Pastrami Roll-ups


I love pastrami. And I used to love pastrami sandwiches with lots of warm pastrami piled high on rye bread and slathered with spicy brown mustard. I grew up eating pastrami sandwiches on rye, and every now and then I want one. I rarely eat kaiser rolls anymore, but I discovered a way to satisfy that hankering without the bready wrapping. By rolling up slices of pastrami in butter lettuce leaves, I get the smoky, spiced taste of pastrami without the heaviness or nutrition-depleting effects of gluten.


For me, the wrapping makes a big difference. Butter lettuce is my favorite veggie wrap: it is  flexible with just enough crunch, it holds together well, and its mild taste compliments just about any filling. And B likes it, which is saying a lot since he doesn’t usually like lettuce much at all.

Butter lettuce

Butter lettuce

For the filling, I like Fork in the Road sliced pastrami from the deli counter at Whole Foods. It is made from sustainably-raised beef, and it tastes delicious. If you can’t find this particular brand, or don’t want to pay that much (which is quite a bit, but worth it to me to get high quality meat), find pastrami that comes from antibiotic and hormone-free beef (preferably pastured and/or grass-fed), is uncured (doesn’t have sodium nitrate or nitrite), and doesn’t contain any unpronounceable ingredients (sodium erythorbate?) or other questionable ingredients (caramel color? dextrose?). You really just want to see beef, maybe some sugar, and spices.

I like my pastrami with some spicy brown mustard; you can also use dijon if you prefer, but try to find one without sugar. Who needs sugar in mustard, anyway?

And here’s my secret ingredient: butter! I know it might sound strange, but you’ll just have to trust me on this one and try it for yourself. Adding some butter to the meat and mustard really adds a delicious flavor that won’t be the same without it. And butter is so good! And good for you! Really, I’m giving you permission to put butter on something. Try it, you’ll love it!

Pastrami + butter = yum!

Pastrami + butter = yum!

These Pastrami Roll-ups are perfect for snacks or a light lunch. You could even make them for breakfast or as an appetizer. And they are very portable: just secure the lettuce leaves with a toothpick or pack the rolls tightly in a container and they will be ready to eat when you need them. Happy eating!

Pastrami Roll-ups (serves 1)

  • 3-4 butter lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 2 slices of pastrami for each lettuce leaf
  • spicy brown mustard
  • grass-fed butter

To assemble:

  • Wash and pat dry the butter lettuce leaves.
  • Place two pastrami slices on one leaf of butter lettuce. Spread some butter on the meat and then add some mustard (as much as you like).
  • Roll up the meat and place it in the middle of the butter lettuce leaf. Then roll up the lettuce around the pastrami.





This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food WednesdayTasty Traditions and The Paleo Rodeo.

  1. This sounds great too. We should be able to find pastrami from sustainably-raised beef around here. Thanks.

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