Friends were coming for dinner. Two were steak-and-potato-loving friends, and two were vegetarians.
I wanted an appetizer that would wow the vegetarians, but not turn off the meat-eaters.
Voilá! Quinoa lettuce wraps.
I show you how to cook quinoa in this post. The rest is just some chopping, dicing and whisking.
Easy. And versatile. I’ve chosen a Mexican flavor for this rendition but it could easily speak Greek with feta, cucumbers and olives. Or Italian with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Or any number of combinations.
Once all the ingredients are chopped, toss them together with the honey lime vinaigrette and spoon them into washed butter lettuce leaf cups –then ring the chow bell.
Fresh tasting and bursting with flavor, these lettuce wraps wowed everyone — including meat-loving me.
Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
Serves 6 (makes 12 wraps)
Honey Lime Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons lime juice (1 to 1-1/2 limes)
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Generous pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Quinoa Lettuce Wraps:
2 small heads of butter (Boston bibb) lettuce
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa*
1 cup peeled and small diced jicama
1/2 cup small diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup small diced red onion
1/4 cup currants (or raisins)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the vinaigrette, whisk the lime juice with all ingredients except the olive oil until smooth. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. It should be very tart with a slight sweet finish.
To make the quinoa wraps, separate the butter lettuce leaves. Save the outer large leaves and the yellowish, small inner leaves for another salad. Shoot for 12 whole leaf cups. Wash the leaves and spin or pat dry. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
To make the filling, toss the quinoa with the next 6 ingredients (jicama through mint). Season with generous pinch of salt and pepper. Toss with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.
Place the lettuce cups on a platter and drizzle with a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vinaigrette. Spoon about 1/4 cup (more or less depending upon the size of the lettuce wraps) into the wrap. If there is any remaining vinaigrette, drizzle it over the quinoa wraps.
*Note: 1 cup of dry quinoa will make about 4 cups of cooked.