Vegan Fajita Salad is made with tempeh and peppers and has all the flavors of fajitas all in one tasty bowl. It's a great light lunch or dinner for warm spring day. This easy to make recipe is vegan with a gluten-free option.
Years ago, I had just started a new job as an art director for a paper company and I was invited to a manager’s meeting at a Tex-Mex restaurant. There were a few vegan friendly items on the menu, and I choose the vegetarian fajitas, hold the cheese and sour cream. I ordered first, and I noticed that everyone else ordered salads, but I didn’t think too much of it. Until the food arrived.
While everyone else was delivered a bowl full of salad, I was brought do-it-yourself meal consisting of a sizzling platter full of vegetables, a tortilla warmer full of hot tortillas, a plate with guacamole and lettuce, bowls full of rice and beans, and a little dish of salsa. Talk about drawing attention to myself! My order took was spread out over about half of the table. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed my meal more than everyone else did theirs. No doubt by the end of lunch, they were wishing they had ordered fajitas, too.
With that lunch meeting in mind, I’ve combined fajitas and a salad to create a Tempeh Fajita Salad. It has spicy tempeh, cooked veggies, avocado, and tortillas, but it’s served in a bowl along with lettuce and tomato.
What are Fajitas?
I think of fajitas being somewhere between a taco and a burrito. They originated as Tex-Mex meal consisting of grilled steak served in a tortilla. Actually, the word “fajita” used to refer to the strips of meat rather than the meal, with “faja” meaning “strip”.
It was in the 90s that restaurants started adding fajitas to their menus. They are now served with different types of filling, including vegetables. The filling is usually cooked with peppers and onions, and the tortillas can be topped with all manner of condiments, such as guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented soybean cake that originated in Indonesia. Because it’s fermented, it can have discolored spots that almost look moldy. It’s perfectly safe to eat, though. It can usually be found in the same area of the grocery store as tofu, which is usually the produce are or the refrigerated section.
If you find that tempeh is a little too much of a fermented flavor for your tastes, you can either steam in over hot water for a few minutes, or you can simmer it in a bath of vegetable stock for about half an hour.
How to Make Fajita Salad
This recipe is really easy to make!
- First you mix together the vegetable stock and spices and use it to marinate the tempeh for about an hour.
- Next you heat a teaspoon of the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Place the tempeh and the remaining marinade in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until the tempeh has browned on each side. You remove the tempeh from the pan and place it in a large bowl
- Now you add another teaspoon of the oil and the onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to brown.
- Then you add the bell pepper to the pan and continue to cook until it softens. Add the vegetables to the same bowl as the tempeh.
- Next you mix together the dressing ingredients together and pour it over the tempeh and vegetables. You toss it together gently.
- To assemble your salad, you place the lettuce two bowls and then top it with the tempeh and vegetables. Then you add the tomatoes and avocado. Serve your salad with tortillas and hot sauce, if you're using it.
How to Customize Your Fajita Salad
It's easy to make this recipe your own!
- If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure your tempeh is gluten-free and use corn tortillas.
- Instead of tempeh, you can use seitan, portobello mushrooms, or Soy Curls.
- You can add more vegetables to your salad, including sliced cabbage, or shredded onions.
- If you like your fajitas on the spicy side, serve your salads with salsa or hot sauce.
Tempeh Fajita Salad
- ¼ cup vegetable stock
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch cayenne pepper optional
- 1 8-ounce package tempeh sliced into thin strips
- 4 teaspoons olive oil divided
- 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
- 3 bell peppers seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon agave
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 large head romaine shredded or thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes sliced
- 4 corn tortillas warmed
- 1 medium-sized avocado sliced
- hot sauce optional, for serving
- In a small bowl, mix the spices in with the vegetable stock. Place the tempeh in a shallow baking dish or pan, and pour the mixture over it. Gently toss to coat. Let marinate for two hours or so.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the tempeh strips and any remaining marinade and for about 10 minutes, flipping the pieces occasionally to brown each side. If the tempeh sticks, add a little more stock or a bit of water. When the tempeh had browned a little on each side, remove from the heat and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Add the onion pan. Cook for about five minutes, until fragrant and translucent.
- Add the peppers and cook until slightly softened, about another 5 minutes. If they stick, add a little stock or water.
- Remove the vegetables from heat and add them to the bowl with the tempeh.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil with the agave, lime juice, and cilantro. Pour the mixture over the tempeh and vegetable mixture, gently tossing to coat.
- To serve, place the lettuce in a bowl with the tempeh vegetable mixture. Top with the tomatoes. Serve with tortillas, avocado, and hot sauce, if using.
More Salad Recipes You Might Enjoy Include:
- Reuben Salad
- Southwest Salad from Vegan Yack Attack’s Plant-Based Meal Prep! by Jackie Sobon
- BLT Salad
- Roasted Ratatouille Salad
More Tempeh Recipes You Might Enjoy Include:
- Broccoli and Tempeh with Spicy Peanut Sauce
- Buffalo Tempeh Salad
- Apple Pecan Tempeh Salad
- Lettuce Wraps