As much as we love cooking together as a couple, we’re at our happiest cooking with or for other people. There’s something about chatting away while chopping veggies that just feels right. The past few years, we’ve involved friends in our cooking process for A Couple Cooks, inviting them over to cook, taste test, hang out while we shoot (and if they’re lucky, hand-model), and finally, eat — though it’s usually cold by that time! Adding community to our cooking process and sharing it with others makes it many times more enjoyable.
Our friend Russell has participated in a few cooking and shooting sessions with us (here’s his hand), and he claims he’s our “biggest fan” — though we’d argue it’s the reverse. He’s an engineer, a runner, and a passionate cook who’s always whipping up something new, always healthy and many times vegetarian. We joked a while back about him contributing a recipe to our blog, and several weeks later, he cooked it with us in our kitchen. This guy delivers.
These are Russell’s lettuce wraps, and it would be no exaggeration to say these are one of the best lettuce wraps I’ve tried. The combination of guacamole, spicy chipotle black beans, and mango salsa is an explosion of flavor and textures. For a lettuce wrap, they’re surprisingly filling, and you can’t beat the health factor: full of nutrients and accommodating for many diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy free). While it did take a bit of time in the kitchen to put together all the components, it was time well spent. It’s a great option for a dinner with friends, or just a night in — perhaps to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!
Thanks to Russell for the delicious recipe; we are so grateful to have you in our lives!
- Mango salsa
- ½ large red onion
- 1 green pepper
- 1 ½ cups corn (frozen or fresh)
- 15-ounce can black beans
- 7-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (1 pepper + 1½ tablespoons adobo sauce; omit the pepper if desired)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 2 heads Bibb lettuce
- Make the mango salsa and guacamole.
- Dice ½ red onion and 1 green pepper; place them in a bowl with 1 ½ cup corn. Drain and rinse 1 can black beans. Mince 1 chipotle chili pepper (if using).
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add red onion, green pepper, and corn, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add black beans and 1 teaspoon each oregano, cumin, paprika, liquid smoke, and kosher salt, and a few grinds fresh ground pepper. Add ¾ cup water and let simmer until water cooks down, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the lettuce leaves and wash and dry the lettuce.
- To serve, spread guacamole on a lettuce leaf, then top with black bean filling and mango salsa.