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Lettuce Wraps, the Underrated Sandwich

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lettucewrap3smLettuce wraps have lived a tough life, stereotyped as bad Thai food in chain restaurants, or categorized as unsubstantial rabbit food for practicing vegetarians and vegans.

We’re here to change all that, because just about anything that would go between two pieces of bread {with the exception of peanut butter and jelly} can be wrapped in two pieces of of lettuce and devoured.

Lettuce wraps offer a lighter way to enjoy your favorite sandwich, and for those with a gluten allergy or intolerance, lettuce wraps offer a way to keep sandwiches in your lunch box without a belly ache in sight.

To get you into a lettuce wrap Zen state of mind, we need to get you thinking about lettuce as bread. Repeat…lettuce is bread, lettuce is bread.

Size matters, sort of:
You’ll want to choose lettuce leaves no smaller than a piece of endive. Smaller leaves, like endive, should be overlapped to make a larger leaf, as we’ve done in the photo above with Romaine lettuce. Larger leaves can be used as-is, to create a single wrap.

Construction is important, too:
Because lettuce blowout can sometimes happen, leaving small gaps and holes from which yummy things could escape when the lettuce is rolled or folded, lettuce wraps need to be constructed differently than a sandwich — you’ll need a food barrier as your next layer, which will hold everything else in place. A slice of cheese, meat or another layer of lettuce will do the trick.

Pile it in:
Whether you’re a garden veggie traditionalist, tuna or egg salad kind of person, baba ghanoush lover, steak and cheese with mushrooms and onions hound, or looking for a deli grinder, once your barrier is in place, you can pile on any filling {except the peanut butter and jelly}.

The secret sauce:
If you’re into dry lettuce, you can skip this part. But, if you’re looking for ways to infuse more flavor, mix up a batch of herbed aoili, a simple vinaigrette, or a honey mustard sauce and generously dribble over the filling until you’ve created a fine mess.

OK, so let’s recap.Choose your lettuce, create a food barrier, pile on the fillings, sauce it. Easy!

Romaine Lettuce Wraps with Rosemary Roast Beef, Provolone and Roasted Red Pepper

Yields: 2 lettuce wraps
Allergy Info: soy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
4 large Romaine lettuce leaves, trimmed, washed and dried
6 thin slices rosemary roast beef (deli roast beef is OK)
4 thin slices provolone
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded (jarred peppers are OK)

Directions:
In a medium bowl, add olive oil, garlic, red wine vinegar, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper, and whisk until emulsified (about 20 seconds). Set aside.

On a large plate, arrange two of the Romaine leaves (your bread) on a plate so the ribs are slightly overlapping and facing up, forming a shallow cup. Arrange two pieces of cheese (your barrier) across the length of the Romaine. Arrange three slices of roast beef and top with roasted red peppers (your filling). Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the top (your sauce). Roll or fold the lettuce around the filling and shove directly in your mouth. Repeat.

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  1. Magdalena says:

    >very refreshening, light, perfect for summer…

  2. Michelle@Tasty Thailand says:

    >These look delicious and incredibly healthy. Luckily though, I don't have to worry about eating "Thai food in chain restaurants". I live in Thailand, so get the real deal :)

    Nice blog, btw.

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