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Lettuce Leaf Tacos with Mango

April 28, 2012

This really isn’t an actual recipe, more of a quick, easy, healthy, and adaptable idea for a light summer lunch or dinner. We enjoyed ours a few minutes ago on the patio, and now are set up out here with our laptops and water pitcher for a few hours of fresh air. I may have mentioned this before, but I love that our patio is covered, so we can use it on rainy days or when the temperature is nicer in the shade than in the sun. We’ve definitely moved from spring warmth to summer heat recently in Alabama!

Anyway, we got a huge, sturdy head of romaine lettuce in our CSA box this week, and some honey mangoes jumped into my husband’s basket at the store a few days ago. I’ve been wanting to wrap fillings up in lettuce for a while, but the past two CSA varieties’ leaves weren’t big or strong enough. I really like the idea of lettuce leaves as nutritious, flourless, grain-free, gluten-free alternative to tortillas and bread. And as a creative way to sneak extra vegetables into meals.

Obviously there is plenty of room for variation on these! We threw them together pretty quickly today because we were hungry, but you could certainly get creative and adapt them millions of ways, or set out a whole spread of fixin’s to serve them to guests.

Lettuce Leaf Tacos with Mango

6 large, sturdy romaine lettuce leaves

2 small honey mangoes, chopped

2 cups cooked black, red, or pinto beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)

1 cup (or more) cooked brown rice

1 avocado, sliced


Mix and match toppings of your choice:

Fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice

Salt, pepper

Chopped cilantro, parsley, lime basil, or other herbs

Sauteed onions, bell peppers, corn, and/or mushrooms

Chopped macadamias or almonds

Sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds

Tabasco sauce or salsa

Newman’s Own Lite Lime Vinaigrette, or a homemade dressing

Diced jicama, cucumber, raw bell peppers, red onion, black olives, sliced carrots, or other vegetables

Tofu baked with seasonings or BBQ sauce and diced

Cooked lentils (I recently saw two servings of packaged, pre-cooked black belugas in the rice aisle at our Target)

Asian ingredients like rice vinegar, tamari, miso, and/or seaweed to create sort of deconstructed sushi lettuce rolls


1. Lay the lettuce leaves flat on your plate. Top with layers of rice, beans, mango chunks, and avocado slices. Alternately, stir all your toppings together in a bowl and then scoop the mixture onto the lettuce leaves.

2. Fold up the back/bottom of the leaf, and then fold the sides up and wrap them around the toppings so you have sort of a taco/burrito/wrap to hold in your hand. Yes, this is messy. But then again, you’ll probably be eating them in good company. Maybe not great first-date fare though. :)

Serves 2 for a light meal of 3 “tacos” each.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

katie September 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

these look great. i can’t wait to try them.
i always forget about using leaves for wraps.


granolagrits September 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I always forget about leaves as wraps too! But they totally work for lots of things. I hope you like these if you try them! They were super simple and came together in no time, really, perfect for a family! Thank you for visiting, so glad to hear your thoughts! :)


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