It’s pouring rain outside. Like not just a measly little drizzle either. No, it’s full on raining.
To top it off, my mom is coming to visit this weekend. Great. This is her first time coming down to see us since we moved and she’s getting quite the welcome. Thanks a lot gods.
So let’s escape this dreariness, shall we? How about we take a mini-vacay to the beach? Where we’re sippin’ pina coladas and not getting caught in the rain. Sounds pretty marvelous, don’t ya think?
We’ll be eating quinoa, of course. I mean it is from South America, which makes me dream of the beach… so, yeah.
Quinoa it is. Tropical quinoa lettuce wraps.
Don’t the colors immediately make you think you’re on a tropical island? Bright, sunny and fun.
Lime green. Bright yellow. Burnt orange. Palm tree green. Sea shell white.
Sounds like a winning combo to me. I need a bathing suit with this scheme!
Anywhoo, let’s get back to these tropical quinoa lettuce wraps. Now if you’re a Whole Foods shopper then you might have seen the insane deal on mangos last week. Ten mangos for $5.00. If you’re math challenged that’s only $.50 a mango!! You better believe I snapped up ten for myself.
Then I proceeded to have a staring contest with my fruit bowl for a few hours, wondering what on earth I was going to make with ten mangos. I dreaded my decision, them embraced it and turned to the obvious choice. Quinoa. When in doubt…
I wanted to make a dinner that reminded me of something you would eat on a Caribbean island. I was thinking tacos with a mango salsa, but then thought otherwise, because if I’m in a bathing suit, I’m not trying to eat something that will likely leave me bloated and stuffed to the brim.
Well let me just say, I don’t want to smash all tacos here. Fish tacos are definitely a great option if you’re looking for something supercharged with flavor, but still nice and light. Fish tacos are a fave around here. Beef tacos on the other hand? Not so much (for me at least). The tummy would not be thanking me.
So I settled on lettuce wraps.
One, it’s like eating a taco without the carbs.
Two, they’re easy to eat, easy to make and taste awesome.
Three, they’re totally tropical.
Am I right, or am I right?
These lettuce wraps were a huge hit in our house. Probably because they were stuffed with a delicious tropical quinoa salad made from perfectly ripened mangos and soft avocados. Dressed with a hint of lime juice and sprinkled with chili powder, this salad was precisely the light, flavorful dish of my Caribbean dreams.
I would have happily enjoyed my wraps sans meat, but for Matt, no meal is complete without a little added protein. So we quickly grilled up some chicken tenders, just dusted them with salt and pepper, and tossed it on the top of each wrap. Of course, we needed some Frank’s to kick these babies up a notch. Where would I be without my hot sauce?
These tropical quinoa lettuce wraps make the perfect spring meal, and will brighten your evening with their lively color and bold flavors. Make sure to make leftovers because they make a wonderful light lunch the next day.
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 2 small mangos, pitted, peeled and diced
- 1 avocados, pitted and diced
- ¼ cup cilantro or parsley, finely chopped (cilantro would be better)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 - 10 leaves of butter lettuce
- Grilled chicken (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional, but highly recommended!)
- Bring the quinoa and water to boil in a small sauce pot. Cover and reduce to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, and keep covered for another 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a mixing bowl. Let cool for 10 - 15 minutes (or pop it in the fridge for 5 - 10 minutes).
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing. Whisk the lime juice, oil, vinegar, honey, and spices together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Once the quinoa has cooled, add the mangoes, avocado and herbs. Toss together until combined. Pour dressing over the salad and mix until coated.
- Scoop the quinoa salad into the lettuce leaves, top with grilled chicken and hot sauce (if using).