Lots of people rave about lettuce wraps. I know they are a favorite appetizer at a popular chain restaurant, but surprisingly I had never tried them till now. I have been wanting to try them for quite a while but there are hundreds of versions out there and they are all so different! Some seem not in the least authentic, some call for only ingredients I have no hope of finding here in my town – I was hoping for something in between. Finally I turned to Jaden at Steamy Kitchen because I knew she would have a great recipe that didn’t require tons of hard to find items.
These were a really nice light and healthy dinner. I loved the contrast of the warm filling with the cool, crisp lettuce. I also really liked the play between the spicy-sweet flavors. They weren’t super spicy, but just enough to give the mild, slow burn I love. Part of the sweetness comes from the diced apple – it may seem like a weird addition but don’t skip it. Ben and I both agreed that it made the dish. Butter lettuce is recommended for lettuce wraps but I had no luck finding it in the grocery. Maybe next time at the farmers’ market!
Asian Lettuce Wraps
For the sauce:
1½ tsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce
For the filling:
2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 green onions, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
2 cups mixed vegetables (I used frozen peas and carrots, diced red pepper and onion)
½ green apple, finely chopped
Butter lettuce leaves, washed and separated
Shredded carrots for topping (optional)
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and mix to blend.
To make the filling, heat a skillet on high heat with cooking oil. Once the pan is hot, add the garlic, ginger and green onions to the pan, and stir fry for a few seconds, just until fragrant. Add the ground turkey or chicken, breaking into small pieces, and cook until almost cooked through. Add the vegetables to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the sauce and cook for about 1 minute until thickened slightly. Add the apples to the pan and toss to coat. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
Serve the filling in lettuce “cups” and top with shredded carrots, if desired.
Source: slightly adapted from Steamy Kitchen