As I continue to meet and interact with so many of you, I am learning, and appreciating, how one’s culture impacts the foods we eat and the flavors we use (I already have an idea for a follow up book! Stay tuned…). In the area of the northeast where I live, I have an abundance of amazing restaurants to try that showcase foods from around the globe. The different flavors and textures excite me and I am learning that so many women, and families, are amazing cooks when it comes to feeding themselves or their families.
The problem with many restaurants, however, is that there is no controlling for some of the ingredients that they use. Often chefs will add a variety of seasonings, spices, or salts that make the food taste incredible but are not so healthy for everyone, especially pregnant women, to eat. Further, the amount of spices can also cause a lot of GI upset like heartburn, nausea, or even irritable bowel. However, there is a way to still enjoy the diverse flavors from around the world and not have to spend hours preparing them.
This dish takes is inspired by some of the incredible Asian dishes I have eaten at Thai, Chinese, or Vietnamese restaurants. It’s so simple to make and has lots of fresh ingredients. It works great as a simple dinner, lunch, brunch, or a dish for a party. The trick to making this dish a success each time is to prepare all the ingredients in advance. Stir frying is so quick and easy, and once you begin cooking the meal is prepped in no time. This recipe can be doubled and made in advance—it’s even better re-heated!
The sauce is what elevates this recipe–since I’m such a huge fan of peanut butter; I highlight it in the dipping sauce that becomes the peanut portion of this dish. Any leftover sauce goes great with pork, beef, pasta, grilled vegetables, or toasted pita triangles. Craving more spice or heat? Try adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of Sriracha for another layer of flavor.
Feel free to experiment with different vegetables or substitute ground turkey, tofu or lean beef. Try different types of lettuce like Romaine, iceberg, or even endive, or try serving this over chopped mixed field greens or over sprouts. The possibilities are endless!
Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 pound lean ground chicken
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 head Bibb lettuce
- 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (any brand)
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Sriracha (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- Prepare the sauce: Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and Sriracha if using. Add additional tablespoons of water until desired thickness. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat (or in a wok), heat the olive oil and sesame oil. Add the chicken, carrot, and shallot. Cook until the chicken is browned and no longer pink, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add garlic and ginger and 1 minute.
- Stir in hoisin sauce, fish sauce, and sriracha if using and cook until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
- Serve rounded spoonfuls of the chicken mixture inside the center of each lettuce leaf. Drizzle with the peanut sauce or roll the lettuce leaf like a taco, a slice of pizza, or a burrito and dip into the peanut sauce.
Featured photo by Brenna Huff