I’m obsessed with things wrapped in lettuce.
Which seems an appropriate response to having a gluten allergy, since buns and bread are effectively off the table, right? Every week I eat at least one dish that uses crisp romaine or butter lettuce wraps as the vessel with which I deliver said deliciousness into my belly.
I’m also a fan of simplicity, and this recipe couldn’t be easier. You can even be super lazy and just buy grocery store Hoisin sauce, although, for anyone with celiac, that’s a risky proposition, as most store-bought brands contain soy sauce. Also if you don’t make the sauce from scratch, you’re missing a huge part of what makes this dinner so flavorful and awesome. The moral of this paragraph? Make the sauce. In fact, make a double batch.
What makes my lettuce wraps recipe different from the mainstream recipes out there, is the addition of more veggies. The best thing about Asian cuisine, to my mind, is the ease with which all sorts of vegetables can slide into a dish all stealth-like and punch up the color, crunch, and fiber quotient while making only a modest flavor difference. Typically the sauce situation takes care of that. So I say “more veggies for all!” Seriously though, add even just one additional veggie to your stir-fries or your take-out from now on. Your body and your taste buds will thank you.
Since I didn’t want to monkey with the original filling recipe too much except to add bamboo shoots, I opted to veg-ify this recipe with the addition of a crisp coleslaw, reminiscent of cucumber salad. Packaged broccoli slaw is my favorite mixture to use for this crunchy condiment, although last time when I couldn’t find it, I subbed a lovely kale, cabbage and Brussels sprout slaw to which I added shredded carrot. Basically, whatever shredded veggie combo strikes your fancy ought to do the trick. Toss a handful of that in a tangy dressing infused with sesame oil and chili flakes, chill briefly before serving and you have a bright garnish that almost steals the show. Almost. There’s still that dreamy sauce…
Another great thing about this recipe is that you can make it with whatever protein your heart desires. Organic, grass-fed beef makes bomb lettuce wraps, but you’ll usually find these babies made with ground dark-meat turkey in my household. Even the roommate can’t get enough of these and he generally likes to eschew my healthy cooking as dramatically unsatisfying by virtue of it being gluten-free.
Meaning, he rarely eats my food, out of principle.
This recipe, however, makes him say, “Principles be damned!” Actually, that’s never happened. But since he’s happily munching away on these as I type, that must be what he’s thinking, right?
Point is, you’re going to want to make this your something delicious today.