I’ve been making and eating a lot of lettuce wraps recently. For lunch, for an appetizer, for no real reason at all. I know it might not sound very exciting, but trust me, I'm talking about some high-maintenance lettuce wraps here.
High-maintenance in the best way possible. Bear with me now...
Not the kind of high-maintenance that would scare you away. You know I don't like things to be too complicated around here. Just the kind of high-maintenance that takes something that needs a little fixing up and making it a little fancier.
It all started when I found the most beautiful head of butter lettuce at my local Whole Foods, that was grown here, locally in Brooklyn. Beautiful lettuce from Brooklyn? I was smitten. This lettuce was meant for big, beautiful, veggie-filled lettuce wraps.
I started with a basic lettuce wrap with lots of raw veggies and some pea pesto that I had made recently. They were delicious. The pea pesto really made the wrap, but I thought maybe it could use a little something else.
A few days later, Michael and I wanted a snack, and I had a little leftover butter lettuce so I decided to make some more lettuce wraps. This time I added some black beans for some protein and a dash of hot sauce for some spice. These lettuce wraps rocked our world.
Because they were so good, I had to make them again. This time for myself for lunch, but I went one step further and I decided to make my own hot sauce. I have been dying to make my own sriracha for quite some time and in browsing some favorite blogs of mine I found this great recipe to make a proper sriracha (one that would taste exactly like the original but without the added preservatives) however it requires days of fermentation. Something I will be tackling soon, but not today. I needed some hot sauce, pronto.
So I found a few other recipes, this one from Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen, via this post from Sarah from Sprouted Kitchen. It looked super easy so I gave it a go. This hot sauce is awesome. Although it is not exactly like sriracha, it is close enough for me. I made a large batch and have been putting it on anything and everything.
I have a thing for hot sauce if you couldn't guess.
Now, of course, if you are not a hot sauce person, you can totally leave it out. The lettuce wraps are just as great without it. You can also make up any combination of veggies and beans that you like. White beans and red pepper, chickpeas and carrots. This is a fridge leftover kid of recipe.
What's also great about these is that they are like a reconfigured salad. So if you are bored with your salad routine, go make yourself some fancy, high-maintenance lettuce wraps for lunch.
lettuce wraps with black beans, spring onion, pea pesto + a homemade hot sauce
about a dozen wraps
for the homemade hot sauce:
1/4 lb of red chilies, seeded and diced
1 habanero (optional – or a more mild chili if you prefer), seeded and diced
1 medium sized red pepper, seeded and diced
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon of grapeseed or sunflower oil
3 tablespoons of brown rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of stevia or palm sugar
3 tablespoons of water
for the pea pesto:
1 cup of fresh of frozen peas
a handful of basil (about ¼ cup) chopped
¼ cup of pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
¼ teaspoon of salt
¼ cup of olive oil
¼ cup of water
for the lettuce wraps:
1 head of butter lettuce
½ cup of black beans
1 spring onion, white part only, sliced very thin (preferably with a mandolin)
a couple handfuls of micro greens (I used arugula, but pea shoots or sprouts would work great as well)
1 avocado, sliced thin lengthwise
Start by making the homemade hot sauce
- Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the peppers and garlic. Sautée for several minutes until the peppers are soft, being careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Place the sautéed peppers and garlic in a food processor and add the brown rice vinegar and stevia or palm sugar. Blend continuously for about 2-3 minutes until the mixture is pureed. Add in the water to thin out and blend for another 2-3 minutes.
- Place in a mason jar or another airtight contain and set aside while you are preparing the rest. Also, clean out the food processor at this point because you are going to make the pea pesto in it.
Then make the pea pesto
- Place all of the ingredients expect for the oil and water in the food processor. Pulse several times, and then while the food processor is running continuously add in the olive oil in a slow stream and continue until it is emulsified. Then add in the water until you have the consistency you like. I like it to be on the thinner side so it is easy to spread along the lettuce leaves.
- Remove from the food processor and place in a bowl or airtight container.
Assemble the lettuce wraps
- Carefully remove the leaves from the lettuce head and place them on a plate. I like to lay two on top of each other, I find that doubling them up makes them easier to eat.
- Then layer the ingredients. I like to do it like this: pea pesto, avocado slices (about 2), a small spoonful of black beans, a good-sized pinch of micro greens, a drizzle of hot sauce.
- Serve immediately, and eat by just folding the wraps in half with your hand.