Israeli Inspired Lettuce Boats

3 boats

Lettuce Boats: creamy hummus topped off with warm apricot and baharat spice infused tempeh layered with marinated beets and crunchy pieces of apple and little exploding beads of pomegranate, all finished off with a maple tahini yogurt sauce. 

This is a serious mouthful in every sense and the layers of flavors, although may they seem like a lot of work and time involved, are like an explosion of Israel in your mouth. These crisp and crunchy little lettuce boats are vessels for some of the greatest vegan elements of Israeli food – pomegranate, hummus, baharat spice and tahini.

But what is baharat spice though? It is a mix of ground spices that is typically used on meat. It is a complex and aromatic mix of cardamom, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, dried ginger and nutmeg.

So how did this crazy recipe come to mind? Well, I decided to take part in the Virtual Vegan Potluck contest and opted to include the featured ingredient in my recipe, so this is where the foodie brain starts churning and trying to come up with something healthy, interesting and satisfying. So while browsing through my beloved Israeli cookbook I was hooked by the idea of trying to recreate an Israeli meat dish with all the exotic and fragrant spices typically used. Yet instead of using the typical pita bread, I wanted to try to keep the carbs down to a minimum and nix it, although I do still want to try an idea that was buzzing around in my head for the base of this recipe – fried cumin cracker boats. And well the rest is a bit of inspiration here and there, things I love and things that remind me of Israel. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and moreover, that you do not feel daunted by all the layers or too overwhelmed to give it a try. Instead take it as an opportunity to let your taste buds swing over to Israel for a quicker and cheaper price tag, all in the comfort of your own kitchen :). And although you may go on a temporary vacay, please don’t forget to check out all the other entries and awesome recipes featured on the Virtual Vegan Potluck website.

boat super close



Marinated Beets

1 large beet, grated

2 Tbs olive oil

juice from 1 lemon

zest of half lemon

2 garlic cloves

salt and pepper to test 

Mix ingredients together, adding the grated beet last. Leave to marinate for at least one hour.

Baharat Apricot Infused Tempeh 

1/2 Tbs Baharat spice mix

5 dried apricots

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbs agave
1/4 cup water

about 9 ounces (250 grams) tempeh, cubed

Baharat Spice Mix
1 Tbs ground cardamom
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1/2 Tbs ground allspice
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
1 Tbs ground dry ginger
1/2 Tbs ground nutmeg
*Mix together well and store in airtight container.

Blend all ingredients together. Pour over tempeh and coat well. Refrigerate and leave to marinate for at least 2-3 hours (I left mine for about 8). When ready to make add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a hot pan and saute for about 8-10 minutes

Pomegranate & Apple Salad
1/2 Pomegranate
1 apple, diced

Mix together.


Maple Tahini Dressing

about 4 oz (125 grams) plain soy yogurt

1 Tbs tahini

1/2 Tbs maple syrup

1/2 Tbs lemon juice

salt to taste

*optional: fresh mint


Blend all ingredients together well.

boat collage

1. Lettuce leaf
2. A good dose of hummus
3. Sprinkle on a bit of tempeh
4. Spoonful of pomegranate & apple salad
5. Another healthy spoonful of beets
6. Top it all off with some maple tahini yogurt





13 thoughts on “Israeli Inspired Lettuce Boats

    • I know, so much fun ;)! I went to Israel about a year and a half ago and pomegranates are used in so many dishes, it’s even a national symbol! Btw that was one the most amazing foodie trips ever 🙂

    • Thanks 😉 Too bad it’s a virtual vegan potluck and not a real one! There are oh so many things I would love to be shoving in my pie hole, but I guess for the sake of my pants and self-esteem it is best that it is just a virtual potluck – hahah!

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