Grapefruit Marinated Fajitas

by Shawnda on February 16, 2012

in Beef,Cinco de Mayo,Citrus,Grapefruit,Mexican & TexMex,On the grill

Grapefruit Marinated Fajitas

Most Friday nights, you’ll find us on the back patio, margaritas in hand, listening to the sizzle of fajitas on the grill. And for the 6 weeks out of the year that it’s too cold to grill, you’ll find us at one of our favorite Tex Mex restaurants, trying to talk over the sizzling order of fajitas in front of us.

I’m a beef fajita girl all the way. My husband prefers chicken. And when the server brings our orders, he or she always tries to hand me the chicken. NEVER fails :)

I love my fajitas flame-kissed, slightly salty, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Being in full-blown winter citrus (read: grapefruit) mode, I swapped out the usual orange juice in our favorite marinade for equal parts grapefruit and lime juices. A generous pinch of salt, some pepper, and olive oil later, we had a marinade worthy for grilling fajitas in 70+ degree weather in mid-January.

The acid in the grapefruit and lime juices can tenderize just about anything you throw at it – I happened to have a bargain cut of cube steak that came off the grill every bit as good as pricey flank or skirt steaks. There’s no real overwhelming grapefruit flavor in the cooked steak but there is a hint of the tart citrus.

We serve our fajitas piled high with sliced avocado, grilled onions and peppers, cilantro, sour cream (er, fat-free greek yogurt), and chopped fresh jalapenos.

And after typing all that, I’m totally excited about the leftover fajitas tonight :)

Grapefruit Marinated Fajitas

Tender beef fajitas marinated with grapefruit and lime juices.


  • For the marinade:
  • 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb beef (I used cube steak, flank or skirt are ideal)
  • For the grilled vegetables:
  • 1 large white or yellow onion
  • 1-2 large bell peppers
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • For serving:
  • 8 small tortillas
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 small handful cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt


  1. In a large zip-top bag, add the grapefruit and lime juices, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Close tightly and squeeze the ingredients together.
  2. Add beef, close, and refrigerate for 4 hours, up to overnight.
  3. Preheat grill to high.
  4. Slice onion in half, and then slice into thin wedges. Place in a large bowl.
  5. Remove stems and seeds from the bell pepper and cut into 1/4-inch strips.
  6. Add to the onions and toss with olive oil until well-coated.
  7. Spread onions and peppers in a single layer on a grill pan (or use a large piece of foil, folded in half for stability, placed directly onto the grates of your grill) and cook until they soften and are browned (15-20 minutes).
  8. Put the steak on the grill and sear 4-5 minutes on each side. (You might wish to cook yours longer, 4-5 minutes is usually enough to still leave a nice pink strip through the thickest part of the steak).
  9. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.
  10. Cut into thin slices, against the grain, and serve on tortillas with preferred toppings.


Yields: 4 servings (enough for 8 fajitas)

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 5 hours


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 emiglia February 16, 2012 at 3:59 am

Yum! I love the idea of using grapefruit in the marinade… especially because limes are so expensive here in France.


2 Kathryn February 16, 2012 at 4:08 am

I love fajitas too and the idea of this citrussy punch of flavour is just irresistible.


3 branny February 16, 2012 at 4:29 am

This looks really great. Although I make Mexican (tex-mex?) at home frequently, I never do fajitas. Thanks for the reminder.


4 Blog is the New Black February 16, 2012 at 4:32 am

Awesome recipe! Again, can’t get enough grapefruit recipes!!


5 Liz February 16, 2012 at 6:55 am

That’s it! I’m making fajitas this weekend and my thyroid bedamned! I cannot imagine 1/4 of a cup grapefruit juice would be all that bad. Those look so incredibly good, my mouth immediately started to water. I’m even gonna make your fresh homemade tortillas. ;-)


6 Jen @ February 16, 2012 at 8:10 am

I love fajitas. Totally jealous of your warm weather. And your grill…


7 christie February 16, 2012 at 8:17 am

made your grapefruit margaritas last night for the roughly 100th time since you published the recipe (thank you again, they ROCK) and since fajitas are my fav meal too, I will have to try this recipe this weekend too! thanks, love your blog!


8 Angie (Sweet Natured Treats) February 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

I’ve never tried marinating meat in grapefruit juice, but what a great idea! I’m a sucker for pretty much anything citrusy, so I’m sure I would love these. Thanks for sharing.


9 Kelsey February 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I cannot wait until we have a real house with a backyard just so we can sit outside with margs and fire up the grill. This recipe looks and sounds so perfect. We’ll have to try it from the grill pan for now :-(


10 Alida February 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I never would have thought of using grapefruit juice in a fajita marinade, but I think it’s pure genius! I am also very jealous of your warm weather :)


11 Courtney February 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Very envious of your 70+ weather. But I suppose I’ll settle for high 40s and call myself lucky!


12 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts February 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I love fajitas. The grapefruit is a great idea! So much flavor – yum!


13 sara February 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Love this recipe – sounds delicious, and I’m always interested in finding recipes that work well with cheaper cuts of meat! :)


14 vanillasugarblog February 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm

excellent idea my dear, simply excellent!!


15 Tessa February 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Fajitas are probably my favorite meal. Love that you have a fajita night. Sounds like something I need to start!


16 beti February 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm

what a lovely combination of flavors! the grapefruit sounds great


17 Joanne February 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I love the smoky flavor of fajita veggies with that hint of citrus. It’s hypnotizing.


18 Branny February 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I’m back to tell you that we loved this meal.


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