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Black Bean & Mushroom Fajitas – Vegan & Gluten-free

February 4, 2012

Black Bean & Mushroom Fajitas

The black beans in this recipe are an absolute staple of our diet. Though they started in these fajitas, they’re also great as part of a salad on a bed of lettuce or spinach, or even replacing the hubby’s nostalgic Heinz beans in a meal of beans & chips/fries – and eggs, if non-vegan. (Sidenote – with a bit of gadgetry, you can make crispy chips/fries with just a tablespoon of olive oil and some quality potatoes!)

The one difficulty in the UK is finding tinned chipotle peppers – I bring them over from the US in bulk! You can find them if you try. Taqueria in Notting Hill does a chipotle sauce but you’d need half the bottle to get the kick we like. A block south of the St John’s Wood tube station is a grocers that imports lots of foods – including chipotle peppers. Or, you can order them online!

With all the trimmings this is a great meal to make for friends, but I’ll add some simplifications for a normal weeknight dinner. The recipe below serves 4 with loads extra for tomorrow’s lunch!

Part 1: Black beans


  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 diced chipotle peppers, and a scoop of adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • ~350 g tomato passata (or 2 medium tins chopped tomatoes, or 6-8 medium fresh tomatoes)
  • 3 tins of black beans – Waitrose has Epicure brand
  • salt to taste (~2-3 tsp)
  • small handful of chopped coriander/cilantro


Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions, heating until they turn translucent. Add the garlic and stir, heating until both onions and garlic are golden brown and slightly caramelised. Add the chipotle peppers, a scoop of sauce, the ground spices and the tomato passata and heat for 5-10 minutes (or if using tinned or fresh tomatoes, cover and heat until the tomatoes are broken down into a slurry, stirring and adding water as needed to ensure they don’t burn). Add the black beans* and heat about 10-15 min until there is only a little excess water (it will thicken upon standing so don’t worry if there’s some!) Stir in the salt and sprinkle the coriander/cilantro on top.

If you have a garden, one way to get more oomph out of your coriander/cilantro is to plant some coriander seeds (the normal kind you get in spice jars is fine), let the coriander grow & flower then pick the fresh green seeds. Freeze them IMMEDIATELY (they spoil very quickly) and sprinkle some into your meals just at the end. It’s a flavour explosion.

(*Optional: add a handful of tinned or frozen corn with the beans – the great part is that black beans & corn have complimentary essential amino acids!)

Part 2: Fajita Vegetables

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • olive oil
  • 4 portabello mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 sweet peppers – red and/or orange, sliced
  • juice of another half a lime
  • salt to taste


If you have time to marinade the mushrooms, put the mushrooms in a zip top bag with a small glug of olive oil, the garlic and the lime juice. Zip the top and shake well. Leave them for at least half an hour, shaking a few times. Turn the oven on to medium heat. Lay the the mushrooms, upside down, on an oven tray and heat around 5 min. Meanwhile heat some oil in a skillet on the range – I use either a cast-iron griddle or a 2″ deep skillet. Add the onions and turn up the heat to get some nice colour on them. Add the peppers, pressing down occasionally to make the skin blister and pop.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven and slice them. Mix with the onions and peppers on the skillet and sprinkle with lime and salt.

Part 3: Guacamole

For a weeknight meal, cut an avocado in half, score into cubes, scoop out and serve alongside fresh lime and coriander/cilantro. If you make it as guacamole, it doubles as a pre-dinner dip.

Ingredients: (for a nice big bowl for dip and fajita filling)

  • 3 ripe avocados, scored & scooped out of the shell
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • small handful of cilantro/coriander, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced finely, and/or  1/2 tsp chili powder (cayenne pepper)
  • juice of 1 lime (or more)
  • salt to taste
  • optional: 1/4 cup diced tomato


Crush the avocado with a fork. Mix in the remainder of ingredients, but staying on the conservative side of chili, lime and salt. Tweak by adding more salt, lime & spice to taste.

Part 4: Pico de Gallo (fresh tomato salsa)

This is another optional one. For a weeknight, just dice up a fresh tomato. For guests, this doubles as a dip.


  • 5 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small sweet pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (optional: this is a breath hazard and can be omitted!)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & minced finely and/or 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • juice of 1/2 lime (more if needed)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • small handful of chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup canned corn, optional


Mix all ingredients. If desired, take 1/2 of the mixture and blitz in a food processor (I prefer it fresh, pico de gallo style). Tweak salt, chili & lime as needed.

Part 5: Assembly


  • 1 package corn tortillas (gluten-free as needed)
  • bowl of lime wedges, diced fresh jalapenos and coriander for guests to add as desired (I’m a bit of a lime fiend!)

Heat the tortillas in the oven or on a skillet, making sure to remove them before they get crispy. Place the tortilla in the center of a plate. Add a scoop each of black beans, fajita vegetables, guacamole and salsa. Be careful not to over-fill, but if you do, well, it’s part of the fun. 😉  Fold the bottom of the tortilla upwards, fold the sides inwards and eat from the top!

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