Ah, early summer. My CSA started back up for summer two short weeks ago and yet, I am already drowning in produce. But, you know, in a good way. Since it’s just the two of us, we tend to have more than we can feasibly use. A lot goes into the freezer (which makes ice cream and popsicles very, very difficult…). A lot gets snuck into recipes when the boyfriend isn’t paying attention.
“What’s this?” he’ll ask, pushing something to the side of his plate with his fork while I run through mental scenarios of if it’s okay to tell the truth or just stretch it a bit. There’s very little he will actively refuse (mushrooms seem to be the one firm holdout), but every now and then I know it might be better to tread lightly.
Well, who doesn’t love lettuce wraps?! Nobody, that’s who. Especially when you have such beautiful speckled romaine. And this was a recipe I could pack full of veggies without worrying if someone might get picky.
And while we’ve all had the ones from PF Chang’s that are now ubiquitous everywhere (though the Korean BBQ version is certainly way more authentic), we can all probably agree that they could stand to be a little less oily and salty, and have a few veggies thrown in. I left my veggies in large julienned strips, in all their glory, though you could certainly dice them up if you don’t have a mandoline. I certainly wanted vegetables to be the focus of this dish; meat was the supporting player here.
And look at that, you ate a salad AND tacos for dinner. Perfect for summer.
Asian Lettuce WrapsUse what veggies you have on hand and feel free to add to the list — mushrooms, water chestnuts, chopped cabbage, etc. I made this with pork but you could use beef, turkey, or chicken too. Once you have everything prepped, this will come together quickly. I was able to julienne the veggies while the meat browned. You can cook the veggies longer if you like them softer or shorter if you don’t mind a bit of their raw flavor and texture coming through.
- 1 lb ground meat
- 3 large carrots, peeled and julienned or diced
- 1 hakauri turnip, peeled and julienned or diced
- 1 large daikon radish, peeled and julienned or diced
- 3 baby bok choy, sliced into strips
- 1/4 cup sliced scallions
- 1/4 cup diced garlic scapes (or one clove, minced)
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh, minced)
- 3 tbsp hoisin
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sriacha sauce
- to garnish: chopped basil, cilantro, and/or scallions
- lettuce leaves
- In a large skillet, brown the meat. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl, draining away all but a few tablespoons of the fat. If your meat is very lean you may need to supplement with some olive or coconut oil.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of the fat back into the pan; add veggies and cook to desired doneness, staggering if necessary (I added scallions and garlic scapes after the other veggies were mostly done).
- Return meat to the pan, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. You may need to add a bit more of the condiments to get your desired flavor. Stir in herbs to garnish. Serve.