Lettuce: It’s not just for salad!

C. Lettuce: It’s not just for Salad!

Lettuce season—the leaves are freckled, speckled, long, short, scalloped, smooth and red. What a bounty from First Light Farm! But lettuce is much more than a backdrop for olives, tomatoes and salad dressing. Think wraps! Anything you would put inside a tortilla, grape leaf, pita bread, wonton or rice wrapper can be wrapped in lettuce. Depending on the kind of lettuce you may want to remove the rib or use more than one leaf for extra filling security. But consider wrapping your sandwich filling in lettuce instead of putting it between two slices of bread. The following recipes are just suggestions to get you started.

Tuna Salad Wraps

1 can albacore tuna in water, drained well
1 Tab plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tab mustard (find a good mustard for this!)
a couple of pinches of lemon pepper seasoning
3 leaves of lettuce
thinly sliced tomatoes

Combine tuna, yogurt, mustard and lemon pepper in a bowl. Set up your lettuce leafs as boats and top with sliced tomatoes and tuna salad.

Spicy Cashew Lettuce Wraps

1 package firm tofu
1 c frozen corn
1 Tab chili powder
3 Tab soy or tamari sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce (opt)
1/2 c cashew halves
2 carrots
Several small heads of young lettuce
2 c uncooked brown rice (or about 4 cups cooked rice)

  1. Cook the brown rice according to the package instructions.
  2. Wrap the tofu in a paper towel, place it on a plate, and cover it with a heavy object for 5 minutes or more to drain. Break it down into very small pieces.
  3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the tofu and saute for about 15 minutes, until brown. Add the corn and stir for a few minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked out of the tofu. Add chili powder and cashew halves; stir to combine. Add soy sauce or tamari sauce and hot sauce (if using). Stir until liquid is absorbed and remove from the heat.
  4. Peel and grate the carrots. Wash and remove the lettuce leaves.
  5. Place rice, tofu-cashew mixture, and grated carrots within a lettuce leaf, and roll up the leaf.

Tropical Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

1/2 c quinoa
3/4 c water
Juice of 2 limes
2 Tab avocado oil (or olive oil)
2 Tab red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
2 small mangos, pitted, peeled and diced
1 avocados, pitted and diced
1/4 c cilantro, finely chopped
8 – 10 leaves of butter lettuce
Hot sauce (opt, but highly recommended!)

  1. Bring the quinoa and water to boil in a small sauce pot. Cover and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and keep covered for another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a mixing bowl. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing: Whisk the lime juice, oil, vinegar, honey, and spices together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Once the quinoa has cooled, add the mangoes, avocado and herbs. Toss together until combined. Pour dressing over the salad and mix until coated.
  4. Scoop the quinoa salad into the lettuce leaves, top with hot sauce (if using) and roll.

Baked Falafel Lettuce Wraps with Tahini Sauce

For the Tahini Sauce

1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 Tab tahini
2 Tab lemon juice
Pinch of black pepper
3-4 Tab water

For the Falafel Patties

2 c cooked chickpeas (about one can)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c bread crumbs (opt)
1/2 tsp black pepper
Cooking spray, preferably olive oil

For the Wraps
Lettuce leaves
Tomato slices
Cucumber slices
Minced parsley

  1. Tahini Sauce: Mash together the garlic clove and kosher salt with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon until it turns into a paste. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic mash, tahini, lemon juice, black pepper and water until it’s a drizzle-able consistency. Set aside.
  2. Falafels: Preheat oven to 400°. In a food processor pulse together chickpeas, onion and garlic until well-chopped. Add egg, cumin, salt, lemon juice, baking soda, bread crumbs and black pepper. Pulse until just combined. Form the chickpea mixture into 15 balls or patties, place on a cooking spray-coated baking sheet. Spray tops of of balls or patties with cooking spray and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and begin to split.
  3. To Assemble: Layer cucumber and tomato slices on lettuce leaves, top with falafels and drizzle with tahini sauce. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe

8-10 large lettuce leaves for wrapping
2 Tab olive oil
1 lb. ground chicken
1 c matchstick carrots
1 c chopped shitake mushrooms
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1/4 c sliced almonds
2 Tab brown sugar
1 Tab white vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tab ketchup
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 Tab soy sauce
3 green onions, chopped, for garnish
additional sliced almonds for garnish

  1. Preheat large skillet. Drizzle with olive oil. Add sesame oil. Add ground chicken. Add mushrooms and onions. Brown chicken. Add garlic and carrots. Then add almonds, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, grated ginger and soy sauce. Mix well and simmer until sauce has thickened.

2. To serve, spoon ground chicken mixture into lettuce leaves. Garnish with green onions and almonds.

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