Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lettuce Cups - Light & Delicious!

Wow, it's been a LONG time!
The end of 2011 was such a whirlwind with all the holidays and flus it was kind of a blur, so back in the saddle again and ready to share this super light and easy recipe.

After all the gorging I did over Thanksgiving and Christmas I wanted to get on track with some healthier eating for the new year and this recipe is just that.
These DELICIOUS Lettuce Cups are so versatile - you can use chicken, turkey, pork or tofu.
You can use ground meat or  dice/shred/chop up some leftover meat, you can toss in whatever veggies you have on hand - really anything goes.
This dish is really light but full of flavor, and something both my husband and son love which is always a plus.

An outline of what you will need:
1 lb of ground meat
crushed red pepper flakes
soy sauce
hoisin sauce
rice wine or white vinegar
small can water chestnuts
carrots (plus any other veggies you like)
cilantro/green onion
lettuce leaves
dipping sauce of your choice

So here's how I do it...

In a large saute pan with about 2 T of oil (I like to use Grapeseed - it has the health benefits of Olive Oil, but with a very neutral flavor) I add 1 large shallot or small onion and a good pinch of red chili flakes for heat, once the onion/shallot is translucent I add 4 cloves of minced garlic and about 1 T fresh grated ginger.
To this I add 1 lb of ground meat (here I used pork, but I usually do chicken - tofu would also work great if you want to make this vegetarian), 3 T Hoisin Sauce, and a good splash of Soy Sauce or Tamari to taste, I cook this and medium/high heat until meat is opaque and slightly browned - about 5 minutes.
I then remove the meat from pan and set aside, add another 2 T of oil and throw in the veggies (here I cleaned out the crisper drawer and used carrots, cabbage, water chestnuts, mushrooms, bell pepper, and celery - but just carrots and water chestnuts would be fine), once those are cooked I add back in the meat and we're done.

I like to finish with fresh green onion and cilantro and a healthy dose of vinegar, personally I like a LOT of vinegar so I really pour it on!

I scoop a couple spoonfuls into each lettuce leaf and top with crushed peanuts for added texture and crunch.
As for dipping sauce - I like to drizzle each lettuce cup with sweet chili sauce, but soy sauce or vinegar with chili oil are also delicious.