For most of my life my food couldn’t touch. I dated someone in my early 20’s whose mom bought me a divider plate for when we were at their house for supper. It had lambs on it – because really, they don’t made adult divider plates. I wasn’t even embarrassed either, I was so happy. No more potato food walls (I would made a little barricade with my mashed potatoes to separate them from other foods) had to be made, I could simply put my food in different spots.
However, somewhere along the line I stopped caring as much. And now? Well now I love bowls, stir frys and mish mash plates of food. For the past few months I have been absolutely loving lettuce wraps. I cannot remember where we were, but we were out for supper one day and the place wasn’t overly gluten free friendly, but one thing that was was the lettuce wraps. So I ordered them because a) I really love lettuce wraps and b) I also really love not feeling horrific for the week to come afterwards.
There are obviously a ton of different recipes and ways to make them, and I do make them many different ways myself, but I tend to use the same basics.
What You Need
- Lettuce wraps (duh) – if you ever order them in restaurants they tend to use romaine hearts which are long, and while nicer looking, slightly hard to eat with. SO while they contain pretty much zero nutritional value, I actually prefer using the outer layers of just plain ‘ol head lettuce. They make more of a bowl, and I find are easier to maneuver. I generally use about 3-4 wraps per person, depending on their size. 2-3 if they’re the top layers and are big buggers.
- Veggies of your choice – think of what flavors will work. If you’re using an asian inspired sauce, tomatoes may not taste super awesome. I tend to use peppers (all colors), mushrooms, shaved carrots, snap peas and water chestnuts. If I can find them I also really like bean sprouts in mine. Again, use as many or little veggies as you like. I’m a vegetable-o-holic so I tend to put in quite a bit. I’d guess about 2 cups of veggies for myself. (the picture below is from one night when I was home alone, just to judge how many I actually stuff in there!)
- A sauce. I’m going to be honest, I have tried many different sauces – bottled or home made, and I do like a nice peanut sauce, I generally gravitate towards this sauce I used for my sweet and spicy edamame (you need soy or tamari sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, oil (I used sesame and olive, but you can use what you have), ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes).
- Rice of your choice. I usually make about half a cup of dry rice per person if I’m going to the vegetarian route with edamame or on it’s own, or 1/4 per person if I’m using chicken. The type of rice totally depends on what you prefer, or more often what’s on hand. A brown rice or plain white rice will have more a sticky texture when it’s all made, where as I find using a Jasmine, long grain or Basmati rice tends to stay separated and is a little messier to eat. Although I personally prefer a Basmati with my lettuce wraps.
- Filler Foods. We have a nut shelf in our fridge. It’s stocked with a variety of nuts – shaved almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts. So if I’m skipping the meat (as I often do) I usually throw some cashews, walnuts or almonds into my wraps. I also really love tossing in some edamame. Like most bowls and dishes along these lines you can toss in pretty much anything and it’s going to be delicious.
- About a teaspoon of oil for cooking
How You Do It
- It’s pretty simple. I usually cook rice or meat once or twice a week in big batches, and use it as I need it. If you don’t do that, cook your rice or chicken as you normally would. Sidenote: about 6 years ago my mom bought me a rice cooker. It has hands down become one of my most used, most loved kitchen gadgets. It’s mindless, cooks perfectly every time, never burns and cleans so easily.
- Peel off your lettuce wraps and give them a quick rinse and pat dry with paper towel
- I generally toss my veggies into a hot pan with some oil, just to soften the veggies and release some of the flavors. I’d say I cook them for about 10 minutes on medium heat. I then put them in a bowl.
- Next I make the sweet and spicy edamame sauce, usually just in the same pan since that means less dishes which makes me happy!
- Once the sauce is caramelizing, I toss my veggies, meat (if applicable) and rice into the mixture
- When everything is all warmed up, I dish the mixture into my lettuce wraps
- And then I eat
This is perfect if you have leftovers of things, but if not it’s still pretty easy as rice cooks itself! If your rice and chicken (if applicable) is already cooked, then it’s ready in 15 minutes. You really can’t complain about that. Plus? It’s super frickin’ tasty.