This Tender Shaved Beef Fajita recipe pairs juicy paper-thin sheets of fresh sliced beef with a rainbow of sweet peppers and goldeny caramelized onions for cooking restaurant level Mexican cuisine at home.
Fajitas are an easy meal any night of the week. They are usually a great way to encourage your kid to "wrap their food (sneaky vegetables!) up in a blanket." Using shaved beef makes them especially easy. You can find shaved beef in the butcher case of your local grocer. Trader Joe's and Aldi carry it, too.
This is a single-skillet meal made easy because it can be prepared stove-side or on your outdoor grill.
An easy meal for when you do not have much time to "think dinner" are these shaved beef fajitas. In fact, they are about the easiest meal in my repertoire at the time that I am writing this post to email to my cousin. Yes, she says she wants it and is adding to her extensive recipe index, but we will see if she makes these for next time I visit. There is no 2 to 3-hour marinade time to deal with and there is no shortage of flavor because the meat cooks in minutes in the fond in the skillet. So, if you are looking for a new fajitas recipe that your whole family will find 100% customizable for their taste, look no further.
Fajita necessaries. And they make for a gorgeous presentation. From grill to table, never suffer cold fajitas again with these cast iron fajita skillets. Click images for pricing.
Time to get grilling!
I love autumn. I swear it is the best feeling when the seasons change from zillion degree Charleston heat to 'sleeping with the window open' kind of temperatures. The air is crisp, and my favorite tool to cook with sits just beyond the French doors on the back deck. Time to get grilling. And what easier low stress dish to consider than Tender Shaved Beef Fajitas. You’re going to adopt this method, you wait and see.
These Tender Shaved Beef Fajitas are juicy, warm, and plenty flavorful. My method for preparation is way healthier than the way these are cooked at your favorite Mexican restaurant with little saturated fat.
So my photos for this post are slightly deceiving…and slightly not. I have this thing with fajitas. The piles of vegetable and meat seem to cool down quite quickly. I guess this is why whenever you order them out at a Mexican restaurant, they are the noisiest item to be brought to the table. Seriously, the steam, the crackling meat, and an agitated waiter muttering to the guy in front of him to get out of the way in Spanish. Those cast iron skillets they are delivered to the table on are scorching hot, and for good reason.
For years I served my fajitas on a platter that everybody would have to inevitably pass around the table. It never worked great, but hey, that’s life. When we all had to shelter in place at the beginning of the pandemic, I wilted at the thought of no dinners out once a week. This is the thing; as a food blogger, there are entire weeks that I do not want to cook. The mere thought of it just makes me depressed. You get tired of, well…FOOD. If we could not get out for a basic happy hour and a burger, my days were numbered. At least from where I stood they were.
I am learning to LOVE the convenience of shaved beef and would love to share another shaved beef recipe with YOU!
As a family, we began brainstorming and calendaring recipes and foods we liked. Hey, it was strange times, so we needed to do this so everybody felt like they had a vote. At least two votes came in for Mexican. I am not a huge fan. I do not ever stop and say to myself, ‘hey, I think we should go for Mexican tonight.’ But this dish changed my mind. It changed my mind because of the way I made it, my method. And since I absolutely knew I would add it to our dinner rotation, I wanted to “fix” the platter issue and stop experiencing cold fajitas by the time I got everything to the table.
And all of these years, I thought I needed salt. Turns out 'no.'
I bought two sizzling fajita platters. I prepare my fajitas in my regular trusty cast iron on the grill, all the while heating the two empty fajita cast irons atop the heat with a scant rub of vegetable oil in each. When everything is ready, I load my charred red and orange bell peppers, delicious caramelized onions, and the steak onto HOT cast iron servers rather than a platter. And because I purchased two (I should have really purchased three or four) there is no awkward passing. The cast iron servers sit atop a colorful wooden plate so nobody loses a finger. And, no more fajitas getting cold. I squeeze some fresh lime juice onto each sizzling hot platter just before serving. All of the sudden, I am that sizzling HOT dish at the Mexican restaurant.
Condiment bowls for the table, an organized and pretty way to serve sour cream, salsa, and that ever popular guacamole. Kitchen necessaries, click images for pricing.
Shaved beef fajitas are one of my new favorite dinners of all time. They’re great for cooler temperature family grilling.
