Lighten Up Your Lunch!

Sandwiches are a staple for a lot of people for lunch. They are quick and convenient, easy to carry, throw together, and consume. The bread used is the main source of both carbs and calories for your average sandwich. Swapping out the bread for broad leaf lettuce to make wraps can add more crunch to your lunch, as well as a vegetable serving in your busy day.

Using a broad leaf lettuce, such as the outer leaves of iceburg, butterleaf, Romaine, or red-leaf lettuces, simply layer your sandwich fixings in the middle, roll it all up in the leaf, and eat.

Sound deceptively simple? It is! Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

TURKEY
Butter leaf lettuce
2 slices of turkey
a teaspoon of shredded beets
a teaspoon of fresh goat cheese
a teaspoon of chopped walnuts

Lay the turkey out on your lettuce leaf. Spread the goat cheese lengthwise along the meat so there will be some cheese in every bite. Add the beets and walnuts along the line of the cheese. Starting on one side, roll up the lettuce leaf around the other ingredients. Enjoy.

HAM
Iceburg lettuce
2 ounces ham, sliced or shredded
1 ounce Swiss or Emmenthaler
3 slices of fresh apple
1 teaspoon of chopped pecans

Follow the same procedure above in building and rolling your wrap.

BEEF
Romaine lettuce
2 ounces roast beef, corned beef or pastrami
1 ounce cheese, cheddar or provolone
1 kosher pickle spear
Brown or deli mustard

Beef is a hardy meat. Pile the beef and cheese on a microwave safe plate and heat for 30 seconds. This will soften the cheese but not make the meat hot enough to wilt the lettuce. Lay out the lettuce, add the meat and cheese. Run a line of mustard to taste down the length of the meat and cheese, an add the pickle spear. Wrap as instructed above.

Wraps are a wonderful way to use up leftovers that may be hanging about in the fridge. We always have broken meats, ends of cheese, a little of this or that available and have found this to be a good way to use them up.

You will also find that some restaurants now have lettuce wrap alternatives available for sandwiches on their menu. Five Guys Burgers & Fries now offers any hot dog or hamburger on their menu as a lettuce wrap. It’s a messy way to eat a burger, but it’s tasty and comes with any or all of their toppings.

I tried a double meat, double cheese wrap with pickles, mayo and sauteed mushrooms at Five Guys here in Conroe. It was so delicious that I smiled all the way through the meal, in spite of the slippery mess those mushrooms caused. I was licking my fingers afterward, too. They use two overlapping leaves of iceburg lettuce for that wrap, and the lettuce held up well enough in the beginning. It started getting messy about halfway through as the slippery ingredients started sliding to the relative bottom.

This taught me like nothing else that condiments such as mayo, mustard, and ketchup should be used sparingly in lettuce wraps, and to keep napkins handy!

Give wraps a try. The different combinations of ingredients are nearly endless, and can be tailored to individual diets. Remember not to over stuff your lettuce, go easy on the condiments, and have fun with it.

Bon appetite!

–Ann Cathey

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