Is it strange to admit that these Asian Lettuce Wraps made me giddy when I ate them? Because they really did. It’s hard to argue the virtues of a meal like this – quick, easy, and healthy – this meal covers all those bases perfectly. It also happens to be gluten free and dairy free too. And it uses very common, very inexpensive ingredients. When I plan out my meals I usually aim to meet at least a majority of those criteria, but rarely do I find something that meets all of them at once. And when I do, it’s even more rare that I get excited about how it tastes. But not this time. This time I did a little happy dance around the kitchen after the first bite. Or maybe it was a victory dance.
If you can brown meat and chop a few vegetables, you can easily make this meal. It uses ground turkey along with plenty of veggies like carrots, onions, and peppers to really pump up both the flavor and nutrition. There’s also fresh ginger – another of my favorite flavors. Ginger is a natural inflammation fighter, and since inflammation leads to a whole host of health issues, it’s a good idea to add a little to your diet whenever you can. Since it’s really inexpensive and easy to use in cooking, I like to keep a nice big chunk of it in the refrigerator at all times and then grate it into things like stir-fries, soups, and even oatmeal.
But you don’t have to make these Asian Lettuce Wraps because they’re healthy – you have to make them because they are outrageously good!
Asian Lettuce Wraps
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 Tablespoon oil (I use canola)
1 small onion, diced
1 small Poblano pepper, diced (optional*)
1/4 cup grated carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 pound ground turkey
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes*
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used San-J gluten free)
2-3 green onions, sliced
cilantro, if desired
Cut the stem from the head of lettuce and gently separate leaves. Don’t worry if you tear a few – it will get easier as you get closer to the core. Set leaves aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, pepper, and carrots to skillet and saute for about 3 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add ground turkey to skillet and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add red pepper flakes, chili powder, and cumin and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in soy sauce and continue cooking about 3-4 more minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Place one or two lettuce leaves on a plate and spoon about 1/2 cup of the turkey mixture into them. (If the leaves seem too brittle you can double them up.) Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately.
*This is not an overly spicy dish, but if you are sensitive to spicy foods, or are making these for young children, you may want to reduce or eliminate the Poblano pepper and the crushed red pepper from the recipe.
recipe adapted from: Sage Recipes