We are here today to celebrate National Fajita Day which happens each year on August 18th.
Fajitas were once a little-known recipe that originated in Texas.
Now they have taken the world by storm and are a popular family favorite in America and beyond.
The best part?
Although the fajita was traditionally made with meat, it is even tastier (and much more healthful) in its veggie form.
We will share a terrific whole food, plant-based recipe with you later on, but first, let’s explore this famous meal’s past.
The Story of the Fajita
In the history of cooking, the fajita is a relatively new phenomenon.
In fact, the word ‘fajita’ did not even appear in print until 1971!
The original fajita came from the Rio Grande Valley in Southwest Texas where the recipe—prepared using throw-away cuts or ‘strips’ of skirt steak—was a regional staple in the 1930s. (‘Fajita’ is the diminutive form of ‘faja’ which means ‘strip’ or ‘belt.’)
The early rendition was cooked by Mexican cowboys over the open fire, served with flour or corn tortillas, guacamole and made ‘hot’ with a blend of southwestern spices.
For years, however, the fajita remained an obscure regional delight enjoyed only by the vaqueros and their families.
That all changed in the 1970s.
Legend has it that a man named Sonny Falcon was the first to open a fajita stand in Kyle, Texas in 1969 and later a ‘Fajita King’ restaurant in Austin.
Fajitas got a further culinary push when Ninfa Laurenza introduced the dish on the menu of her Houston restaurant in 1973.
In the early 1908s, the fajita craze took off in earnest, ironically because of efforts by a German-born chef named George Weidmann who worked at the Austin Hyatt Regency Hotel. He saw great commercial potential and convinced the hotel to add fajitas to their menu.
The rest, as they say, is history.
By 1982, Hyatt’s restaurant handled as many as 13,000 orders of fajitas per month.
Since then, the fajita has become a regular feature on menus around the United States and is a well-loved dish across the globe.
From Beef to Beans
As the years passed, the fajita naturally evolved away from its Texan origins.
The ultimate irony is that the more popular fajitas have become, the less they resemble the original recipe.
Fajitas are now prepared in a variety of ways, including many ‘veggie-only’ versions that use plant-based ingredients like beans and vegetables as filling.
How Will You Celebrate?
Without a doubt, the best way to participate in National Fajita Day on August 18th is to whip up a batch.
I have chosen one of my favorite recipes called Fiesta Fajitas, filled with plant-based goodness that you and your family will love.
You may even end up celebrating National Fajita Day all year long.
Here’s to the fabulous fajita!