There are plenty of reasons to give bread a rest for awhile (um... thigh one and thigh two?). And with spring officially underway, there are so many tasty and healthy lettuces to enjoy, making it a terrific time to experiment with fresh and satisfying lettuce wraps. Essentially, anything that you'd cram in between two slabs of carb-heavy bread can go into a low-calorie, fiber-rich leaf.Try mashed avocado, red bell pepper strips, shredded carrots, sunflower sprouts, lime juice, salt and a little hot sauce in green or red leaf lettuce for a quick and tasty snack. A VLT? Yup. Grab your favorite vegan bacon (Lightlife's Fakin Bacon is awesome!), some vegenaise, a little tomato and Romaine it all up for a delicious you-won't-miss-the-bread-at-all sandwich.A shmear of hummus, pitted kalamata olives, thinly sliced cucumbers and wait for it—lettuce in a lettuce wrap?—oh yeah. Try a spicy green inside—like arugula or watercress—and a sweeter, crisp green outside, even chard. Purple cabbage leaf works amazingly well here, too.
Of course, you can definitely go all PF Chang's style and spice up some tofu in this classic Asian-style tofu lettuce wrap recipe:
Vegan Lettuce Wraps
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
1 tablespoon sesame or olive oil
¾ cup diced celery
¾ cup diced carrots
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 head Bibb or Romaine lettuce or Napa cabbage
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Heat oil in sauté pan; add ginger, celery and carrots. Stir and sauté for 5-7 minutes until slightly soft. Add tofu, soy sauce and seasoning and stir, cooking for 10 minutes. Add a bit of water in teaspoon increments if tofu is sticking to pan.
Remove from heat, spoon into lettuce leaves, sprinkle sesame seeds on top, roll and enjoy.
Make a spicy peanut dipping sauce by mixing together:
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup tamari
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha or chili sauce
1/2 cup organic peanut butter
juice of one lime
2 tablespoons sesame oil
* You can trade out garlic for ginger or omit completely and substitute sunflower butter for peanut allergies.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger