School lunches that are ready to roll: Ideas for great wraps
The mainstay of most kids’ lunches is of course the sandwich. But that doesn’t have to mean two slices of bread. Wraps add something new to the school lunch sandwich. AP food writer Katie Workman suggests using different flavors of wraps and a variety of condiments, from mustard and mayo to hummus, yogurt, salsa, pesto and more. Fill it with meats or fish or whatever you have that can be sliced or chopped. Then add extras like shredded lettuce or chopped tomatoes or jalapeños, avocado, sliced apples, dried fruit or more. Layer the fillings on three-quarters of the wrap and roll them toward the unfilled one-quarter. Seal it with a condiment.
There is little debate that the sandwich is the mainstay of most kids’ lunches; two slices of bread with anything they might consume layered in between. Wraps, however, have also taken their place in the pantheon of sandwich possibilities, and sometimes the mere novelty of a rolled-up sandwich instead of a square one might entice a kid to try something different inside it.
At the very least, it might make an old favorite new again.
You can leave 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. The smaller pieces make great snacks, too.
Plain old flour tortillas are fine, or look for packages labeled “wraps,” which are often thinner and more pliable (e.g. less apt to crack). Changing up the wraps — spinach, sundried tomato basil, garlic herb, jalapeno cheese, garden vegetable, whole grain, white – allows you to create different and attractive sandwiches every day of the week. There are gluten-free wraps as well.
Talk about a great way to get kids engaged in thinking about new things to eat for lunch. Lay a wrap on the table, open the fridge door and let them get creative.
WHAT GOES INSIDE
1) Once you’ve chosen the wrapper, 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.
2) Get creative with fillings including sliced meats (turkey, ham, salami, soppressata, prosciutto, buffalo chicken, etc.), cheeses (cheddar, provolone, American, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, brie, etc.), smoked salmon, refried or cooked beans, or tuna fish. Any leftovers are fair game: steak, chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, tofu — whatever you have that can be sliced or chopped into a rollable sandwich filling.
3) The extras: shredded lettuce or cabbage, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives and pickles, jalapeños, fresh herbs, slivered onions or bell peppers, roasted peppers, avocado, 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 can add some crunch. (Pay attention to school rules about allergens.)
Don’t forget salt and pepper, if appropriate, or another seasoning.
Don’t overfill your wrap or it won’t close. Just layer up everything on about ¾ of the wrap, leaving 1/4 empty, and also leave a little space around the edges for things to squish into when you roll it up.
On the edge of the ¼ area with no filling, put a smear of condiment, like mustard or mayo, and then as you start rolling, begin 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 the condiment at the edge will help seal up the wrap as you finish rolling.
ONE TO TRY
Finally, a “recipe” for Maple Turkey and Bacon Wrap to get you rolling!
2 10-inch wraps or tortillas
4 to 6 thin slices honey maple turkey
2 slices cooked bacon
4 slices avocado (optional)
2 slices Swiss or Cheddar cheese
2 large leaves romaine lettuce, ripped into pieces
1. Place the tortillas on the counter. Layer half the turkey over each tortilla, leaving about ¼ of the tortilla on the side farthest away from you empty. Place the bacon and avocado slices (if using) across the turkey, parallel to the empty quarter of the tortilla, and place the slice of cheese on top. Cover the cheese with the lettuce. Drizzle a bit of honey mustard, and put a smear of it on the empty section of the tortilla, right at the edge. Starting with the edge of the tortilla closest to you, roll up the wrap, using the honey mustard to seal it. Cut in half or as desired.