Lettuce Boats w/ Sweet Potato, Grapefruit and Paprika Mayo {GF}

Lettuce Boats with Sweet Potato, Grapefruit and Paprika Mayo

Valentine’s day is rapidly approaching and given that I hardly ever create occasion-themed food I thought it would be a nice change to make a Valentine’s menu plan. I know that anyone living in London is completely screwed if they don’t get a reservation at least a month in advance for any of the popular restaurants! So for anyone stuck without a booking, or people just planning to stay home for the 14th, that’s what these dishes are for!

While it is primarily intended to be for Valentine’s day, I haven’t gone overboard with hearts and all that so it’s basically just a nice 3-course dinner for sharing.

Lettuce Boats with Sweet Potato, Grapefruit and Paprika Mayo 2

I wanted the recipes to be accessible to lots of people so every dish is gluten free and, even though the main dish contains meat, there’s a vegetarian option too (which I actually ended up preferring, to be honest)!

Crisp lettuce cups cradle a filling of roasted sweet potato, sharp grapefruit nuggets, a lick of paprika mayo and salty toasted pumpkin seeds. They’re the easiest things to make and all of the filling components and be prepped in advance so all you have to do on the day is put ’em together! If you’d rather serve this as a salad: shred the lettuce into ribbons and toss with the other ingredients, serving with extra paprika mayo (thinned out with some more grapefruit juice) as dressing.

Lettuce Boats with Sweet Potato, Grapefruit and Paprika Mayo


– most mayo is gluten free but just double check the jar if you need to.
– You can easily swap out the grapefruit for orange
– Confused about segmenting grapefruit? Check out this Food52 post with step-by-step photos
– Serve this as a salad: shred the lettuce into ribbons and toss with the other prepped ingredients, serving with extra paprika mayo (thinned out with some more grapefruit juice) as dressing.
– Make this dish vegan by making paprika dressing instead of the mayo: in a jar stir together 3 tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp lemon juice, a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika

Lettuce boats with Sweet Potato, Grapefruit and Paprika Mayo

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  • 1 sweet potato , , peeled and cut into 1-cm cubes
  • olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • salt
  • 1 ruby grapefruit
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika , (depending on taste preference)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander , (cilantro)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 head of baby gem lettuce


  • Toss the sweet potato onto a rimmed baking tray and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and toss together. Whack that into a cold oven and turn on to 200 C (400 F) - they'll need about 30 mins. Check on them occasionally, tossing them with a spatula throughout the roasting. Once done, set aside to cool until needed.
  • Meanwhile segment the grapefruit: Peel it like you would an orange and break in half. Holding the fruit over a bowl, use a sharp paring knife to cut away the top layer of skin on one segment, then slide the knife under the flesh at the inner seam to release it. !(See notes for help!)!.
  • Tear the segments into small (1-cm ish) pieces. The juice which collects in the bowl below will be used in a sec so don't throw it away! Set the segment pieces aside.
  • In a small jar or bowl, stir together the mayo and paprika with 2 tsp of the grapefruit juice. Set aside in the fridge until needed.
  • In a small skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds in a little bit of coconut oil with a sprinkle of salt over a high heat. They'll puff up and make a popping sound so you know they're done. Remove from the heat.
  • Peel the leaves off of the baby gem lettuce, wash and dry them. Spread about 1/2 tsp of the paprika mayo onto the leaf. Fill with roasted potato cubes and pieces of grapefruit segments. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped coriander.
  • Thin the rest of the mayo out with some water and then use a spoon to splash a bit more of it over the lettuce cups.
  • Serve immediately or chill until needed.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it went! Mention @izyhossack or tag #topwithcinnamon!

38 thoughts on “Lettuce Boats w/ Sweet Potato, Grapefruit and Paprika Mayo {GF}”

  1. There is a simple reason I don’t do V’s day dinner, I am too cheap to pay the extra high prices for that one day. I would rather stay at home in comfortable clothes and cook. The people in my life that I love deserve that much at least.
    Presentation of these starters are simple but look so fancy! Izy you have turned the lettuce boat into a work of art.

  2. Ooh, this sounds so good! And you have to love the fun of actually picking up a boatful of salad and eating it bite by bite. 🙂

  3. Oh hai adorable lady! If I had a significant other, I would SO be making these for us on V-day. Your boyfriend is a lucky man!!! But he probably already knows that. These are so cute UGH I LOVE THE GRAPEFRUIT CHUNKS IN THAT PERFECTLY PICTURESQUE LETTUCE!!

  4. Awesome tip about the grapefruit segmenting! I’ve only ever tried to segment a grapefruit once before and I did it like any other citrus fruit. Your way sounds a lot easier and less messy though which is great. Love the all the colors of this dish, too 🙂

  5. Looks tasty! Lettuce wraps are the best, and I love paprika mayo. You can bet these are getting made soon. Thanks!

  6. The roasted sweet potato with the paprika mayo alone, sounds like heaven. But with the rest of it?? Just delicious!!Paprika mayo…yum. I won’t be satisfied until I make this!!

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