Asian Lettuce Wraps
This makes a fantastic weeknight meal, a fun appetizer or a healthy after school snack to share. The best thing about them is you can cook the meat a day or so in advance if you want to... I also make use of store bought shredded carrots and tri-color coleslaw mix to help cut down on prep time! You won't even have to peel your ginger or mince your garlic, I utilize the blender for that. You can thank me later lol.
My veg to meat ratio is pretty high so if you like more meat simply double the meat portion of the recipe. Now I know it seems unusual for a meat based meal to have a vegan option but in this case you can simply replace the meat with ground soy or with a fantastic new product from Big Mountain Foods called VEGGIE GROUNDS and add some cooked beans or lentils. It's nice to have the option if you are trying to eat less meat throughout the week or perhaps you have a vegan or vegetarian friend coming for dinner.
I've broken the recipe down into several easy steps so be sure to take a quick read through the recipe before you start so you can make sure you have all the ingredients.
For the meat or soy:
1lb ground meat, ground soy, Veggie Grounds
1 bunch of cilantro (stems only save the leaves for later)
1 bunch of green onions (white part only save the green for later)
2 large cloves of garlic
1 thumb sized piece of ginger (un-peeled)
3 large Thai basil leaves
1tbsp sesame oil
2tbs soy sauce
1tbsp oyster sauce
1tsp fish sauce
1tbsp peanut butter
1 small red chile (remove the seeds if you want it mild)
Place a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and add your ground meat so it can start to brown. (skip this step if you are using soy or veggie grounds)
While the meat is starting to brown pop all the remaining ingredients into a blender and give it a whiz. You can add a bit of water just to get it moving if you need to. Once blended stir this mixture into the pan with your ground meat, soy or Veggie Grounds. Don't clean out your blender yet you'll be using it later if you choose to make the sauce.
Continue cooking until the meat is thoroughly browned and all the liquid had dissolved, this usually takes about 10 minutes. Now set aside while you prepare your veg.
For the veg you can use a handful or two of any combination of:
shredded carrot, tri-color coleslaw, diced red pepper, bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, sliced green onions, julienned radish, chopped roasted peanuts.
Stir your veg into the cooked meat just before serving so it stays slightly crisp.
If you have the time you can also make a quick sauce:
Simply pop 1 cup water, 1/3 cup of soy sauce and 2tbsp of peanut butter into the blender jar you used earlier. Give it a whiz until it's well mixed. Pour sauce into four small dishes and serve with your lettuce wraps. You can garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds if you'd like.
I serve each person their own bowl of filling with a stack of washed whole lettuce leaves. I like to use butter lettuce, iceberg lettuce, Boston bibb or if I'm short on time I'll sometimes even used pre-washed romain leaves. To eat, each person simply puts a spoonful or two of filling in a lettuce leaf and then drizzles a bit of sauce over the filling.
Tip- I've recently discovered a new Vegan product that's soy-free, gluten-free and best of all it's made in Canada... it's AMAZING!!!! It's made by BIG MOUNTAIN FOODS and it's called "Cauli Crumble Veggie Grounds" it will even satisfy the carnivores in your life lol.