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An outdoor setting with ingredients for Spanish lettuce wraps laid out, along with two bottles of wine, wine glasses and plates. A finished lettuce wrap is in the forefront.

Spanish Lettuce Wraps

Inspired by the deep flavours of a paella mixta, this deconstructed version is easy to prepare and fun to enjoy, as everyone fills their own lettuce wraps and personalizes the toppings.
Fluffy, vibrant saffron rice, grilled chicken thighs, chorizo & shrimp, with a fresh salsa, topped with chilies & cilantro, finished with a squeeze of lemon and wrapped inside a lettuce leaf, creates the perfect bite for this update to a classic paella.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4 -5 people


Saffron Rice:

  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup diced onion
  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock no salt added
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 small green pepper diced
  • 1 small red pepper diced
  • 1 small yellow pepper diced
  • 1 small red onion finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper finely diced
  • 14-16 cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mixed Grill:

  • 2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 chicken thighs boneless, skin-on, flattened (approximately 114g (4 oz)/thigh)
  • 1 Spanish style sausage 320g (12 oz)
  • 14-16 Wild Shrimp 300 g (10 oz) , large size 20/30
  • 2 lemons cut in half

For Serving:

  • 2 Boston or Bib lettuce at least 16 large leaves, leaves separated washed and dried
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Hot sauce or hot chilies in oil
  • Manchego Cheese optional


Saffron Rice:

  • Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain, then set aside
  • Pour 1/4 cup of hot water into a small bowl. Slightly crumble the saffron threads into the water and let them soak while you prepare the onions.
  • In a large heavy pot, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium. Add the onion to the pot and sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add rinsed rice to the pot and sauté for one minute longer, mixing the rice together with the cooked onion.
  • Add chicken stock, salt and saffron water to the pot. Bring to a boil, stir.
  • Cover the pot and reduce heat to low.
  • Let the rice cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, but keep pot covered, and continue to let the rice sit and steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes longer.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork before serving, stirring well to break up the rice and incorporate the cooked onion.


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.

Mixed Grill:

  • Mix together the paprika, salt, pepper, garlic & cayenne in a small bowl.
  • Skewer the shrimp onto metal skewers (if using wood, soak for 60 minutes before beginning)
  • Place the chicken, sausage and shrimp on a sheet pan and season both sides of the chicken and shrimp (if anything is left in the bowl sprinkle the sausages too). Set aside until the rice has cooked for the 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the grill on medium high heat (450°F -500°F).
  • Place the chicken and sausage on the grill. Cook the for 6-8 minutes until done (internal temperature is 165°F - grilling time may be more or less, depending on the size of the thighs). Remove chicken to and plate, cover with foil. Cook the sausages for another 2-4 minutes until done (internal temperature of 160°F). Place on the plate with the chicken and cover.
  • Add the lemons to the grill, cut side down. Add the shrimp skewers to the grill and cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook for 2 minutes more (until shrimp are cooked through). Remove shrimp and lemons to a plate and cover with foil.
  • Slice the chicken into ½ inch cubes and thinly slice the sausages.
  • Arrange the chicken, sausages, shrimp, rice, salsa, lettuce leaves, hot sauce/chilies, cilantro and lemons onto serving boards or platters and serve.
  • To build the wraps, place a spoonful of rice on a lettuce leaf, add a shrimp, chicken and sausage, top with salsa, hot sauce/chilies, cilantro, then a little squeeze of lemon.
  • This meal pairs perfectly with Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza Rioja wine. Salud!



Keyword chicken thighs, chorizo, deconstructed paella, lettuce wraps, paella, shrimp
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