Welcome to On Board in 20: a recipe series where we share wholesome, family style meals you can prepare in about 20 minutes. The recipes always contain whole food ingredients and are intended to be brought to the table for family members to build and construct their individual plates as their senses guide them. Along the way, we bring you tips and tricks for speeding up prep and clean up for those busy weeknight meal times.
Butter Lettuce Lamb Kofta with Arugula Gremolata
This month’s On Board in 20 meal has us partnered with Produce Made Simple for a special spotlight on lettuce. When most people hear the word lettuce, their minds usually jump right to salad. These days, lettuce has so much more to offer. It can be the star of a comforting bowl of soup, grilled on the BBQ or blended into your morning smoothie. This time we used three different varieties of lettuce, each bringing its own unique role to the dinner table.
Butter lettuce is a great varietal to use as a substitute for a wheat-based wrap. Here the lamb and couscous sit nicely on a bed of butter lettuce and can be either tackled with a knife and fork or folded up and eaten taco style. It’s a mild lettuce that’s very quick to clean, making it a great addition to a 20-minute meal.
The real star of the dish, however, is the gremolata. Traditionally made with parsley, we substituted with spicy arugula. It’s fresh and peppery and pairs well with a stronger protein such as lamb.
The final lettuce component is some super fresh microgreens. These little greens are easy to find at your local markets and are a great staple for the fridge. They fight well above their weight class when it comes to nutritional value and even at the family dinner table we eat with our eyes first, so take the few seconds to add a sprinkle of fresh greens.
- 1 tablespoon oil (olive, coconut, etc.)
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 teaspoon ground dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 2 cups fresh arugula, packed
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 - 12 small mint leaves
- ⅔ cup dry couscous
- 1 medium cucumber
- ¼ red onion
- 2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 head butter leaf lettuce
- 1 cup fresh micro greens
- flaked salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Start a kettle of water boiling (about ½ litre) and preheat a heavy cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Add oil to pan.
- Prepare the ground lamb by adding thyme, cumin and sumac. Divide the lamb in half, then in half again and then a third time. Shape each piece into a long, flattened cigar shape (not too thick). When pan is ready, put lamb on for about four to five minutes per side.
- While kettle is heating, add arugula to food processor and finely mince. Put minced lettuce in small bowl and grate garlic over top. Zest the lemon over arugula then cut in half and squeeze half of the lemon's juice. (Reserve remaining half lemon.) Add olive oil and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Using same processor, add mint and couscous dry. Spin for a few seconds to combine mint. Add boiling water (amount specified by package instructions, but usually 1 cup of boiling water per ⅔ cup dry couscous). Put lid back on processor (do not turn it on) and simply let it cook in the processor for about 5 minutes.
- Roughly chop cucumber, onion, and feta. Set aside. Rinse butter lettuce leaves and pat or shake to dry.
- To assemble board: On one side layer up desired butter lettuce leaves. In a small bowl to be placed on centre of the board combine the couscous, feta, onions and cucumber. Lay a small piece of parchment on other side of board. Skewer the lamb (totally optional) and place on parchment. Add tomatoes and leftover lemon wherever there's room. Sprinkle the lamb generously with the gremolata. sprinkle whole board with microgreens. Finally, sprinkle entire board with salt flakes and fresh ground pepper. Enjoy.
Looking For More 20 Minute Meal Ideas?
- Mini Ricotta Meatballs Over Lemon Rice and Peas
- Sticky Greek Chicken With Cauliflower Couscous
- Soy Glazed Salmon With Blistered Spring Veggies and Rice Noodles
And be sure to stop by the Produce Made Simple recipe index for even more delicious recipe ideas that will help you pack more fruits and veggies into your family meals!
Lisa Bolton is the creator, writer and photographer behind Food Well Said, her blog about bringing thoughtfully prepared, whole food recipes. She lives in the Lower Mainland of BC and you can reach her on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.