(MEATLESS MONDAYS/VEGAN RECIPES) If you’ve ever thought that vegan food was boring, we’ve got a recipe that will change your mind. For today’s Meat-Free Monday Challenge, we’ve got a spicy fiesta lettuce wrap! As always, happy eating!— Global Animal

Photo Credit: Hungry Herbaviore, E

Hungry Herbivore

Sweet, sour, spicy, salty and vinegar… I remember first learning the Five Taste Buds through “The Magic School Bus” as a child. Now that I have lived with my taste buds for over two decades, I’ve come to realize that my two dominant tongue-sections are, without a doubt, “spicy” and “salty.” Luckily, my summer roommate shares this gastronomic preference; we’ve had some great cooking adventures, as a result.

These spicy little munchies pack all the savory heat and flavor that Juls and I adore, underscored by the cool crunch of Romaine and mellow nuttiness of avocado. In short, this sunshine-and-sea flavor mix absolutely screams summertime. Plus, they’re laughably easy (healthy, too)!

The onion, jalapenos, bell peppers, broccoli and corn just happen to be the veggies that we had in our apartment. I encourage you to experiment and tailor this recipe to your own botanical preferences; I’m sure zucchini would be fantastic in here, especially since it is very much in season. Carrots would be nice, as well. Go crazy!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, sliced and seeded to your preference
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets, cut into itty bitty pieces
  • 1 can black beans, liquid drained
  • 1 can corn, liquid drained
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • (optional—we tossed one in because we’re obsessed) 1 Tofurkey sausage, cooked and cut into little bits
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning. We used the premade kind from Trader Joe’s, but it’s really just sea salt, cumin, chili and cayenne mixed together. We like lots of salt and spice, so it worked just fine, but I encourage you to self-season if you’d like a little more control over the heat and flavor.
  • 1 mostly-ripe avocado, cut into rough cubes
  • The juice of 1 Lime
  • Whole romaine leaves, rinsed and cut in half, width-wise


In a large pan, on medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until it just starts to turn clear (about 2 minutes). Add the jalapenos, cook for about one minute, and then add the broccoli and bell peppers. When the broccoli first starts to flush a beautiful, healthy green, add a couple of pinches of the seasoning, and stir about to help the flavor set.

After that, add the corn, black beans, and sausage (assuming you’re using it), as well as the rest of the seasoning, and continue to cook over medium heat for about five minutes. Stir in the rice, and let cook an additional three minutes; adding the rice last will prevent it from becoming mushy, while still allowing it to soak up the flavors of the dish.

When everything is cooked as you like it (a good indication is the color of the jalapeno; it should be a rich, earthy green when fully tender), turn off the heat, and let cool a bit as you cut up the avocado. Place the avocado in a small bowl, and squeeze the juice of the lime on top of it.

Spoon the veggie-and-rice mixture into the romaine leaves to serve. Plop some avocado on top of these little summer treats… savor and enjoy!

Oh, and because of the heavy spice content, the veggie mix keeps in the fridge for up to a week… I just had it for lunch

Recipe Courtesy: Hungry Herbivore

More Hungry Herbivore: http://hungryherbivore.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/vegan-fiesta/

Learn more about the Meat-Free Mondays Challenge!