Chicken Fajitas with Mango Salsa

Technicolor never tasted so good.

Since starting a Supportive Low-Carb Diet (as I call it), coming up with new and satisfying meals has been pretty difficult for me. Gone are the days of whimsically throwing together an impressive pasta meal or salad. Now I must learn to omit any bread, pasta, or grain from two out of three of the meals I make. Well, for the most part. When I start to get the carb grumps believe me, I reach for the nearest bag of chips. Last week I even drove to Safeway just to buy a cheese croissant.

And that brings me to the meal I made during one of those grumpier, carb-less nights when I’d all but had it up to here with thinking of diet-friendly foods to put together. So I bartered with my boyfriend and he came up with a compromise: a mostly low carb meal of chicken fajitas with mango salsa. One of our easy favourites. They are not too expensive ingredient-wise, and if you have some help in the kitchen, putting this elaborate looking meal together in under 45 minutes is a snap.

Chicken Fajitas

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Ingredients
1 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin strips
1-2 red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
4-6 large tortilla wraps
Sour cream
Lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
Shredded cheddar cheese

For the marinade:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. chili garlic sauce (found in all supermarkets)
Pinch of cayenne
Salt & pepper

For the salsa:
Proportions are flexible; adjust to your preference.
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
1 medium ripe mango, finely diced
2 tbsp. red onion, finely diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced/pressed
1/2 serrano pepper, minced (don’t add the seeds if you don’t like it spicy)
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
Lime juice, to taste (about half a lime)
Salt & pepper to taste

For the guacamole:
Using red onion lends itself to a mild, yet savoury quality in the guacamole. These, too, are rough measurements; adjust as you see fit.
2 large ripe avocados, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced/pressed
1 tbsp. red onion, finely minced
1/4 tomato, diced
2 tbsp. cilantro
1 lime, juiced
Tiny dash smoked or regular paprika*  (not essential, but adds depth)
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a glass casserole dish or non-reactive bowl, combine marinade ingredients and set aside. Clean and trim chicken breasts, then slice them into 1/2-inch strips and combine with the marinade. Cover the chicken and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. If you’re really pressed for time, perforate the chicken by stabbing it with a fork so the marinade permeates the meat.
  2. Meanwhile, combine salsa ingredients in a bowl and let sit while chicken is marinating. This will allow the flavours to marry and the garlic will come through nicely.
  3. In another bowl, combine guacamole ingredients and mash slightly. If you prefer chunky guacamole, skip the mashing; if smoother guacamole is your thing, give it a good smash. This will also taste better if allowed to sit for a while.

    My boyfriend's a furious mixer. Hence the mess.

  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. canola oil. When oil becomes shimmering, add the chicken and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side. As you flip the chicken onto its other side, add julienned onion and pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, and onions and peppers are softened slightly. Remove from pan and set aside for serving.

    Even with a harsh flash, this still looks good.

  5. At this point you may arrange your chicken, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, and fixings. Eat immediately–why wouldn’t you?

    Next day's lunch: deconstructed leftovers, sans tortilla.

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