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April 13, 2013

by Alyssa Rimmer

Tropical Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

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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?

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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!

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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…

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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?

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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.

Tropical Quinoa Lettuce Wraps

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.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10 Wraps
Calories 119kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
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Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoTropical Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Mango + Grilled Chicken | www.simplyquinoa.com
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  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 small mangos pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1 avocados pitted and diced
  • 1/4 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 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).


gluten-free | dairy-free | vegan (optional)


Serving: 2g | Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 18.5mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.8mg

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. […] I discovered that lettuce and other leafy veggies can replace tortillas as wraps thanks to the Tropical Quinoa Lettuce Wraps posted by Queen of Quinoa last year. YES, wraps were instantly back in my life!  **Side note […]

  2. […] Row 4: Pineapple Chicken Kabobs, Pineapple Grilled Chicken, Paleo Jalepeno Chicken Burgers, Tropical Quinoa Lettuce Wraps […]

  3. These look so healthy and yummy – a perfect lunchtime dish! I may have to try it with the fish. And I would much rather be eating them on a beach, but I suppose that’s just a dream. 😉

  4. YUM, I have been soo obsessed with lettuce wraps lately. Been putting everything in them. I plan to share my most favorite one on the blog next week. I haven’t yet put quinoa in my wraps – what is wrong with me? haha


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