Learn how to make vegetarian Mexican lettuce wraps in just 15-minutes. This is a healthy and low carb dinner idea that’s perfect for busy weeknights. Lettuce makes an easy and delicious shell alternative for taco night, and black beans provide protein in place of the meat. This recipe creates a delicious, health conscious lunch or dinner for anyone who’s a fan of Mexican food and watching caloric intake.
Mexican Lettuce Wraps
Weeknights are always busy, and standing at the stove is the last thing I want to be doing after working all day. These black bean lettuce wraps are a quick and easy dinner idea. They are low carb and vegetarian, so they make a healthy dinner even without spending a lot of time cooking.
Although these Mexican lettuce wraps aren’t exactly like a taco, I like to think of them as a taco replacement. I add a mayonnaise based dressing, but you can make these low carb taco lettuce wraps without for more of a taco flavor.
This is a no bake meal. Therefore they are quick and easy to make on a busy weeknight. You can prepare the lettuce a few days in advance if you meal prep. The filling can also be prepared in advance. However, the avocado should be made just before serving as it can turn brown.
Are Lettuce Wraps Healthy?
Lettuce wraps are are generally considered a healthy meal option. However, this also depends on what you put inside your lettuce wraps. Lettuce has fewer calories than bread or taco shells, so they are a healthy substitute. These vegetarian Mexican lettuce wraps have avocado, black beans, tomatoes and corn, so I consider them a healthier meal choice than tacos filled with red meat and cheese.
A serving of four lettuce wraps, prepared as indicated, has just 387 calories per serving with 8 grams of protein and 17 net carbs.
Are Lettuce Wraps Good for Weight Loss?
Swapping bread or taco shells for low carb taco lettuce wraps will save you carbohydrates and calories. If your weight loss plan includes cutting carbs or calories, then eating black bean lettuce wraps may help you. As Mexican lettuce wraps are both a low calorie and a low carb food, they may help you reach your weight loss goals.
Do Lettuce Wraps Have Carbs?
Lettuce has 1 gram of carbohydrates with 0.5 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. The wraps are low carb, but the ingredients that you add may not be low carb. Corn, for example, is higher in carbs than most other vegetables. However, the fiber in most vegetables generally reduces the net carbs so they are keto friendly.
What is the Best Lettuce for Lettuce Wraps?
I recommend using butter lettuce to make vegetarian Mexican lettuce wraps. It has a good texture and holds its shape well to make a substitute for a taco shell. This type of lettuce also has a mild flavor that makes it a great option when making tacos. It’s not as crunchy as iceberg lettuce, however it is easier to fold over to make a taco.
Butter lettuce has a wide leaf that has a round shape. This helps create almost a bowl for you to create your Mexican lettuce wraps. The leaves are heavy enough to support your toppings, including any meat if you decide to add it.
If you can’t find butter lettuce, then you can use iceberg, Romaine lettuce or baby gem. Iceberg is easy to find at most grocery stores and has a nice crunch to make lettuce wraps. Romaine lettuce has a small leaf, so you’ll need to use the outer leaves. Baby gems are good for mini Mexican lettuce wraps.
How Do You Crisp Lettuce?
Since the lettuce replaces taco shells in these low carb taco lettuce wraps, you’ll want to ensure that the lettuce wraps are crisp. Here’s how to prepare your lettuce so that it is nice and crisp:
- Snap off the core of a head of butter lettuce. Cut around the core to remove it completely.
- The leaves will start to separate on their own. Separate any leaves that did not separate.
- Put the lettuce leaves in a bowl of cold water and rinse until the water is clean.
- Use a salad spinner to dry the leaves.
- After the salad spinner, place the leaves on a paper towel to remove any excess water.
- Use the lettuce right away or spread the leaves of paper towels and place in a resealable bag. You can store them for up to three days to make low carb taco lettuce wraps.
What Goes With Mexican Lettuce Wraps?
These vegetarian Mexican lettuce wraps make a great meal on their own. However, you can also serve them with your favorite Mexican side dishes like nachos and salsa or Mexican rice. Here are my favorite side dishes to serve with these black bean lettuce wraps:
- Black Beans (Or Black Beans and Rice)
- Avocado Salad
- Authentic Mexican Guacamole
- Stuffed Avocado
- Mexican-Style Rice
- Pico de Gallo
- Mexican Coleslaw
- Cauliflower Rice
- Grilled Shrimp (As a non-vegetarian option)
- Homemade Tortilla Chips
Tips for the Best Low Carb Taco Lettuce Wraps
These black bean lettuce wraps are fairly easy to make, but here are some tips to help you make them:
- Wash the lettuce and make sure that it is completely dry so that it stays crisp.
