Paleo Lettuce Wraps
You know what I crave a lot?
Muthaeffin’ Chinese food. I remember the days of ignorant bliss when I thought I was being “healthy” by ordering steamed rice and kung pao chicken. During my early years as a trainer, I worked full time at Bally Total Fitness (don’t laugh) and was enrolled in 4 college courses at any given time; It’s funny that at the time I thought I was soooo busy. And what does an overwhelmingly busy schedule call for?
Why, Chinese takeout, of course!
Alas, gone are the days of nutritional unawareness. We know now that most of that stuff is filled with junk: sugar, MSG, and gluten to name a few. And while I do love me some sugary gluten-filled treats on occasion, it does not belong in my chicken. Just take a look at the nutritional information of PF Chang’s lettuce wraps:
Now, let’s be honest. When you order a thing called “lettuce wraps” you assume you’re making the healthy choice, right?
Why are there 47 grams of carbohydrates in something that is wrapped in lettuce? Sugar, that’s why. And remember, sugar is scrumptious and can make a hell of a treat when it comes in the form of oh, I don’t know…a brownie or a cupcake. But sugar in my lettuce wraps? No, thank you.
Unfortunately, there is still the pesky issue of the Chinese food cravings. As much as we wish we could use Jedi mind tricks to convince ourselves this isn’t the food we are looking for, most of us just aren’t there yet. That’s why I started making lettuce wraps at home, because when you make it at home, you get to decide what goes in and how much. You get to take something delicious and make it good for you too.
Bonus: Lettuce wraps can be anything you want wrapped in lettuce. I make these Mexican style with ground beef, or breakfast style with eggs and bacon.
Lettuce Wraps for the Lady Lifter
For the filling:
- 4-6 ounces ground meat (cage free chicken, turkey or grass fed beef, or chopped meat if you prefer)
- big handful raw cashews
- small handful diced mushrooms
- half handful diced onions
- medium handful chopped cabbage
- 1/4 handful chopped cilantro
- Optional: garlic, ginger, salt and red pepper if you aren’t using one of the sauces below
For the sauce:
You have several options here. You can go uber simple and use Tamari (gluten free soy sauce), adding in some red pepper flakes and ginger for a little kick. Or you can use on of these recipes to make your own sauce:
For the wraps:
I have seen a lot of recipes that call for iceburg lettuce to make it a true wrap. However, in my experience, I have found that organic romaine hearts work much better in terms of staying together, and you end up with a crunchy, easy to eat lettuce “boat.”
- Brown the meat and veggies in a cast iron pan with a little oil of your choosing (anything but vegetable oil!).
- When it’s just about done, add your cashews, cilantro and sauce, and mix to coat.
- Transfer mixture to lettuce boats and enjoy!