Make Deconstructed Grilled Steak Fajita Bowls and Let the Kids Eat No-Mess

Your favourite grilled summer staple without your least-favourite mess to clean up after the kids eat.

by: Paula Roy
 These amazingly delicious, easy fajita bowls are deconstructed, which makes them super kid-friendly. Enjoy your favourite grilled steak fajitas fresh off the BBQ without the mess! | YMC

I am not 100% certain, but I think both my kids and I are still a little bit scarred from their early attempts at eating tacos. The broken shells, the tears, the mess….it was a gong show. It’s what led to a delicious new twist – serving tacos in lettuce cups – and even though they are now older and more dextrous, their early disasters still influence my recipe creation. Soft tortilla blowouts are another case in point. No matter how many times I have tried to teach them how to swaddle those fillings (“come on, guys, it’s just like wrapping a baby in a blanket!!”), they still sometimes struggle with getting that wrapping technique figured out.

My new solution? These amazingly delicious fajita bowls, inspired also by the flavours and textures of this delicious grilled corn salad. There is so much happening in this flavour-packed bowl that I have to confess I didn’t miss the tortillas one bit, however you could sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over top if you want to add one more tasty element. Have your dining companions assemble their own bowls so everyone can customize to their preference. Make a double batch and you’ll have the most envied lunch in the office breakroom the next day.

Deconstructed Grilled Steak Fajita Bowls



1 1/2 pounds (680 g) flank steak
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice *
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons each ground cumin AND chili powder (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon each salt pepper

* Note that pineapple juice is an amazing meat tenderizer but if you leave the meat in it too long, it will start to disintegrate. If you are prepping the meat more than 6 hours ahead of time, replace the pineapple juice with orange juice, water or white wine.


1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cobs fresh corn *
1 cup thinly sliced Spanish or white onion **
2 cups thinly sliced red, green or orange bell peppers **
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup beer, chicken stock, white wine or water

* You can substitute with 1 cup cooked frozen corn

** I cut the thin slices into 1 inch pieces to make them easier to eat


1 ripe avocado, diced and tossed with the juice of 1 lime
Sour cream
Chopped fresh cilantro


  • Start by marinating the beef. Put the flank steak in a large zip-sealed bag. In a small bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients, whisking together. Drizzle over meat, then seal bag, pressing air out as you do so. Refrigerate for 3 – 6 hours (or overnight if not using pineapple juice), flipping bag occasionally. Remove from fridge 45 minutes before cooking.
  • When ready to start cooking, start by preheating your grill (barbeque) to medium-hot (about 375F).
  • While grill heats, slice peppers and onions and set aside.
  • Once grill is hot, rub the shucked corn with half of the olive oil and grill for about 10 minutes, turning often, until kernels are softened and just beginning to char. Let cool for a few minutes then strip kernels from corn and place in a bowl.
  • While corn is cooking, sauté the garlic and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes, until garlic is softened. Add the rice and chicken stock and bring to a boil, then cook, covered for about 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in chopped cilantro, then keep pot covered until all other ingredients are cooked.
  • Remove flank steak from marinade (discarding marinade) and grill for about 7 minutes per side, until meat registers 135F in the thickest part. Remove from grill and place on a tray or plate; cover loosely with foil and let rest for 7 - 8 minutes.
  • While meat is resting, put remaining olive oil and sliced onions in a large, heavy duty frying pan. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring often, until onions are translucent. Add peppers, salt and pepper and beer and cook 2 – 3 minutes more, stirring often, until peppers are tender-crisp and liquid has mostly evaporated.
  • Slice cooked beef very thinly across the grain. Cut slices in halves or thirds to create bite-sized pieces. Place on a platter or plate.
  • To assemble bowls, put cooked rice in the bottom then arrange corn, sautéed onions and peppers and sliced beef on top. Garnish with avocado, salsa, sour cream and cilantro and devour.

Serves 4 - 6

 These amazingly delicious, easy fajita bowls are deconstructed, which makes them super kid-friendly. Enjoy your favourite grilled steak fajitas fresh off the BBQ without the mess! | YMC



RELATED: Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

Paula Roy readily admits that she’s obsessed with food. Typically, it’s the first thing she thinks of in the morning and the last of the day as well. She recognizes that not everyone shares her passion for cooking, so she channels much of her enthusiasm into creating family-friendly recipes that are easy to prepare and yield delicious results.

Although her husband and kids are eager taste testers, Paula knows she’ll eventually be paying for their therapy thanks to her constant cries of, “don’t touch that plate, I haven’t taken a photo yet!”

Paula loves to travel and explore whatever culinary treasures a destination has to offer. In addition to leading cooking classes and making frequent TV appearances, she’s also a busy freelance writer and serves as the food editor of popular style magazine Ottawa At Home. In addition to her contributions for YMC, you can also follow Paula’s edible adventures through her blog, Constantly Cooking, and keep up with her daily kitchen antics on Twitter and Instagram (@paulajroy).