When the cold winter days zap our last bit of energy, many people turn to comfort food for nourishment. In honor of American Heart Month, I want to explain how easy it is to make a heart-healthy wrap.

 This wrap is made with white beans, avocado and some chopped, shredded and mashed vegetables. I chose wheat tortillas because they’re a bit healthier with lower carbohydrates, but you can use corn or flour tortillas if someone in your family has a wheat allergy. The wrap also includes a dressing that we pour over the vegetables.

 I begin with a small head of purple cabbage, chopping half to three-quarters of it before setting aside. I then grate one very large or two to three medium-sized carrots. I also chop a bunch of cilantro and cherry tomatoes of varying color.

 The protein in the wrap comes from white beans. I’m using cannellini beans, but any type of white bean, or even black beans, can be used. I also use one avocado, which I cored and chopped.

 Combine the beans and avocado in a bowl and mash together, using a potato masher, fork or whatever tool you prefer. Try to use a ripe avocado for easier mashing. Once the beans and avocado are mashed well, set aside.

 Next, we prepare the dressing with about a quarter cup of olive oil, a couple of squirts of red wine vinegar, a tablespoon of honey and pepper to taste. You can also make a similar dressing using balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar (in place of red wine vinegar) and a sugar substitute (if sensitive to honey).

 Whisk the dressing, then combine the chopped and shredded vegetables together into one bowl before pouring the dressing over the vegetables. You may want to give the cilantro an extra few chops, so it mixes well. I love the taste of cilantro and I think it smells wonderful, and it’s available year-round at the grocery store.

 As you mix together, enjoy the beautiful colors of purple cabbage, orange and red tomatoes and green cilantro! Nature does not make mistakes when it comes to colorful vegetables! If you prefer different vegetables, use what you like. If more dressing is needed, whip up a second batch or use a preferred bottled dressing. There are many ways you can make this recipe your own.

 Now, it’s time to assemble the wrap. I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I come home from at night, I’m tired and hungry and there are some nights when I don’t want to take time to prepare a meal. This is something that is very quick and easy to prepare.

 To assemble, layer the mashed beans and avocado onto the tortilla first and then add the vegetables and dressing. Roll the wrap and slice in half, and it’s ready to eat. Using no meat, this heart-healthy wrap is a great vegetarian meal that appeals to even the pickiest eaters.

 It’s quick and easy to prepare, and very nutritious. The vegetables provide nutrients and fiber, the beans provide protein, and the avocado and olive oil provides healthy fats.

 I hope you enjoyed Cooking with Carla, and I’m including the recipe below. If you have any questions about heart-healthy cooking, please email me at npcerickson@westfieldpremier.com.

 

Heart-Healthy Wrap Recipe (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz. canned, reduced-sodium white beans (navy, cannellini or Great Northern), drained & rinsed

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 3 Tbsp. vinegar (red wine, white, apple cider)

  • 1 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp. honey

  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

  • 1 carrot (shredded)

  • 2 cups green or purple cabbage, washed, cored & shredded

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)

  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro (coarsely chopped, divided)

  • 4 100% whole-wheat 8-inch, wraps or tortillas


Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey and pepper to create the dressing.

Add the carrots, cabbage, cherry tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro to the bowl. Toss gently to coat the vegetables with dressing. Set aside and allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the white beans and avocado. Mash and mix until thoroughly blended and spreadable.

Place four wraps or tortillas on a flat surface. In the center of each, place 2 heaping tablespoons of the mixture. Using a knife or spatula, spread it out until 2 inches away from the edges of the wrap (allows for easier assembly).

Stir the cabbage mixture again, and place 2 heaping tablespoons on top of the bean/avocado mixture. Add cilantro as a garnish on top, if desired.

Begin by folding the two sides inward. Hold with fingers and lift the bottom portion of the wrap up with your thumbs to create an “envelope.” Once the bottom of the wrap is touching the two sides, begin rolling the wrap until it’s completely closed. Place on a flat surface with the smooth side up.

Slice and serve.

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