Convenient cooking used to mean peeling the film off a TV dinner, but recently, more and more people are defining convenient cooking with Instant Pots, slow cookers, one-pot meals, and sheet pan meals. It’s easy to find recipes for these easy-peasy cooking methods online, but it’s a little harder when you’re also trying to follow a nutritious and heart-healthy diet. Most sheet pan meals, for example, involve big pork chops and some variety of potatoes.
Good news: These sheet pan fajitas are totally plant-based, so they’re ultra low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. The fajitas have plenty of protein, thanks to the addition of hearty chickpeas to help keep you full. Plant-based proteins, like chickpeas, can help improve cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
It’s not just preventing or managing heart disease: The American Diabetes Association calls beans like chickpeas a “diabetes superfood” due to their benefit to overall health and disease prevention. In fact, recent studies found that plant-based diets reduced overall cancer risk.
To make sure these fajitas are as kind to your heart as possible, pay attention to sodium. Skipping processed meals (like the aforementioned TV dinner) is the best way to cut excess sodium from your diet, but it’s still possible to get too much salt even when you’re cooking from scratch. High-sodium diets can increase the risk of high blood pressure, as well as these other health effects of a high-salt diet.
If you’re using canned chickpeas, make sure to buy a reduced-sodium or sodium-free variety. The AHA also suggests rinsing the chickpeas before use, which helps wash away a surprisingly significant amount of excess salt.
Additionally, be mindful of your hot sauce, which can also be high in sodium. If you love to pile on the heat, but you’re watching your sodium levels, consider adding a sliced jalapeno to the recipe and roasting with the chickpeas and bell peppers, or add some crushed red pepper or cayenne powder to your spice blend. These are sodium-free ways to add fire to your fajitas.
And if you think “plant-based” means flavorless, this is the perfect recipe to change your mind. The fajita seasoning offers a bold punch of flavor, and the squeeze of lime at the end is a must to brighten up those earthy spices.
Recipe adapted from With Food and Love.