Áine Carlin’s romaine lettuce wraps with spicy coconut chickpeas and zesty cauli-rice

Goodness, these are good. I know that lettuce wraps reek of dullness but these are too tasty to be ignored. I recommend getting the biggest, most badass romaine you can find – lacklustre leaves really won’t do here. It’s also crucial to let the chickpeas cool slightly before assembling the wraps, otherwise you might have end up with a droop situation on your hands.

romaine lettuce wraps
Danielle Wood


1 head of romaine lettuce, leaves separated

1 small head of cauliflower, broken into florets
large bunch of fresh coriander
2 spring onions
grated zest and juice of ½ large lemon
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
30g toasted flaked almonds
30g raisins or chopped apricots
black pepper

1 heaped teaspoon coconut oil
2 shallots, finely sliced
230g canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 heaped teaspoon tomato purée
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
125ml canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon sambal olek (or other chilli paste)
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander, plus extra to serve
sea salt flakes and black pepper

1 ripe avocado
juice of ½ lemon
40ml canned coconut milk
small handful of dill, finely chopped
sea salt flakes and black pepper

1. To make the cauli-rice, add the cauliflower florets to a food processor with the coriander, spring onions, lemon zest, cumin and salt. Pulse together to form a nubbly, coarse ‘rice’, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the flaked almonds, raisins and lemon juice and stir to combine. Check for seasoning, stir and set aside until needed.

2. For the spicy coconut chickpeas, heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the shallots and sauté. for 3–4 minutes until translucent. Add the chickpeas and smoked paprika, lightly season with salt and pepper and sauté for 1–2 minutes, then stir in the tomato purée and cherry tomatoes. Pour over the coconut milk and a splash of water, bring to a simmer and cook, covered witha lid, for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have begun to soften.

3. Stir through the sambal olek and continue to simmer for 3–4 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Stir through the coriander, then remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes to cool (you want to serve this warm not piping hot).

4. Meanwhile, make the crema by mashing the avocado in a bowl with a fork until smooth. Add the lemon juice, coconut milk and dill, season generously and mix together until thick and creamy.

5. To assemble the wraps, spread the lettuce leaves first with the crema, then layer over
a generous amount of cauli-rice and top with a spoonful of the warm chickpeas. Scatter over a final smattering of coriander to finish.

Recipe from Cook Share Eat Vegan: Delicious plant-based recipes for Everyone by Áine Carlin, published by Mitchell Beazley, RRP £20