I know what you’re thinking… “using LETTUCE in place of a carbohydrate…especially in a WRAP? That’s just a bit too over the top for me, Katie.” And this is what I say, “Nay my friends, greens are a great substitute for carb-y, gluten-y, calorie badness.” I promise you. Just hear me out.
For all of you guys that are sticking your tongues out saying “bleh” to this recipe, I have a couple of questions for you. Have you ever had Grecian stuffed grape leaves? Or perhaps you’ve had Asian cabbage rolls? If you have eaten either of these before and have enjoyed them then perhaps you can agree that I am not so crazy. It’s not a new concept people! I found this recipe on Pinterest. You guys are going to hear me mention this Internet phenomenon that has recently gained rapid popularity many, many, many times. In fact you might get sick of me mentioning it. But the great thing about Pinterest is that this website has connected me to many recipes and many view-worthy food blogs that without it I would have never ever found! This recipe comes from a lady named Amy from the blog “She Wears Many Hats”. There are going to be many times in this blog that I am going to take the knee and bow down to the superior bloggers of the Internet. I am just a college kid trying to eat healthy. But these guys…these guys are the experts. I can only hope to be as good of a blogger as they are someday. So if you would like to view what a real blog looks like, please visit Ms. Amy at http://shewearsmanyhats.com/ . She is quite possibly the happiest, smiley-est, cutest person ever.
Since I am simply just passing on this recipe from her, I will give you the original link in case you want to follow her recipe verbatim. http://shewearsmanyhats.com/2009/09/chicken-cashew-lettuce-wraps/ I tried her recipe just as she had written it and it was delicious. However, I found just a couple of things in her recipe that I would change for myself personally because my taste is probably not as refined or something. I find some tastes very strong like ginger and certain kinds of olive oil. Below is her recipe with a few of my changes.
Chicken Cashew Lettuce Wraps
Ingredients for Chicken Cashew “Filling”
- 2 chicken breasts (about 3/4 lb. total), diced
- 8 leaves of greenleaf lettuce
- 3 tablespoons canola oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup cashews, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for stir-fry sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- dash of ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
For stir-fry sauce mix all ingredients making sure to dissolve brown sugar. Set aside.
Heat canola oil in pan over medium to medium high heat. Add diced chicken and brown (about 4-5 minutes). Remove chicken from oil. Add onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon soy sauce to pan; brown. When onions and garlic are brown and tender add stir fry sauce, browned chicken and cashews. Saute mixture for a few minutes and remove from heat.
Spoon chicken mixture into individual lettuce leaves. Add your favorite hot sauce, more cashews or basil.
Here are the edits I’ve made to Amy’s recipe:
- I changed the lettuce type from iceberg OR green leaf to just green leaf. Honestly I found the iceberg lettuce to have a very overpowering flavor and it tended to crumble and fall a part. My boyfriend and I were having quite a time trying to keep the wraps together. We even had to bust out the forks at some point; quite messy. Perhaps it was just an unlucky head of lettuce, but I feel that next time I will either use cabbage or green leaf. It is much sturdier.
- I also decreased the amount of ground ginger. I am not a big fan of ginger in the savory context. I don’t know what’s wrong with me because I enjoy ginger candies and ginger teas. However in savory meals I feel like ginger gives it this strange floral flavor that doesn’t translate very well on my palate. I know that ginger is absolutely necessary in most Asian marinades and sauces so you can’t just leave it out altogether. I have a killer recipe for teriyaki sauce that just wouldn’t be the same without a dash of ginger. I’ve cut it down to just a dash.
- I cut down the amount of sesame oil too. First and foremost there are just certain tastes in this world that I can’t stand. All foodies have them. You can’t just like EVERYTHING. I really dislike sesame seeds. And sesame oil is a SUPER concentrated form of sesame flavor. I am going to try to warn you guys and I know you probably won’t listen to me but sesame oil is like…the nuclear bomb of cooking. It has a VERY strong flavor. In fact it’s so strong that even if you just put a LITTLE bit too much in a recipe the whole flavor of the dish is ruined. The whole dish will taste like sesame seeds. And there is NOTHING, not one God dang thing in this world you can add to it to mask that flavor. It’s like radioactive. I will one day tell you about my Grecian Cucumber Dip horror story. I cut the amount down by half.
This recipe is so healthy. It’s very low carb, full of protein with the chicken and the cashews, and it’s light. I felt very full after I had these wraps and I had about 2 and a half. I followed the amounts of each ingredient exactly and it made exactly enough for 5 wraps. The best part? It was QUICK! It only took me about 35 minutes to make and it was so easy that even Denan could help me. We found that he’s very talented at browning chicken. Denan is a reformed picky eater and even HE loved these wraps. To quote him on the phone with his best friend, “Katie made some ol’ fiya dinnah!” Which is how I would type his strong bayou accent. (Fiya= the bayou pronunciation of “fire” somehow meaning, fantastic, amazing, awesome) 😉
Eat, Pray, Love,
The Hungry Hungry Health Nut