Makes about 14 wraps
Serves 4 as a meal, or can be made as an appetizer for 8
In this recipe, a mixture of protein-rich quinoa, mint and vegetables is bound together with a nutty tahini sauce and then spooned into tender but sturdy leaves of butterhead lettuce. If you don’t like fiddling with folding lettuce leaves, you can serve them as cups, just like in the photographs. These lettuce wraps make for a satisfying, nutritious lunch or an attractive appetizer. Tahini is a ground sesame seed spread used in Middle Eastern cuisines. Look for tahini in the international section or the nut butter section of most large grocery stores.
For Lettuce Wraps
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked according to the package’s directions
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms caps, sliced into strips
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 red chile, seeds removed, chopped
- 6 breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. chopped mint
- 2 avocados
- juice of 1 lemon or lime
- 2 heads butterhead lettuce
For Tahini Sauce
- 1 lime
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/4 cup water
Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and toss in the shiitake mushroom slices. Cook for 5 minutes, until tender. Season the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. In a large bowl, toss the cooked mushrooms, the fresh scallions, chile, radishes and mint with the cooked quinoa. Zest 1 lime over the quinoa. Season the mixture to taste with a couple of pinches of salt.
Make the tahini sauce by whisking together the juice of 1 lime, tahini, soy sauce and honey. If necessary, add up to 1/4 cup water (a little at a time) to thin the sauce out until it just drips from the whisk, similar to the texture of ketchup. Stir the tahini sauce into the quinoa mixture to loosely bind it.
Make the lettuce wraps. Cut avocados in half and slice them into long strips. Brush the avocado slices with lime or lemon juice to prevent browning. To compose the lettuce wraps, place two slices of avocado in each piece of lettuce and top with a couple spoonful’s of the quinoa mixture. Serve the lettuce wraps open, as a little lettuce cup, or fold and pin them as a wrap with a toothpick. This dish tastes best at room temperature.
It’s best to compose the wraps just before serving. The quinoa-tahini mixture can be made ahead of time, but it will thicken in the fridge. Thin it out with a splash of soy sauce and then compose the lettuce wraps.