Making Asian lettuce cups has become second nature to me, because my kids ask for it about once a week. It’s one of those dinners that gets put together in about 15 minutes once you have it down. You can work as you go, which I don’t always recommend (did someone say mise en place?). Just warm up your pan with a little oil, brown your chicken (or turkey or pork) and while that’s cooking, chop the carrots and green onions.
Once you add the veggies to the pan, measure and mix the sauce ingredients and pour them over the browned meat. And a quick tip to get your ginger peeled? Use the side of a teaspoon. Another tip? Store your sesame oil in the refrigerator (nut oils tend to go rancid faster). You’re welcome.
I like to serve these lettuce cups or “tacos” with plenty of extra garnishes and fixings: julienned red or yellow peppers, cucumber sticks, avocado wedges, shelled edamame, cilantro leaves, sriracha, sesame seeds or chopped toasted peanuts. Load ’em up. Any leftover meat can be used to warm up for tomorrow’s lunch.
Asian Lettuce Wraps
I serve these with condiments such as julienned red and yellow peppers, cucumber sticks, cilantro and sliced radish – as well as Sriracha for those who like extra spice. You can substitute ground turkey or pork for the chicken, and make it gluten-free by using gluten-free hoisin and coconut aminos or tamari (instead of soy sauce).
- 1 tablespoon organic avocado oil (any neutral flavored oil is fine)
- 2 pounds ground dark meat chicken (or turkey or pork)
- 4 green onions, white and green parts sliced thin, about 1 cup
- 2 large carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari (use coconut aminos to make Whole30)
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (omit to make Whole30)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, about a 2-inch section, grated on a microplaner
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (omit to make Whole30)
- 1 large head bib or butter lettuce, washed, dried and leaves separated
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil and brown the ground chicken, breaking it up the pieces. When it’s almost cooked through, add the green onions and carrots and saute with the chicken for about 2-3 minutes.
- In a bowl, stir together the soy sauce, hoisin, ginger, water and sesame oil. Pour over the chicken mixture in the pan, cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes, until carrots are soft.
- To assemble each chicken wrap: Top a lettuce leaf with about 1/4 cup of chicken mixture and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with other optional condiments on the side (julienned red pepper, cucumber sticks, shelled edamame and chopped peanuts).