Build Your Own Wrap Lunch

Build Your Own Wrap Lunch
Build Your Own Wrap Lunch Todd Coleman

In the morning, hand your kid a sandwich wrap (and remember that they come in so many colors and flavors, as well as gluten-free varieties), tell her to open the fridge door and create a wrap from whatever they find appealing. The little inventor in her will come out, and she will customize her own wrap with the leftovers in the fridge.

Some Basic Guidelines:

  1. Pick a Wrap.
  2. Pick a Filling: cold cuts, sliced meats, cheeses, smoked salmon, beans, tuna fish, and any leftovers are very fair game: steak, chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, tofu, whatever you have that can be sliced or chopped into a rollable sandwich filling.
  3. Pick a Spread or Condiment that will go with your main filling (mayo, mustards, chutneys, relishes, or jams, hummus, barbecue sauce, hoisin sauce, plain Greek yogurt, salsa, pestos of all flavors, maybe there’s even a leftover dip or crostini spread lurking in the fridge that holds appeal).
  4. The Extras: shredded lettuce or cabbage, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives and pickles, jalapeños, fresh herbs, slivered onions or bell peppers, sprouts, thinly sliced cucumbers, mushrooms. In some cases, fruit is also welcome, such as thinly sliced or chopped apples or pears, or maybe some chopped dried fruit. Shelled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and granola are also ideas. Don’t forget salt and pepper, if appropriate, or another seasoning if it makes sense.
  5. Do Not Overfill Your Wrap or you won’t be able to get it closed. It is better to layer up everything on about 3/4 of the wrap, leaving a little space around the edges for things to squish outwards when you roll it up. And then on the edge of the 1/4 area with no filling, put a smear of the condiment of your choice, like mustard or mayo and then as you roll the wrap, starting with the filled side closest to you, rolling towards the empty edge, the filling will slide into the empty space a bit, ideally leaving you with enough room so that the condiment at the edge will help seal up the wrap as you finish rolling. The explanation sounds much more complicated than the actual rolling, or course.
  6. You can leave the wraps whole, in one big tube-like piece; slice them in half on the diagonal; or slice them into several 1 to 2-inch pieces, providing that eye-catching, bite-sized, nosh-esque quality. Cut into the smaller pieces, any of these wraps make great snacks, too.

What Color is Your Wrap?: You can use plain old flour tortillas, or look for packages labeled “wraps”, which are often thinner and more pliable (eg, less apt to crack). There are a ton of different flavored (and colored) wraps readily available at supermarkets across the country. Changing up the wraps—spinach, sundried tomato basil, garlic herb, jalapeno cheese, garden vegetable, whole grain, and good old white for the less adventurous eaters—allows you to create different, and quite attractive sandwiches for every day of the week. And there are quite a few gluten-free wraps on the market, a real boon to those who have that concern in their family. They usually come in 10 or 12-inch sizes.

What the Kids Can Do: Talk about a great way to get your kids engaged in thinking about new things to eat for lunch. Lay a wrap on the table, open up the fridge door and let them get creative.