What is a Lettuce Wrap?

Escarole can work well in a lettuce wrap.

Lettuce wraps are similar to sandwich wraps, but they use lettuce instead of flatbread to contain the other ingredients. Any type of sandwich can be made as a lettuce wrap, and several different types of lettuce can be used. Iceberg lettuce is a popular choice, as the leaves tend to be solid and crispy, although large, flexible romaine lettuce leaves are also suitable for wrapping. Other lettuce varieties, such as the somewhat bitter endive, can also be a good choice for certain types of wraps. Due to the fact that no baked goods are used in making a lettuce wrap, these sandwich substitutes tend to be lower in calories and carbs than other similar options.

Sandwich wraps have been popular since the 1980s, although lettuce has been used as a bread substitute in certain circumstances for even longer. The term wrap wasn’t used until the 1980s, but some restaurants served hamburgers with lettuce in place of buns as early as the 1970s. These early examples typically used two lettuce leaves that weren’t necessarily wrapped around the fillings, though the basic concept were the same. Many products that are sold as lettuce wrappers still use this sandwich-like method, especially when certain lettuce varieties are used.

There are many different types of lettuce wraps, as almost any type of sandwich, or sandwich wrap, can use lettuce instead of bread. Traditional sandwich materials such as meat and cheese can be used to make a lettuce wrap, as can chicken salad and other foods commonly used as sandwich fillings. You can also use a wide variety of different lettuces, although iceberg is one of the most common choices. Iceberg lettuce tends to be tough and crunchy, which can make it a good substitute for bread. More traditional wraps, which actually involve wrapping lettuce around the fillings rather than just using two leaves to make a sandwich, often use lettuce and other leafy varieties.

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The two main differences between a lettuce bag and a sandwich bag, aside from taste, are calorie and carbohydrate content. Lettuce is very low in calories and carbohydrates, while bread tends to be much higher on the glycemic index. This means that a lettuce wrap can be a good substitute for someone who is on a low carb diet or needs to take care of their carbs or calorie intakes for other reasons.

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