- You can prepare the lettuce up to 3 days in advance.
- Use butter lettuce, romaine lettuce or iceberg lettuce.
- Sprinkle chili flakes on top of your vegetarian Mexican lettuce wraps for some heat if desired.
Substitutions and Variations for Black Bean Lettuce Wraps
Although these low carb taco lettuce wraps are delicious on their own, you can make substitutions and variations to create your own dish. Try one of these variations:
- Add ground beef or shredded pork if desired.
- Top with homemade guacamole instead of adding avocado.
- I like the mayonnaise based dressing, but you can omit it if desired.
- You can add more vegetables or omit vegetables based on your tastes.
How to Serve Vegetarian Mexican Lettuce Wraps
I eat these low carb taco lettuce wraps similar to a taco. However, you can also make the filling and eat it as a sandwich or one a wrap. It would also be delicious to top nacho chips with. You can also serve it as a cold dip for tortilla chips.
In addition you can also serve these vegetarian Mexican lettuce wraps with additional toppings. Here are some additional topping suggestions to tantalize your taste buds:
- Diced Red Onion
- Traditional Mexican Guacamole
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Conita Cheese
- Chipotle Mayo
- Cotija Cheese
- Fresh Mango Chunks
Vegetarian Lettuce Wrap Ingredients
To make these black bean lettuce wraps, you will need the following ingredients:
- Butter lettuce leaves
- Black beans
- Yellow corn
- Olive oil
How to Make Mexican Lettuce Wraps
Follow these steps to make low carb taco lettuce wraps:
- Begin by removing the core from the head of lettuce. Then carefully remove the lettuce leaves, so they are whole and intact, and wash. Dry the lettuce in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Then gently pat dry with paper towels to remove any remaining water. Set the lettuce leaves aside.
- Now prepare the vegetables. Cut the ends off the onion. Then cut in half and remove the onion skin. Dice half the onion into small pieces. Then cut the ends off the tomatoes and dice. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise using a sharp knife and remove the pit. Then use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the avocado peel. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Drain the cans of black beans and corn. Remove the cilantro from the stems and roughly chop.
- Next, place combine all the ingredients, minus the lettuce leaves and cilantro, in a large bowl. Stir until all the ingredients are evenly coated.
- Now place twelve of the lettuce leaves onto a tray or serving dish. Fill the lettuce with the black bean filling mixture.
- Finally, top the black bean lettuce wraps with the chopped cilantro. Then serve immediately.
You can store the ingredients for the filling in the refrigerator, separate from the lettuce, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Be sure to store the filling in an airtight container. To reheat, simply warm the ingredients to room temperature on the stovetop or the microwave, if desired, prior to plating on the lettuce leaves.
To make this dish ahead of time, combine all the ingredients, as directed, minus the avocado. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days prior to serving. Then mix the avocado into the mixture once you’re ready to enjoy this tasty vegetarian dish.
- 12 Lettuce leaves
- ½ Can black beans, drained
- ½ Can yellow corn, drained
- ½ Red onion
- 1 Ripe avocado
- 2 Tomatoes
- ¼ Cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- Cilantro leaves (from several stems as garnish)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Remove the core of the head of lettuce. Remove lettuce leaves and wash. Dry in a salad spinner and then with paper towels. Set aside.
- Dice the onion and tomato into small pieces. Cut the avocado flesh into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Place all ingredients, except lettuce leaves and cilantro, in a large bowl. Stir to coat.
- Place lettuce pieces on a tray and top with the filling mixture.
- Top with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.
Serving Size:4 lettuce wraps
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 757mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 12gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g
More Mexican Recipes
For more Mexican recipes to enjoy for a tasty lunch or dinner, try these other meal ideas for Mexican inspired food and drinks:
- Guacamole Quesadillas
- Authentic Mexican Guacamole
- Mexican Watermelon Jicama Salad
- Frozen Mango Margaritas
- Authentic Mexican Pozole Rojo Recipe