It’s a wrap! New ideas for lunch

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, September 15, 2015

By Deirdre Parker Smith

By now, your children might already be tired of what’s in their lunchbox.

Maybe you’re tired, too.

Maybe you need a way to liven up your own brown bag.

Searching for lunch time solutions, I repeatedly came across wraps. From the simplest, peanut butter and banana, to extravagant salads with high end ingredients, there’s got to be a wrap out there for you.

First, what to use as a wrap.

Tortillas are obvious, and flour tortillas make great wraps. You can also use corn or whole wheat or spinach or sun-dried tomato. A search of the grocery store will also turn up thicker wraps, pita bread, even Indian naan bread, which also make a delicious wrap.

And if all else fails, cut the crust off some soft white bread, roll it thin with a rolling pin, a heavy can or a jar, and fill that.

We’re not going to venture into seaweed and rice wraps, but large wonton or rice paper wrappers are definitely a possibility.

And we’re not going to forget lettuce. Bibb or Boston lettuce is soft and pliable. Iceberg is OK, but sort of boring. Romaine has a nice crunch. Leaf lettuce makes a very pretty wrap and it’s large enough to hold a lot.

Napa cabbage would be nice and not as heavy as regular cabbage. Even bok choi could serve.

If you want to be super healthy, you could try kale, Swiss chard or another leafy green, but don’t feel obligated to stretch that far.

Another hidden talent of the wrap — cut it into 1-inch rolls and you have pretty pinwheels of flavor and color. You could even pack a dip for the smaller bites, to make it more festive.

It’s surprising how boring ingredients like ham and cheese can seem new on a wrap.

It’s all about the additions.

When one mother saw the idea of a peanut butter and banana wrap, she thought it was genius. How about peanut butter and apple, with a few pecans tossed in?

For grown-ups, do a light smear of peanut butter, apple and some crumbles of blue cheese.

Or, a little cream cheese, apple, bacon and blue cheese.

Or, cream cheese, apple, bacon, blue cheese and sprouts.

Once you get started, the possibilities are almost endless.

So instead of recipes, let’s do a list of ideas, many of which are mix and match.

Ready, set, go!

Peanut butter

… and jelly with dry-roasted peanuts

… with raisins or dried cranberries

… with slices of banana

… sliced apple

… with a tablespoon or two of granola

Ham and cheese

… with a pickle in the center

… with garden vegetable cream cheese

… with black olives

… with a slice of carrot or celery

… with a long slice of cucumber — take out the seeds, salt it and let it drain a bit to get rid of some of the water.

… change the cheese to cheddar, provolone, swiss, colby jack, creamy muenster

… a stick of string cheese

… any kind of lettuce or cabbage

… sliced avocado

… sliced tomato — dry the tomatoes on a paper towel first or use roma tomatoes, which have less juice.

… crunchy water chestnuts

… pineapple spears


… add dried cranberries

… pecans or walnuts

… bacon

… a light smear of tomato paste

… honey mustard

… spicy brown mustard

… jarred dips or salad dressings (nothing too runny) such as ranch, southwestern ranch, French onion, spinach dip (sneak in that veggie),

… with hummus, any flavor available at your grocery store

… a spear of blanched broccoli

… leftover thanksgiving, turkey, dressing, green beans

Cheese and

… mix kinds of cheese

… with any kind of pickle

… with pretzel rods

… pizza sauce

… pepperoni

… apple, pear, orange sections

  with bacon and any combination of meat or veggies

Of course, there’s chicken salad and tuna salad.

Taco wraps with seasoned ground beef and cheese

… with browned ground chicken or turkey and salsa

… with fully cooked sausages or hot dogs and favorite toppings, like ketchup and mustard, relish, pickles, slaw that’s been squeezed dry,

Pizza wraps — pizza sauce, with cheese, slices of pepperoni, cooked sausage, green peppers.


… lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot, celery, olives, pickles, fried tofu, hummus, any nut butter. Nuts and mushrooms add texture.

… cooked edamame

… hummus and sliced carrots, cucumber and red bell pepper

… Greek salad, feta, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and pepperoncini

… hard boiled egg with lettuce, tomato — this looks so pretty when sliced

… hard boiled egg with pickle

… egg salad — dress it up with spices, such as chili flakes, curry, taco seasoning, cilantro, hot sauce, strips of roasted red pepper or mild chili, such as Anaheim.

Rotisserie chicken is one of the best convenience foods out there. Use it for your wrap and add

… ribs of celery

… salsa and corn

… crumbled, cooked sausage and some ranch dressing

… lettuce, of course, and all the other veggies, from carrots to tomatoes

… halved grapes and walnuts and a little mayonnaise

… cucumber and feta cheese

… toss it with taco seasoning and add monterey jack and lettuce

… add pineapple or mango

… Go Chinese with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and crunchy Chinese noodles

… How about a chili wrap? A layer of mozzarella cheese, a roasted chili pepper, peeled, seeded and deveined, add refried beans or some leftover roast beef.

… chicken and avocado

… chicken, bacon and avocado

… bacon, lettuce and tomato


— cheese and bacon, hard boiled eggs

… sausage and egg

… Canadian bacon and egg and cheese

Wrap up something sweet using dried and fresh fruits and nuts

Spread with Nutella and nuts or bananas or apples or marshmallows.