Mexican Taco Lettuce Wraps
I have a cooking class to teach on Monday and I chose a Mexican theme for our class this month. We have a nutrition and an exercise program at work, so my classes are pretty much always “with a healthy spin” to fit with our corporate healthy initiative … but yeah, it’s not like this healthy twist is a new thing for me. My mom is a (retired) Registered Dietitian, my dad an (also retired) engineer who loves to cook. Dad loves to read all the scientific studies about food and health, too, so sometimes you’ll find Dad supplanting Mom in the “expert on nutrition” role. It’s always interesting when that happens, but doesn’t cause too many riffs in the family.
Dad and I often have little “discussions” in the kitchen about the best way to approach things that, to an outsider, might appear to be an argument, but it’s really not. My Dad often has has good advice, so yes, I listen to him, but if I feel like I’ve got a good handle on it already, I have no qualms about throwing Dad’s advice out the window and I’ll come right out and tell him so. (But yet, I always call him whenever something breaks in the house or we’re working on a home improvement project. My dad is really a wealth of knowledge!)
Anyway, I digress. Because I am very limited on time for the cooking class, this is one of the recipes I’ll be featuring at the class as a healthy “make-at-work” lunch idea. You make the filling mixture ahead of time, heat it in the microwave, wrap it up in a nice crunchy lettuce leaf (or, depending on how hungry you are, two or three or maybe even four) and voila! You have an easy, delicious, and uber healthy lunch. Of course, you could use this filling in a tortilla for a more traditional taco or burrito, too, but I have to say, the crunchy romaine lettuce does make a very nice stand-in for a crunchy taco shell. The recipe is very versatile so don’t be scared to mix it up a bit to fit your own preferences or dietary restrictions.
By the way, I made this for my cooking class with just 8 minutes left to finish it and we made it! I did have the veggies all chopped ahead of time, but really, 8 minutes to dinner time seriously ROCKS!
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 - 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 jalapeno or other hot pepper (optional), seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup sweet corn
- 1/2 cup black beans (optional)
- 1 - 2 cups pre-cooked taco meat
- 1/2 - 1 cup shredded Mexican blend of cheeses
- Fresh romaine lettuce leaves (from the heart of the lettuce), for taco "shells"
- On the side: Fresh, chopped tomato, hot sauce and/or salsa, plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream), Guacamole, fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped zucchini, garlic and onion and saute until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the bell pepper and jalapeno and saute a few more minutes until the peppers are soft.
- Stir in the sweet corn, black beans and taco meat and cook until all is hot. Stir in about half the cheese and stir until melted.
- Scoop this hot mixture into your lettuce leaves, sprinkle with a little more shredded cheese and top with your choice of toppings. Enjoy!
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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