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

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

09/18/2012 7:05 PM

05/16/2014 7:43 PM

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.

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