Do you love watching “The Game” or do you enjoy watching “The People” while munching on game food? For me, it depends on the game to determine if I will be one of those CrazYs screaming at the television! I do guarantee you I remember what food is served on game day. The tailgate party along with the game-day home party menus have become just as important as the stats of the game!
As much as I love designing party food menus I love incorporating healthy ingredients into yummy food! I do love game day chicken wings but hey a girl has to pick and choose her waistline determiners! I thought it would be fun to develop a healthy festive lettuce wrap for game day….or any day!
Buttery chickpeas are “chick” waistline friendly with a moderate amount of calories, providing 46 calories per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. Approximately 67% of those calories are from carbs, while the rest comes from protein and a small amount of fat. Chickpeas are high in protein and can replace meat in vegetarian and vegan diets. Chickpeas hail other healthy benefits, such as improving digestion and aiding weight management.
Now listen up, if you aren’t a gamer….then go ahead and make this dish for your lunch or dinner. It is simple and the combination of roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, green olives, Queso fresco, celery and red bell pepper will create a game day cheer in your mouth! Enjoy!
Spanish Chickpeas, Butternut Squash, and Queso Fresco Lettuce Wrap
1 (12 oz) package butternut squash, cut in 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon garlic olive oil, or salad oil
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drain and rinse
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup Spanish olives with pimentos
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 cup crumbled Queso Fresco
1 head iceberg lettuce or butter lettuce, separate into cups
Optional: 3/4 cup Spanish Chorizo, chopped ham, or chopped smoked turkey
2 tablespoons garlic olive oil, or salad oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup or sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Toss butternut squash in garlic olive oil and arrange on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 425°F, for 20 minutes, turning squash over one time, until tender and slightly browned. Sprinkle with salt and lime juice. Set aside to cool. Separate lettuce cups.
Whisk all dressing ingredients and toss with butternut squash, chickpeas, celery, red bell pepper, green onion, olives, and cilantro. Add Queso Fresco and gently toss. Salt to taste. Add meat, if desired. Divide salad equally into lettuce cups.
Note: If making ahead, combine all ingredients, except for cheese, up to 3 hours ahead of serving and refrigerate. Add cheese right before serving. Serves 4-6
For more recipes and information on the benefits of incorporating beans into your diet head over to the California Beans!