Eating for Life

Eating for Life | Fill up on meat-free Guaca-Bella Fajitas

Portobello mushrooms are the perfect stand-in for skirt steak.

Updated: 2012-09-19T00:05:12Z

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA

The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: This column originally ran in 2009.

Health experts have long encouraged Americans to moderate their meat consumption to reduce the amount of saturated fats in their diet. But now a growing number of eco-conscious carnivores are opting for vegetarian meals at least once a week.

Can’t seem to fill up on salad?

Skip the skirt steak and try portobello mushrooms instead. With an earthy flavor and a dense, meaty texture, they are the perfect vegetarian stand-in for meat. Another plus: The portobello holds up quite well on the grill.

The Star’s Guaca-Bella Fajitas are a fiesta of grilled mushrooms and peppers topped with a homemade avocado mash that is low in calories yet loaded with heart-healthy fats. The veggies are rolled in your choice of low-fat or whole-wheat flour tortilla and topped with low-fat or no-fat shredded cheese.

Now that dinner is a veggie wrap, the planet thanks you.

• Cooking tips: Trim and discard the woody stems of these mushrooms. To remove the gills, scrape them away using the tip of a spoon.

You can grill vegetables in a vegetable grill pan over direct, high heat, cooking until done as desired.

Guaca-Bella Fajitas

Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 large portobello mushrooms, about 16 ounces

1 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

1 large green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

Salt and pepper

1 avocado

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

4 (8-inch) low-fat or whole-wheat flour tortillas, warmed

4 teaspoons low-fat or nonfat shredded cheddar cheese

4 teaspoons salsa

Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray; add oil and heat over medium high heat until hot.

Remove gills from mushrooms and slice 1/2-inch thick. Place mushrooms, peppers and onion in skillet. Sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, about 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked as desired.

Peel, pit and dice avocado. Place avocado in a bowl with flat bottom and use a fork to mash. Add lemon juice and combine; set aside.

Remove cooked vegetables from heat. Add garlic and lime juice; stir to combine.

Spread 1 tortilla with 1/4 of the avocado mixture. Spoon about 1 cup vegetable mixture down center. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cheese and 1 teaspoon salsa. Roll to serve.

Per serving (1 cup vegetable mixture and 1 tortilla): 316 calories (34 percent from fat), 12 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), trace cholesterol, 43 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 269 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss. To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, The Star’s food editor and restaurant critic, call 816-234-4347, send email to jsilva@kcstar.com or follow her on Facebook.

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