Thursday, August 4, 2011

Romaine Lettuce: Hard-working Bread Substitute

Bread is a thing of the past, for some of us, not only for gluten sensitivity or intolerance, but because it's often wasted calories.  Wheat used to be more nutritious many years ago before our food supply became industrialized, but nowadays, eating bread just means eating more
starchy carbs with little fiber or protein.

So the challenge is to use great foods in place of wheat products.  Romaine lettuce is one of those great foods, and to be honest, I've fallen in love with it.   It makes salads extraordinary, of course.  But to use it only for salads is selling it short, because the thick, crunchy leaves also work in place of sandwiches, tortillas, and rice too!   

Romaine lettuce is quite nutritious as well.  Would you be surprised to know it's an excellent food source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, manganese, and chromium -- that is, if you ate two cups of it.  It's also a pretty good source of Vitamins B1 and B2, molybdenum, iron, and phosphate.  Not bad for a lettuce, right?   

I keep romaine washed and stored in a big plastic bin in the fridge --  ready to go for any of my favorite ways to eat it: 

Lettuce wrap-ups.  Fill a big romaine leaf with any kind of sandwich filling, and wrap the biggest part of the leaf around the filling:
  • turkey and cheese
  • chicken salad or tuna salad
  • avocado and tomato
  • almond butter and apple slices 

Chips and Dips.  Use the inner crunchiest (and smaller) leaves like chips, for dips of any kind.

Tortillas.  Use a romaine leaf in place of a tortilla or taco shell by adding any kind of meat/spice filling, salsa, beans, and cilantro. 

Pasta or Rice.  Chop one or two big leaves of romaine (or any lettuce) and add a 'bed" to your plate or bowl before adding the main dish that's a stew or sauce of any kind.  I often do this when eating out from a hot table, in place of rice or other carbs.

If you have any creative ways of using romaine, I'd love to hear from you.

Adele Sonora
Nutrition and Health Educator
B.S. Nutrition Science

No comments:

Post a Comment