As soon as you see the way this lettuce grows, you’ll understand why it got the name Tennis Ball Lettuce. Similar to Boston lettuce, it grows in small, round, green rosettes that look just like tennis balls, but much tastier. At the turn of the century, this silky lettuce was one of the most popular types available. As far back as the 17th century, it was common to pickle it in salt brine the way cabbage leaves are sometimes pickled to this day.
Who doesn’t like a DIY dinner? These lettuce wraps are the perfect way to enjoy protein and veggies all in one bite, wrapped in a delicious Tennis Ball lettuce leaf. Serve with steamed brown rice on the side, but don’t be surprised if a spoonful of rice ends up in the wrap too!
Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Servings: 4-6 servings
Active: 30 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey, chicken, bison, beef, pork, or chickpeas (as shown in the photo)
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp grated ginger (about a 1-inch knob)
- 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 red pepper, cut into small cubes
- 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
- 1 zucchini, cut into small cubes
- 10-12 Tennis Ball lettuce leaves, washed and dried, left whole
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and cook, breaking apart the meat as it browns, until turkey is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon oil (or enough to coat the pan), and add the scallions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil; stir to combine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add peppers, carrots, zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Return ground turkey to the pan and stir to combine. Top with fresh cilantro and place in a large serving bowl. Serve family style, allowing diners to scoop as much turkey as they’d like into their individual wrap.
Recipe and food photography by Andrea Branchini, @dabblingchef
If you’re interested in growing Tennis Ball Lettuce, you can order seeds from Native Seeds. Alternatively, you can order the Ark of Taste Collection with 6 packets of seeds, including Tennis Ball Lettuce.