This is what happens when hot, crunchy ‘chicken’ tenders are wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves and topped with blue cheese, jalapenos, red onion and dill pickles, then drizzled with spicy buffalo sauce and cool ranch! Mmmm… brings your game higher. It’s easy because the crispy tenders are already done. You just have to bake them for 16 to 20 minutes, assemble and go! You get special bonus points when your tenders are vegan and guilt free like these from Gardein. Did I mention that this is good ballgame food?
I received a box of frozen goodies from the nice folks at Meatless Monday as a promotion for Gardein, a company that makes meat substitutes. In their words, “We are insanely passionate about helping the world eat less meat.” I was thrilled to see quite a nice sampling of veggie burgers, meatballs, chicken sliders, chicken strips and chicken tenders. They were generous enough to send me about a dozen items. In return, I needed to come up with a recipe using one of their products. I had never tried any of their products so this was going to be fun – I hoped.
The 7 Grain Crispy Tenders was the first product I tried. Wow, I really liked them! I’m embarrassed to admit that somehow I ended up eating almost the whole bag. I don’t usually love meat substitutes but in this case, I was sold. My family, usually squeamish about food that is said with air quotes, also declared this a winner. I actually caught my husband later, eating the tenders plain, right off the tray. If that isn’t proof right there, I don’t know what is.
So, what (might you ask) are the 7 grains and what are the tenders? The tenders are primarily soy protein and vital wheat gluten with various whole grains, vegetable proteins and fibers, flavorings and spices. The coating is a combination of enriched wheat flour, rice flour, oat bran, oats, quinoa flour, amaranth flour, millet flour and KAMUT® khorasan wheat. Two tenders are 100 calories and contain 8 grams of protein. For more nutritional information click HERE To find other great products made by Gardein click HERE To get a $1 coupon for Gardein products, click HERE
I based this recipe on the classic party food, buffalo chicken wings, and visualized these crispy vegan tenders inside crisp and clean lettuce cups with all the usual things you would find on a party tray, like blue cheese, carrots, pickles, jalapenos and of course, buffalo wing sauce and ranch. I like to make a self-serve bar, so people can ‘decorate’ their plates as they wish. Or you can make up a tray yourself. Be forewarned that these are as messy as any lettuce cups and provide lots of napkins.
TIPS: To make your prep even easier, pick up a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw and pre-crumbled blue cheese or pre-shredded pepper jack cheese, if using. You may want to buy two heads of lettuce to ensure that you have enough large leaves and then use the smaller inside leaves for something else. Pre-made buffalo sauce and ranch dressings are easy to find as well.
Buffalo ‘Chicken’ Lettuce Wraps
- 1 Tbsn olive oil or olive oil spray
- 1 12 oz package Gardein 7 Grain Chicken Tenders
- 1 large head Boston or Red Leaf Lettuce (about 12 leaves)
- 1/3 cup buffalo sauce
- 1/3 cup ranch dressing (optional)
- 2 cups Shredded cabbage and carrot
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles or shredded pepper jack cheese
- dill pickles, sliced or chopped or black olives, sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced or chopped
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced or chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Spray or brush a baking sheet with olive oil (optional, but made them really crispy)Place chicken tenders in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 16 to 18 minutes in a 430 degree oven. Turn once halfway through.
- While the tenders are cooking, prepare your condiments and toppings.
- Wash and shake lettuce dry. Carefully remove whole leaves for serving.
- Remove tenders from oven and let cool slightly, serve whole or cut into thirds, then place on a serving tray if desired
- Place several tenders in a lettuce leaf and top with pickles, jalapenos, onion and cheese. Drizzle with buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.
Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps