curls, peppers and onions, and lime wedges

Vegan Fajitas – FAQ

What are vegan fajitas made of?

We love to use soy curls for our vegan fajitas. You can also use any unbreaded vegan chicken alternative. Gardein and Daring Foods both make great chicken alternatives that are great in fajitas. Vegan steak pieces are also a great option for fajitas.

What can you put in fajitas instead of peppers?

You can use squash, zucchini, oyster or cremini mushrooms and more instead of peppers in your fajitas.

Do you put toppings on fajitas?

You can, but you’re not obligated to. Some people just like the tortillas stuffed with the vegan meat, onions, and peppers. But I love the flavor symphony created by adding refried beans, shredded vegan cheese, pico, guac, vegan sour cream, and a little hot sauce.

What can I put in fajitas instead of chicken?

Traditionally, steak was used in the first fajitas. So you can use a good vegan steak alternative if you like. Some really like a combo of the two. You can also skip the “meats” altogether and just enjoy some vegetable fajitas. (I like to add zucchini or squash and poblano peppers for my veggie fajitas.)

Are fajitas healthy?

I would consider fajitas a healthy meal. But of course, “compared to what?” is what I often ask. The soy curls add protein. The other ingredients are filled with antioxidants, folate, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and good fats – if adding guacamole or avocado slices. And our vegan fajitas are also 100% cholesterol free. So yes, I’d say that’s healthy.

Can you use taco seasoning for fajitas?

Absolutely! Taco seasoning is just slightly more spicy than fajita seasoning because it uses more chili powder and less cumin than its counterpart.

You May Also Like These Recipes:

I hope this recipe helps your suppertime sizzle. I think it’s safe to say, this one’s a keeper in the recipe rotation.

When you try this vegan fajitas recipe, don’t forget to leave a rating and review on the recipe card below! This helps more people find our recipes, and we love hearing about your cooking experience.

Until next time, my fajita loving friend. Enjoy!

Overhead close up photo of a deep cast iron pan filled with vegan chicken, peppers and onions, and limes for fajitas

Vegan Chicken Fajitas

Terrence Roche
Everyone's favorite sizzling Tex-Mex dinner gets a vegan update with the use of soy curls in this remake of the classic dish people love to hear as much as they love to eat! Marinated and spiced soy curls are sauteed to meaty perfection with red and green peppers, onions and served with pico, guac, and ALL the fixin's!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Calories 164 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 oz. dry soy curls
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 2 Tbsp vegan chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 Tbsp taco or fajita seasoning mix
  • 2 Tbsp lime juiced
  • 1/2 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • Small flour tortillas – warmed
  • See Notes for optional toppings and sides

Instructions
 

  • Marinate the soy curls: Add the dry soy curls to a large bowl or tupperware container and use your hands to break them into bite-sized pieces. Keep in mind they will grow in size as they rehydrate. Pour the hot water into a separate bowl or large measuring cup. Whisk in the bouillon powder, taco seasoning, lime juice and agave until well-incorporated. Pour this over the soy curls, cover, and set it aside for at least 30 minutes.
  • Cook the onions and peppers. In the meantime, slice your onions and peppers. Heat your oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan or wok, then add the peppers and onions. Saute your vegetables for about 13-15 minutes until they are soft and you have achieved a slight char. Remove and set aside.
  • Cook the soy curls: In the same pan you fried the peppers, add the marinated soy curls. Turn the heat to medium and let the mixture saute for 13-16 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. You want the liquid to be evaporated leaving a thick flavorful glaze for your taco meat. 
  • Warm your tortillas: Warm your tortillas for about 2-3 minutes in a 200°F oven.
  • Finish and serve: Remove from heat and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Serve hot with small flour tortillas, refried beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and vegan sour cream.
  • Store: Leftovers will last up to a week in the fridge or 10 weeks in the freezer. Enjoy!

Notes

Some great sides and toppings for your fajitas can include, but aren’t limited to
  • Refried beans
  • Mexican or Spanish rice. No, they are not the same thing.
  • Cilantro-Lime Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Shredded vegan cheddar or jack cheese
  • Guacamole and/or avocado slices
  • Pico de gallo or salsa. No, they are not the same thing.
  • Roasted corn or corn salsa
  • Shredded spiced carrots
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Favorite hot sauce
  • Cold margarita to wash it all down

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 164kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 4gFat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gSodium: 423mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6g
Keyword soy curl fajitas, soy curls fajitas, vegan chicken fajitas, vegan fajita recipe, vegan fajitas, vegan soy curl fajitas, vegetarian chicken fajitas
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