Friday, July 1, 2016

Lettuce Wraps

The heat of summer is upon us. It’s been pretty warm here in Southern California. Normally we don’t see these kinds of temperatures until July or August, but, here we are, burning up already. Last week we had an unprecedented 110 degrees F! Insane.

When temps reach this high, I crave something cool to eat, or at least something light. Lettuce wraps are perfect for that. Often they can be found on restaurant menus under the appetizer section, but I like eating them as a meal. I just eat more of it! In fact, this recipe is a copycat of those famous wraps everybody loves at P.F. Chang’s Restaurant.

But, of course, it’s been modified. And what makes this recipe so fantastic is that wonderful marriage of sweet and spicy flavors that I like so well. There are probably no less than a million recipes out there for lettuce wraps, but what tends to be a big digestive problem for me with most Asian food is either the corn-starchy, sugary component, or tons of soy sauce in their sauces, which I find sometimes overwhelming anyway. This sauce is completely digestion-friendly, and soy-free, as it’s both Paleo as well as SCD-compliant. I found it on a site called and I think it rocks.

I love the crunch of the nuts, the slight sweetness from the little bit of honey, all balanced by the spiciness of the Sriracha. I plan to make this dish a lot this summer. It’s probably the best lettuce wrap I’ve ever had!

Give this recipe a try when you’ve craving something light on a hot summer evening. Makes good leftovers for lunch the next day. Serve with a side of cauliflower rice (recipe to follow soon), or if you eat grains, regular white of brown rice, or maybe a fried rice dish. If you’re especially hungry, add a side of stir-fried vegetables.

Make sure to properly chop everything very fine. You want the mix to be small enough so that you can adequately wrap a lettuce leaf around the filling. Big chunks won’t do!

Also, you can make this dish vegetarian if you like by using a soy crumble, or breaking down tofu with a fork to resemble ground meat. Tofu, however, has no flavor, so you’ll want to season it with some spices to give it a little more oomph.

1Tbsp. coconut oil
1 lb. ground chicken
5 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
1/3 cup green onion
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
3 Tbsp. coconut aminos
4 cloves of finely minced garlic
1/4 cup almonds, sliced or rough chopped
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. finely chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in a wide sauté pan. Add the chicken and brown, making sure to crumble the meat into the smallest possible bits. When almost cooked all the way through, add mushrooms, onion, ginger and garlic and cook until limp. Add remaining ingredients, except for cilantro, and stir together for a couple of minutes, then remove from heat.

Serve with either Boston Bibb (my favorite) or iceberg lettuce leaves that have been washed and thoroughly dried. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top.

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