Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beer-Marinated Seitan Fajitas

The Fajitas and Burritos section of this cookbook (a subset of the Sandwiches, Pizza, and More chapter) contains just seven recipes. The "Beer-Marinated Seitan Fajitas" (page 125) makes the sixth recipe I've tried, and brings me close to wrapping up another category. Being more than a third of the way through the 1000 recipes, I find this starting to happen more frequently! The biggest challenge here is finding a tortilla that adheres to the McDougall guidelines. As I've mentioned before, if you can find a whole grain tortilla, it usually contains oil. If you find a fat free tortilla (easier), it is almost certainly made from white flour. This time around I opted for the Food For Life brand Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain tortillas. With no added oils (made from sesame seeds and sprouted soybeans barley, millet, lentils, spelt, and sea salt), these are in my opinion the healthiest tortillas around. Not everyone appreciates their hearty texture, and they certainly don't roll up as easy as a more traditional tortilla, but I find the flavor more than compensates for these differences. To make these fajitas, you start by marinating seitan in a mixture of beer, onion, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and crushed red pepper. Begin early, as you need to marinate the seitan at least 4 hours. The seitan and marinade is sautéed in a skillet, piled into warmed tortillas, and topped with avocado and salsa. Very tasty as is, but if you want additional filling add some shredded lettuce per the recipe suggestion.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the seitan. Use the marinade as a sautéing/simmering liquid, and don't be concerned about browning the seitan. 


  1. Marinating with beer sounds interesting! I've never tried that yet. Do you need a lot of beer for that? Did the seitan taste like beer in the end?
    Too bad that there's no way getting oil-free OR whole grain tortillas around here. There's usually a way to eat the filling with something else, but it'd sure be convenient to have a tortilla sometimes.

    1. Hi Ines! The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of beer, so not too much. In the end just a hint of the beer flavor lingers in the fajitas. The longer you marinate the seitan, the stronger the flavor will be. Where do you live, Ines? I know what it's like not being able to find certain ingredients. My husband and I travel around the USA in our 5th wheel trailer, and we find it hard to find all the foods we normally cook with in some places.

    2. Hi Becky, thanks for the quick answer! I live in Switzerland. It's pretty small and not nearly as diverse (culturally) as the US.
      Wow, living and cooking on the road must be quite a challenge as well. But it sounds really cool!

  2. Hi Becky! I left a comment and for some reason it didn't come through!

    I believe what I said was that you're making me want to go out and buy this cookbook right now. I checked it out of the library a while ago and paged through it, and found some good ideas. It's quite a tome to have in the RV! I had to make some hard decisions about which cookbooks to bring along with us when we began fulltiming :)

    Regarding the tortilla dilemma, I've been making homemade tortillas lately as the ones we can purchase in regular grocery stores are pretty gross imo. Since we've stopped eating cheese/oil I find I can taste the tortillas a lot more. I've been making a lot of corn tortillas (yummy) and sometimes I make whole wheat flatbreads, both as tortillas and for Indian meals. Do you ever make your own tortillas? We don't have room for yet another thing in the RV kitchen so no tortilla press for us, we just press them underneath the small Le Creuset pot!

    1. Hi Danielle! Thanks for visiting my blog, and leaving a comment, I appreciate hearing from you! All comments come to me first via email and after I read them, I can publish them or not, so that might have been why there was a small delay in your comment coming through. (Sometimes I get some spam, so that's why I elect to screen my comments before publishing.)

      I hear what you are saying about the size of this book, and carrying it around in an RV. When we moved into our 5th wheel, I had to cut my cookbook collection in half, from about 70 books to 30. We replaced one of the recliners with a small bookshelf to house my most beloved cookbooks that I couldn't part with. Since then, I've had to fight the urge to grow this collection, but a few books (like this one) have snuck in here and there! 

      Good idea on making your own tortillas! I've made them from scratch a few times, but haven't incorporated this into a regular routine, although I should, based on the poor choices we have in the markets. So far I've only tried making flour tortillas, not corn, and I also just used my hands as opposed to a tortilla press. Are corn tortillas hard to make? They seem the trickiest to me. Way to get creative, using the Le Crueset Pot for a press! My husband's criteria for adding anything to our 5th wheel home is that it has to have at least two functions, lol!

      It's amazing what I've managed to cram into our small kitchen, but that's another whole story I'll have to share sometime. I'd love to hear your story on this subject as well!

      Take Care,

    2. Corn tortillas are so easy to make! All you need is a bag of masa harina, and some water! I've found that no matter what the directions say, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes after mixing and the tortillas will be much better for it.

      Because of the change in climates as we travel around, I have to use up to 1/3 cup more/less water. I add enough to make the dough feel kind of like play-doh, without any crumbling when I squeeze a bit in my fist. Then, let it rest, roll into balls about the size of golf balls, then press between 2 pieces of waxed paper (with the le Creuset pot!). I use a preheated, unoiled cast iron skillet to cook them, about 50 seconds per side on medium heat on a propane stove. Keep them warm underneath a towel so they stay pliable. They are delicious!

      p.s. usually my husband does the pressing of the tortillas while I am cooking them. It makes it a lot easier! :)

    3. Hey Danielle, thanks for the instructions and tips for making corn tortillas, you do make it sound super easy! I'm going to have to give this a try in the very near future! :-)

    4. Danielle, is there anything one could substitute masa harina with? I couldn't find it anywhere when I looked last week, but I'd like to give corn tortillas a try.

    5. Hi! You know, unfortunately masa harina is a specialty product, it's corn treated with lime. Everything I've read about making corn tortillas agrees that there's nothing that can substitute for it :-(

      Usually when I'm in a part of the country where I can't get masa harina I will either make flour tortillas or corn cakes made with cornmeal and corn kernels. I know it's not the same, though!