These lettuce cups are full of flavor but not fat and calories. Add some crusty bread and you’ve got a light lunch or quick weeknight dinner.
1 package split chicken breasts (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
8 large leaves Bibb lettuce
Optional garnishes: slivered almonds, golden raisins, chopped scallions, fresh basil
1) Split Chicken Breasts
After I tried roasting, rather than poaching, the chicken for this recipe, I’ve never gone back to the old way. Split chicken breasts come with the bone in and skin on, which helps retain moisture and flavor. You remove the skin after cooking, so you’re left with only the lean, juicy breast meat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle each piece with a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (or until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees on a meat thermometer). Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
2) Red Bell Pepper
Bell peppers actually have more vitamin C than oranges; in this dish, they add sweetness, crunch and a bright punch of red.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and remove breast meat from the bone; chop or shred into bite-sized pieces. Transfer chicken to large bowl and add the diced pepper.
Yes, folks, REAL mayo. For a recipe like this, there’s just no substitute. High-fat foods like mayonnaise aren’t the enemy if you keep portions sensible. You only need a little bit for this entire recipe.
4) Curry Powder
Curry powder is actually a spice blend that often includes turmeric, coriander, cardamom, fennel, cloves, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and different types of peppers. Many of these spices, turmeric and cinnamon in particular, are potent sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants. All curry blends are different; some are hotter or sweeter than others. If you find that this dressing needs a little extra sweetness, add a drizzle of honey.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, curry powder, 1/4-teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of water; whisk well. Add dressing to chicken and peppers, and mix gently to combine.
5) Bibb Lettuce
You can’t have lettuce cups without lettuce. Also known as “Boston” or “butterhead,” these tender large leaves make perfect edible serving bowls. Despite having virtually no calories, each leaf contains 10% of your daily dose of vitamin A and 19% of your vitamin K. You could really use any kind of large-leaf lettuce for this recipe (romaine would work well), but I like Bibb’s delicate texture and flavor.
Scoop half-cup portions of chicken mixture into each lettuce cup. Enjoy as is, or mix things up by experimenting with different garnishes. Add slivered almonds for crunch, raisins for sweetness or scallions and basil for some freshness.
Serving: 2 lettuce cups
Calories: 220 calories
Total Fat: 8.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 3 grams
Protein: 32 grams
Sodium: 294 milligrams
Cholesterol: 87 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram
*This analysis does not include optional garnishes.