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Meatless Monday: Homemade soy chorizo and lentil lettuce wraps with cilantro cream

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Make your own soy chorizo, then serve it in crisp lettuce leaves — it's easy

My idea behind these lettuce wraps came from the savory appetizers I've had in a few Chinese restaurants. To keep things meatless, I combined homemade soy chorizo with lentils and some red bell pepper. Then I scooped the mixture into crisp, green lettuce leaves and topped them with a cilantro cream sauce. The flavors and textures of this dish are amazing, perfect to serve as a meatless starter.

So how do you make soy crumbles? If you didn't know, TVP stands for textured vegetable protein. Right about now you might be thinking, "translation, please." TVP is a soy product that is high in protein and fiber, doesn't have any fat, and it makes a great alternative to adding meat to your recipes (something vegans and vegetarians can appreciate).

Make your own soy chorizo, then serve it in crisp lettuce leaves — it's easy

TVP comes in dried flakes, and it's easy to rehydrate. I used hot vegetable broth for this recipe, but you can also use hot water. The end result is similar to prepackaged soy crumbles. Since you can season TVP however you like, I decided to re-create a Mexican-style chorizo sausage flavor for this Meatless Monday recipe for homemade soy chorizo and lentil lettuce wraps with cilantro cream.

Homemade soy chorizo and lentil lettuce wraps with cilantro cream recipe

It's not difficult to make your own soy chorizo. You can add your favorite seasonings to it like I did for this recipe. I was inspired by the lettuce wraps I've enjoyed in Asian restaurants and thought a meatless version with a Mexican flair would be tasty. Top these lettuce wraps with a cilantro cream for great flavor all around.

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10-15 minutes | Total time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

For the cilantro cream

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

For the soy chorizo and lettuce wraps

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried TVP
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili pepper powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup cooked or canned (drained and rinsed first) lentils
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, diced
  • 1 head bibb or butter lettuce (about 8-10 leaves), cleaned and dried, leaves kept whole

Directions:

For the cilantro cream

  1. Mince the garlic, and add the salt over it. On your cutting board, use the flat side of a knife to mash the garlic and salt into a paste.
  2. To a food processor, add the sour cream, garlic paste, black pepper, cilantro and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
  3. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the soy chorizo and lettuce wraps

  1. Microwave the vegetable broth until hot. Add the dried TVP to a medium bowl. Pour the hot vegetable broth over the TVP, and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. To another medium bowl, add all the dried seasonings and the soy sauce. Mix to combine.
  3. After the TVP has been rehydrated, add it to the seasonings, and mix well.
  4. To a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, and cook for 4 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute. Add the lentils and red bell pepper, then the TVP. Toss to combine. Cook for a few minutes so the lentils, peppers and TVP are heated through.
  5. Place the lettuce leaves onto a platter, and spoon 3 tablespoons of the mixture over each leaf.
  6. Drizzle the cilantro cream over the tops, and serve immediately.

Make your own soy chorizo — it's easy.

More Meatless Monday recipes

Creamy borscht with cucumber-dill sour cream
Corn and quinoa-stuffed poblano peppers with cilantro cream sauce
Cauliflower and zucchini hash with eggs

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