Dinner, Guest Posts, Snacks

Walnut Meat Lettuce Wraps

*By  Sofia da Silva*

When I think about why I love being a Holistic Nutritionist, one of the reasons that sticks out the most is that I get to meet some pretty amazing people.  Whether it be clients, colleagues or strangers with fantastic stories to tell – I am continually honoured to meet every single one of them.  Recently, I was fortune enough to meet a group of students studying to become Holistic Nutritionists at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Ottawa.

Amongst the group of awesome folks, was a beautiful young nutritionist-to-be, Sofia da Silva.  Not only is she smart and driven, but she makes some pretty tasty food.  So, I thought it would only be fitting to have her create a plant-based recipe for me to make and share with all of you!


xx Catherine


Walnut Meat Lettuce WrapsIMG_4318I love making this recipe, because it pleases just about…everyone! Yes, even the picky meat eaters who run away at the thought of eating a vegan meal. The reason for this is that it’s made with walnuts, which are extremely rich and versatile in texture, making it possible to mimic a meaty taste and feel. Once combined with grounding spices and vegetables, you have a delicious and filling meal that anyone can enjoy.  This dish is particularly great to bring to a dinner party or potluck, and suggests an encouraging way of eating less meat during the week, without sacrificing any flavour!

IMG_4017So why do we love walnuts so much?

  • One of the most antioxidant rich foods
  • Are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Known to help prevent strokes, diabetes, coronary artery disease and colon cancer
  • High in B-complex Vitamins
  • High in minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc, calcium and selenium
  • Great source of Vitamin E
  • Shown to calm the nervous system
  • Beneficial for cognitive health
  • EXCELLENT brain food

Walnut meat ingredients:

1 cup walnuts (soaked for about 1 hour)

2 tbsp tamari

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground black pepper

IMG_4075Vegetable ingredients:

1 small onion

3 stalks celery

2 green onions,

1 clove garlic

1 cup parsley

1 red pepper

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

pinch of salt or 1 tbsp Tamari


10-15 leaves of the lettuce of your choice (I recommend Romaine or Boston) OR collard greens

How it’s done:
In a food processor, pulse the “walnut meat ingredients”: walnuts, tamari, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Do not over pulse or blend – we are looking for a chunky texture. Set aside.

IMG_4139Then, chop all  “vegetable ingredients” finely. In a large pan, over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil, onions, celery, garlic, parsley, red pepper, curry powder, nutritional yeast and salt. Let it cook through for about 15 minutes. When the vegetables are cooked, add the walnut mixture and combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

IMG_4193Wash and prepare about 10 to 12 lettuce leaves for the wraps. You can wrap them up yourself or set them separately for a hands-on dinner experience!


In health,



Sofia da Silva is currently studying to become a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) and is passionate about nutrition, health and writing. She loves to create her own vegan recipes, which she shares on her online personal blog.  She specializes in giving your favourite recipes a healthier plant-based twist!

Photos: Catherine Sugrue, CNP

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