When the warm breeze blowing into my apartment brings spring fever, portable meals become an obsession of mine. My goal is food that can be put together in ten minutes to tote to the nearest park and yet, despite the speed, provides a complete meal of protein, whole-grain carbs and fresh vegetables.
For completeness, the protein part is easy. Mostly, I reach for sliced turkey breast, some kind of cheese, or eggs cooked into a pancake-flat omelet. With all the truly whole-grain breads now commercially available, including oatmeal, multi-grains, dark rye and sour dough breads, making a sandwich would seem the logical way to add the carbs. But sandwiches piled generously with vegetables are bulky and messy to eat, dropping bits of cucumber or roasted pepper in my lap. To assure that a portable meal contributes significantly toward my goal of nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables, this means augmenting the modest amount in a tidy sandwich with a separate container of veggies. Sometimes I do this, but more often, I whip up a neat wrap.
Wraps are great for holding firmly in place a half-cup serving or more of vegetables, fruit and even nuts. Rolled and covered in plastic wrap, a wrap fits nicely into a handbag, backpack, even a large pocket. With a bottle of tea or water, I am set to dine out.
Key to a good wrap is keeping the wrapper supple so it does not crack or tear. To achieve this, cover it with a moist spread. Besides cream cheese, mayonnaise, or mustard, depending on the fillings you use, try chutney, thick Greek-style yogurt mixed with dried herbs, sour cream, or a thick salad dressing like low-fat ranch or Russian. After adding turkey or chicken breast, or some other high-quality protein, be adventurous when you fill the center of the wrap, perhaps adding a thin pickle spear, dried fruit, or nuts.
The finished wrap can sit wrapped in plastic about an hour. Some cooks store them in the refrigerator overnight, but the success of doing this depends on the amount of sandwich spread used, which might make the wrap somewhat soggy. Depending on their filling, the flavor of some wraps might improve when refrigerated overnight. Experiment with your favorite wraps and fillings to see what technique works best for you.
Turkey Wrap with Dried Cranberries
-Makes 1 serving
- 1 10-inch whole-wheat-wrap or burrito-size tortilla
- 2 tsp. “honey” or “hot-and-sweet” mustard
- 2 tsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves, lightly packed
- 3 oz. thinly-sliced roast turkey breast
- 4 slices (about 1/8) Golden Delicious apple
- 1 Tbsp. chopped pecans
- 1 Tbsp. dried cranberries, chopped
Heat a heavy, medium skillet over medium-high heat. (An iron skillet is perfect for this purpose.) Warm wrap or tortilla in the pan until it is pliable and very lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Turn and heat for 30 seconds. Transfer the tortilla to a cutting board or a large plate.
Mix together the mustard and mayonnaise and spread the mixture over the tortilla, leaving a one-inch border around the edge. Arrange the spinach leaves on top. Cover the spinach with the turkey. Lay the apple slices across the middle in a row. Sprinkle the pecans and cranberries on top of the apple.
Lift up the bottom edge of the tortilla and, working in the direction away from you, roll up the tortilla as tightly as possible. Serve immediately, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 12 hours. Bring wrap to room temperature before serving.
Per serving: 331 calories, 9 g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat), 40 g. carbohydrate, 30 g. protein, 5 g. dietary fiber, 396 mg. sodium.
“Something Different” is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.