Too Hot To Cook? Make a Lettuce Wrap

I love lettuce cups and garden wraps- so fresh and light.

Too hot to cook and you're contemplating going gluten-free to boot? Try a greenwich on for size. Garden fresh lettuce wraps make for an ultra-easy lunch that is perfect for sizzling summer days. Wrap or cradle your favorite sandwich filling with tender Boston lettuce or crisp romaine. Stuff smaller cups with your favorite salad or use larger leaves to wrap and roll a layered classic.

One of the first recipes I started with on my gluten-free journey years ago was the simple idea of wrapping various sandwich fillings in crisp washed lettuce leaves. The possibilities are endless.

Boston lettuce (aka butter lettuce) leaves make deliciously tender wraps. Romaine is sturdier; fill it lengthwise- like a boat- and simply fold it, rib on bottom. When fillings are messy, wrap the wrap with a piece of wax paper, plastic wrap or foil.

Lettuce wraps are great fun for kids. Set up a buffet style Greenwich Bar- with all the fixin's- and let them choose from an assortment of fillings to design their and wrap their own creations.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Asian Inspired Lettuce Wraps

These are quick and tasty for lunches and fun appetizers.

Grate, julienne or chop an assortment of fresh crisp veggies:

Cucumbers, carrots, jicama, apple, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, chilled water chestnuts, etc.
Toss in a bowl with Asian-style dressing. Or make your own sauce with a dash of wheat-free gluten-free tamari or soy sauce, a kiss of toasted sesame oil and a dash of rice vinegar. Season with sea salt and ground pepper.
Spoon the veggie mixture into fresh, washed lettuce leaves. Boston, butter, romaine or red lettuce are all excellent.

Add cold cooked shrimp or crabmeat. Slices of avocado.
Serve in lettuce cups or roll up the greenwiches and chomp.

Other options for a dressing include thinning a small dab of peanut butter with a dash of fresh orange/lime/lemon juice, a touch of mustard, a sprinkle of brown sugar. Add a pinch of cumin or ginger, and some fresh mint, parsley or chopped cilantro. Or be bold and add a touch of wasabi.

Add fresh washed bean sprouts, if you like, or some cold seasoned rice or rice noodles, tossed in a little oil. I like to toss cooked rice with a squeeze of lime juice or rice vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar. Be creative, and taste test as you go.

Wrapped Salads

Any salad you like in a sandwich makes a wonderful rolled greenwich:

Chicken, salmon or tuna salad, egg salad, rice salad, quinoa salad, tofu salad, macaroni get the idea.

Greek Salad Wraps

Dice, grate or chop:

Cucumbers, tomatoes (sweet grape tomatoes are delicious), red onion, kalamata or black olives, pepperoncini, chopped hard boiled egg. Add enough Greek dressing and a dash of extra virgin olive oil to moisten. Sprinkle with Greek herbs such as oregano and mint, fresh parsley. Add crumbled goat cheese or feta.

Options include: chilled chick peas or white beans, a bit of minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Spoon these veggies into fresh, washed lettuce leaves. Add a dollop of hummus tahini, if desired, and roll.

Cold Mexican Wraps

For those who love cold refried beans Old El Paso makes tasty, spicy Fat Free Refried Beans that are gluten-free and perfect for a greenwich wrap. Add shredded cheese, chopped green chiles, red onion, salsa or diced tomatoes. Messy, but good!

If you have leftover rice, moisten the cold rice with lime juice and olive oil and season it with a dash of cumin. Spoon the beans, then the rice, then any additions into the lettuce leaf and wrap.

Roasted Vegetable Wraps

Leftover roasted veggies? If you roast them like I do (in olive oil, sea salt and balsamic vinegar) you've got a built-in salad wrap waiting to happen. Allow the roasted veggies to come to room temperature, then fill lettuce cups or leaves.

Add a dollop of hummus for protein. Or add some three-bean salad, a slice of marinated mozzarella, or a crumble of fresh goat cheese.

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