Black Bean and Veggie Lettuce Wraps

If you like cooking with fresh onions, but frequently toss an unused portion, try freezing them!

The following method works for fully mature onions:

Wash, peel and chop raw, fully mature onions into about 1/2-inch pieces. There is no need to blanch onions.

Bag and freeze in freezer bags for best quality and odor protection. Package — flat — in freezer bags to hasten freezing and make it easier to break off sections as needed. Express out the air and place bags on cookie sheets or metal pans until onions are frozen. Then, restack bags to take up less room.

Use in cooked products, such as soups and stews, ground meat mixtures, casseroles, etc. For most dishes, frozen onions may be used with little or no thawing. (Will keep best for 3 to 6 months.)

Bell or sweet peppers (green, red, yellow, orange, purple) are also one of those foods you can quickly freeze raw without blanching them first. Thawed, raw peppers still retain some crispness and can be used in cooked dishes or raw in uncooked dishes. To freeze them:

  • Select crisp, tender peppers.
  • Wash.
  • Cut out stems and cut peppers in half.
  • Remove seeds and membrane — save time by using a melon baller or the tip of a spoon to scrape out seeds and membrane.
  • Cut peppers into strips, dice or slice, depending on how you plan to use them.
  •  Freeze peppers in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides, about an hour or longer until frozen. This method is often referred to as “tray freezing.”
  • Transfer to a “freezer” bag when frozen, excluding as much air as possible from the bag. The peppers will remain separated for ease of use in measuring out for recipes.
  • Pour out the amount of frozen peppers needed, reseal the bag and return to the freezer.

Black Bean and Veggie Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 cup low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup Southwestern style salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 8 Bibb or Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup corn, fresh, canned or frozen
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine black beans, red pepper, onion, corn, cilantro and green onion. Add salad dressing to bean mixture. Mix gently.

Place lettuce leaves on a plate or serving dish. Spoon the black bean mixture into lettuce leaves. Top with shredded carrots.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 80 calories, 1 g fat, 210 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 5 g dietary fiber and 4 g protein.

Cami Wells is an Extension Educator for Nebraska Extension in Hall County. Contact her at (308) 385-5088 or at cwells2@unl.edu. Visit the Hall County website at www.hall.unl.edu

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