These easy Vegan Sheet-pan Fajita Bowls are sure to be a crowd pleaser! With zucchini, peppers, cauliflower, spicy chickpeas roasted on a sheet pan, and served with a zippy chipotle-lime cashew cream and quick fajita rice, these vegan fajita bowls are a healthy, satisfying, and delicious meal.
How do I love thee, sheet pan dinners? Let me count the ways... I love how few dishes you require. I love how quickly you cook up. I love how much flavour I can pack into one dish. I love how easy and healthy you are.
I mean, really, what's not to love about a sheet pan dinner, ammiright?! We've had Sheet Pan Tacos, and a super easy Sheet Pan Gnocchi Bake, and today we've got more sheet pan love coming your way ????
In particular I love *this* sheet pan dinner, because it's a plant-based flavour extravaganza coming together in an easy and delicious Fajita Bowl that's totally vegan, gluten-free, and you can have it on your table in 40-ish minutes of mostly hands-off time.
What goes into these fajita bowls?
We'll break this down into all of the elements we're using:
1. Sheet pan veggies and chickpeas get tossed in a homemade fajita spice mix and roasted in the oven. This is approximately 10 minutes of prep / chopping time and your oven will do the rest.
- Red bell pepper
- Green bell pepper
- Fajita spice mix (homemade - instructions are below!)
2. Quick Fajita Rice. I'm going to teach you my quick and dirty secret for making fajita rice in approx one minute (plus the time it takes to cook the rice). I'm channelling my inner hippy / outer Nutrition Lady and using brown rice today.
- Cooked brown rice
- A jar of your favourite salsa
3. Chipotle Cashew Cream. This vegan chipotle sauce is easy to whiz up in the blender with pre-soaked cashews, chipotle peppers, and lime juice. We'll talk substitutions below if you don't want to make this.
- Pre-soaked cashews (a note on soaking times below)
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- Lime juice
4. Toppings! I'm going with diced avocado, lots of cilantro, and extra squeezes of lime. You do you.
How do you make fajita bowls?
Although this recipe may look like it has a long list of ingredients, let me again assure you it takes no more than 10 minutes of hands-on time, and the bulk of that is in chopping the vegetables.
I like my one-pan meals to be legit one pan, so there's no mixing bowls on the scene here. All the veg and the spices and the chickpeas just get biffed into the sheet pan and mixed up with a good glug of olive oil. Into the oven it goes to get all roasty toasty, and 30-ish minutes later you're in business.
I use this All Clad Lasagna Pan, which isn't technically a sheet pan, but it works great and I love it.
How do you make fajita rice?
Every good fajita bowl needs a base, and here I've used my favourite quick and dirty hack for making "Mexi" rice, which is literally just stirring half a cup of my favourite salsa into a pot of brown rice - again, right into the pot, because who wants to wash an extra dish.
How do you make vegan chipotle sauce?
In the toppings department we've got a zippy chipotle-lime cashew cream going on. If that sounds intimidating to you, bear with me; all it involves is blending soaked cashews with a bit of water, some lime juice, and a bit of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles. It takes all of two minutes to bring together.
The sauce is delish, and I think you'll find it useful in other things as well (we used the leftovers as a topping for grilled corn - amazing), but if you don't have time to soak cashews (vegan sheet pan fajita bowl emergencies happen, y'all!) you can totally take a shortcut by stirring the chipotle and lime juice into some plain yoghurt (or co-yo) instead.
Do you need a fancy blender?
Nope! Although I *do* have a fancy blender (I have this one, and I loooooove it) I've made cashew cream plenty of times without one. If you do have a high-speed blender you can cut down on soaking time for the cashews, and if you have a less fancy blender or a food processor, you should use the full time noted in the recipe card below.
All in, including chopping the veg, roasting time in the oven, making the Mexi rice and the cashew cream, you can have these vegan sheet pan fajita bowls on the table in under an hour. I love to serve them family style so that everyone can load up their own fa-jay-jay bowls just the way they like.
And I know you wanna know, do vegan sheet pan fajita bowls make awesome packed lunches? Why yes, yes they do. I've been packing them just like you see here, with a wedge of avocado with the skin still on turned face down (skin side up) into my lunch bowl, which keeps it reasonably fresh until it's ready to be diced up.
Simply tuck a little jar of the chipotle cream along the side so you can dress your bowl when you're ready to eat, and you're in business. These make for a hella delicious and satisfying lunch or dinner.
Hey Nutrition Lady, are chickpeas healthy?
Friends, yes. Yes they are. Chickpeas are an undercelebrated super food! They contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup, which is 50% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. About two-thirds of the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble, which is great for digestive health, particularly in the colon. The remaining third is soluble fiber, which can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides; important for cardiovascular health.
The protein-fiber combination in chickpeas is key for stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace. This protein-fiber combination is also beneficial for improving our sense of satiety, which can help prevent over eating.
Chickpeas are notable for antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, but also contain concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients such as flavonoids and polyphenols. Chickpeas also contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body's omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made. Chickpeas for the win!
Vegan Sheet-Pan Fajita Bowls
For the fajita spice mix
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
For the Fajita Bowls
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium red or green pepper sliced into strips
- 1 medium zucchini sliced into strips
- 1 small cauliflower broken down into florets
- ½ large red onion sliced into strips
- 14 oz can chickpeas about 1 ½ cups
For the fajita rice
- 1 cup short-grain brown rice
- ½ cup of your favourite salsa
- 1 bunch cilantro
For the chipotle-lime cashew cream
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked at least 4 hours*
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ½ cup cold water
- 1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 200°C / 400°F.
- Combine the spices for the fajita mix in a small bowl, and set aside.
- In a large sheet pan or roasting pan, combine the peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, red onion, and chickpeas. Toss with two tablespoons of olive oil, and then add the fajita seasoning mix. Give everything a good stir to ensure the seasoning is evenly distributed.
- Place the sheet pan into the oven, and roast for 20 minutes.
- Remove, give everything a good stir, and put back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are golden brown and soft, but not mushy.
To make the Fajita Rice
- Rinse the rice under cold water. Place in a pot with 1 ½ cups cold water and a pinch of salt.
- Place the pot over high heat, covered, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the rice is tender.
- Remove the rice from the heat, and stir in the salsa. Set aside.
To make the Cashew Cream
- Drain the cashews and rinse well.
- Place the soaked cashews into a blender with lime juice, water, and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce. Blend to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides a couple of times, until completely smooth. Taste and determine whether you want to add the remaining teaspoon of adobo sauce.
- Divide the Mexi rice into four bowls. Top with roasted vegetables and chickpeas, and cashew cream.
- To serve, add diced avocado and cilantro.
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This recipe was originally published Sept 19, 2017. It was retested, edited, and updated May 2, 2019.
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