Lettuce wraps? Underrated. Sure, they’re a healthier option than a carb-y tortilla, but they’re also crisp, cool and refreshing. Food blogger Alex Snodgrass of The Defined Dish, author of the new cookbook The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes, is in agreement. Her oven-baked chicken kofta wraps are going on our short list.
“Kofta is a Middle Eastern dish,” she explains, “made from ground lamb or beef mixed with warm spices like paprika, cumin, allspice and cinnamon. The mixture is shaped into balls or patties, grilled and served with pita salads, dips and sauces.” They’re typically skewered and cooked on a grill, but it can be tricky getting them to hold together, so Snodgrass developed her recipe to be baked in the oven to make it practically foolproof.
“I love serving mine in lettuce cups filled with cucumbers, tomatoes and a delicious lemon-garlic aioli,” she continues.
Oh, and we should mention: They’re gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, paleo, Whole30 and, most important, delicious.
Excerpted from The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes © 2019 by Alex Snodgrass. Photography ©2019 by Kristen Kilpatrick. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce
1 small yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 pound ground chicken thigh
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup mayonnaise
Grated zest of ½ lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 head butter lettuce
1 hothouse cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into thin slices
2 ripe tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1. Make the Chicken Kofta: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the onion, parsley and garlic. Process until the onion and parsley are finely minced, almost to a pulp. Transfer to a sieve or fine-mesh strainer. Press down on the mixture with the back of a spoon, draining off any excess liquid.
3. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken breast, ground chicken thigh, egg, salt, paprika, cumin, allspice, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Add the onion-parsley mixture to the bowl and begin kneading the mixture with your hands. After a few minutes, it will have a sticky, paste-like consistency.
4. Scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets into 2½ tablespoon balls, spacing them about 1½ inches apart. With damp hands, flatten the tops of the koftas and round out the sides, forming them into uniform patties. (Damp hands help make working with the sticky, paste-like meat easier.)
5. Bake until the kofta patties are cooked through, or no longer pink when cut through the center, and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the koftas slightly before assembling the wraps.
6. Make the Lemon-Garlic Aioli: In a small bowl, combine the mayo, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Stir until well combined.
7. To Assemble: Place the koftas in lettuce cups and add cucumber, tomato and red onion. Top with the lemon-garlic aioli.
Note: I keep my kofta wraps Whole30-approved by serving mine in lettuce cups; however, my kids enjoy theirs in pita pockets!