Fajitas are an authentic Tex-Mex dish originally prepared with a marinated skirt steak or flank steak. Chicken and other cuts of beef are also commonly used. For the longest time, I prepared steak fajitas by marinating my beef. This was according to a steak fajitas recipe I had followed for years. Today, I am using a new product (new for me) that I recently discovered. I have been using it quite a lot. Shaved beef or shaved steak. No, not deli roast beef, but raw shaved fresh beef. These virtual sheets of beef are so thin, they cook in under a minute. And because they cook so quickly, there is no drying out. No slicing. No guessing if it is cooked through or not. And because I am opening my eyes to the convenience of shaved beef steak recipes, I can honestly tell you that I love shaved steak.
Short on time, but still want to eat healthy? Yup. Fajitas.
I had never Googled recipes for shaved steak before. I had also never looked closely at the shaved beef packaging at the grocer before. The packages come in 1 pound measures, and also come with recipes for shaved beef right on the back. My cousin asked me how to cook shaved steak or shaved beef. I basically explained to her that I have my best outcome when I spend the 5 or so minutes it takes to peel the individual sheets of beef from the package and layer them loosely in a hot cast iron pan.
I leave the layers largely undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes until they are only half pink remaining. Then I flip them and begin to gather them into piles on the sides of the pan. This makes way for more sheets. Shaved beef is likely not a true Mexican beef fajita recipe. It darn sure cuts down on my time in front of a burner, and the flavors are as rewarding as any I have had.
These fajitas are incredibly versatile when you stop to consider that they can be served as a taco with tortillas, as an entree with yellow rice and seasoned black beans, or as a low carb lunch atop a crisp green salad.
Now, fajitas may look intimidating. But if you study my photos hard, you will see we are talking vegetables, beef, some crumbled Cotija cheese, and a few wedges of lime for brightness. Whatever else you like, you can serve alongside. I am a guacamole fan, but my family not so much.
Rather than the guacamole, I slice one avocado thin. I offer it up alongside fresh sour cream, sliced tomatoes, a lettuce salad dressed with Crema, good old yellow rice, and zesty warmed black beans. My Mom loves the flour tortillas. I prefer to quarter them and flash fry them in olive oil for a quasi-homemade tortilla “chip.” There is no wrong way, and this is healthy, super quick, and all done in one skillet.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
- large cast iron skillet
Did you know that it’s super easy to print out a version of a half recipe or even a double recipe on Not Entirely Average? Hover over the serving size (highlighted in blue, it says 24 on this recipe) and then slide the the white line to the left to make less or to the right to make more. This "calculator" allows you to play until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
Ingredients for Tender Shaved Beef Fajitas
- 1 pound beef shaved, I am using Bridger
- 1 large onion cut in half, then sliced
- 1 red bell pepper sliced into long strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper sliced into long strips
- 1 orange bell pepper sliced into long strips
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Canola oil
- 2 tablespoons Cotija cheese
- 2 tablespoons cilantro fresh, leaves torn
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Prepare a large sheet of aluminum foil by spraying it lightly with cooking oil on one side.
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat.
- Beginning with 2 teaspoons of the Canola oil, add the onions and garlic to cast iron skillet over grill. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the chili cumin mixture. Cook, moving often, over medium-high heat allowing skins to char, about 2-3 minutes. Move the peppers to one side of the skillet.
- Add the peppers. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the chili cumin mixture. Cook, moving often, over medium-high heat allowing peppers to char, about 2-3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer vegetables to prepared foil and set on cool side of the grill. Do not wrap.
- Reduce grill heat to medium. Add the remaining Canola oil to the skillet. Working in batches, peel single sheets of the raw beef from the packaging and add as flat layers into the skillet. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the chili cumin mixture. As the first layer cooks, and there is barely any pink remaining, flip the layer and move it to the sides of the pan. Repeat with additional sheets of beef and the chili cumin mixture until there is none.
- At this time, move the foil back over to the hot side of the grill and briefly heat the vegetables so they are hot.
if using fajita skillets to serve in, transfer the meat and the vegetables now, otherwise...
- ...move the meat to one corner of the skillet used to prepare everything, and using tongs, transfer the peppers to another corner, and then the onions to another. Cut heat.
- Sprinkle fresh torn cilantro leaves and crumbled Cotija cheese over the fajita mixture. Squeeze several lime wedges over all. Serve the fajitas hot with the remaining lime wedges, sliced avocado, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and warmed tortillas.
- If wrapping your fajitas in tortillas does not excite you, try cutting several tortillas into quarters and frying in hot oil on the stove top 2 minutes per side. Remove to paper toweling, sprinkle with flakey sea salt, and serve at room temperature with fajitas as a crispy tortilla "chip." Watch out because these are addictive!