Chicken & Pineapple Lettuce Wraps (vegetarian option included)

If you’ve seen some of my other recipes, you know I am a major fan of lettuce wrap tacos, as well as one-pot dinners. While this dish wasn’t quite one-pot, you could easily make it that way. I cooked the barley separate, and since I use only dried beans, cooked those in yet another pot. But you could get pre-cooked frozen beans (or canned.. some brands now have BPA free liners) and if you cooked the barley first, and then mixed in the rest of the ingredients, it could be a true one-pot wonder!

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This dish is fun because it’s a good fridge-cleaner. Only have a small side dish of leftover beans to use? One small pepper or a tiny bag of frozen corn? Throw it in! I used roasted red peppers this time because I had some leftover from a previous dinner, and they just don’t store well once you’ve opened the jar. Feel free to change out, throw in or substitute whatever you want.. and make sure you share your take with me! I’m always looking for new ways to spice up our old favorites!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup cooked barley

1/3 cup cooked black beans

1 cup cubed pineapple

1/4 cup each of – bell peppers, onions, carrots, celery; diced as uniformly as possible. You can make these large chunks if you want, but I like to get a nice blended bite so I do a fine dice on them. This also helps them to cook more evenly!)

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup corn

1 roasted red pepper

(4) chicken thighs, cubed (you can use breasts if you prefer, or leave the chicken out entirely for a vegetarian option — you already have your beans for protein!)

2-3 tablespoons Mexican seasoning (it’s  best if you make your own, it’s cheaper and you can control the heat)

Lettuce leaves (I use romaine, but you could use endive or even iceberg … you can substitute for a real wrap of course, if you want to)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Olive oil

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet (or a deep dutch oven will work); toss chicken with 2 tablespoons of Mexican seasoning, coating well. Add chicken to hot oil and cook until golden and crispy.

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2. Add veggie mixture, and remaining tablespoon of Mexican seasoning. Stir often to ensure all vegetables cook evenly. If I do this in the dutch oven like I did this time around, I’ll put the lid on for a few minutes to help steam the veggies.

3. When veggies are almost done cooking, add in the cooked beans and barley and mix in well. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until beans and barley are heated through.

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4. Serve immediately! I love to spread a little fresh guacamole at the bottom of the romaine leaf as it helps the veggie mixture to stay in better. We also had these on some multi-grain wraps with chia seeds the next day, delicious!

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