Friday, June 22, 2012

Sexy Summer Side Dishes: Southwest Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

Southwest Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

Continuing our series on healthy and sexy summer side dishes, we've all had lettuce wraps with chicken, mushrooms and other little Asian Fusion goodies, but these are a delicious little Southwest, vegetarian version.

Quinoa is such a wonderful little whole grain.  It's gluten-free, its full of protein (it's a complete protein, by the way), they taste great and they have a fun little look and texture.  They pop in your mouth when you eat them and they come in red and white varieties.

You could easily add some chicken or ground turkey to make these an appetizer or even an entree.  If you're saving as many calories as possible, eliminate the cheese.  They can be served warm right after they're cooked, or make the filling the night before and serve them cold at the barbecue the next day!

Southwest Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 20 minutes / Servings: 8 wraps

  • 1 head of leaf or Bib lettuce
  • 2 cups of cooked red or white quinoa (prepare according to package directions)
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup yellow or white corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, finely chopped 
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese (optional)
  1. Prepare and cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except for lettuce) in a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined. 
  3. Wash and separate the lettuce leaves.  Arrange them on a large serving dish.  
  4. Fill each lettuce leaf with about 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture.  Serve immediately.

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