Do you like to cook? I do. (Duh, Amber. You’re a food blogger. Of course you like to cook.) I love to throw parties and make super amazing food for people. It’s a form of love, I think: feeding people. But feeding small people– my children– on a daily basis does not always bring me loving feelings. Let’s face it, kids can be picky. They complain easily when they find out you’re not making their favorite meal. And dinner comes around Every. Dang. Day. It’s relentless. Enter: Asian Lettuce Wraps.
Ok, you might not believe me, but my kids eat these up! I don’t know if it’s the fact that they have their own little cups, or the fact that they’re encouraged to eat with their hands, or maybe it’s the peanutty sauce, but I never have to fight them to finish these. Plus there are a bunch of veggies in here that you don’t even notice so I know they’re eating healthy.
Plus, for those of you following a low carb diet, these clock in at 6.2 grams of net carbs per serving.
Asian Lettuce Wraps
I adapted this recipe from one I used to make before going low carb. It was posted in a motherhood group I’m part of on Facebook during a discussion of quick weeknight meals. Mamas gotta help each other out, right?
It was not too difficult to modify this to make it low carb. The original sauce had honey in it, and all I did was to omit it entirely. If you follow a ketogenic diet, you’ll likely find that your tastebuds adjust to less sweetness. I took out the honey and didn’t even notice. I think we’ve all gotten so used to adding sweetness to everything we eat that we don’t even think about whether it’s necessary. In this case, it’s absolutely not.
After that, it was just a simple matter of swapping out rice for cauliflower rice, or just omitting it altogether. Then a few adjustments to the ratios and we’re golden.
Important: make the sauce first. Seriously, 9 times out of 10, I forget to do it and then have to stir everything together while I’m cooking the meat mixture. It’s not ideal, let me tell you. So just stir them up quickly together before you start.
About the ingredients: I chose Tamari soy sauce (soy sauce without wheat) here, but you can also use coconut aminos. Just know that coconut aminos have more natural sugars in them, so calculate the nutrition info accordingly. Make sure you’re using a natural, unsweetened peanut butter. I use fresh ginger here, but you can also substitute dried, ground ginger to taste.
A tip about using fresh ginger: I always take my ginger and peel the whole thing, then throw it in a ziplock bag in the freezer. You can grate it straight from frozen. It will last longer and is actually easier to grate this way.
To make my life easier, I use a bag of coleslaw mix in addition to the onion and mushrooms in the filling. This time around, I had a really basic mix, but I prefer the one from Trader Joe’s that has both green and red cabbage along with the carrots.
This recipe is so simple. Sauté the veggies, then add the meat. When it’s 90% cooked or so, add the sauce and finish cooking. Seriously, it’s just that easy.
Butter lettuce (also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce) is really your best bet here. I’ve tried with romaine and iceberg, and it just doesn’t hold up as well. Butter lettuce is the perfect size and construction for this, so for best results, don’t substitute here.
I mentioned before, you can use cauliflower rice here as well. Just put a little bit on the lettuce before adding the meat mixture. It’s higher in carbs this way, but it’s a great way to stretch the meal to feed more people!
The rest of my family eats theirs just like you see above. But I prefer to add a little something extra.
I lerve wasabi.
Previously, I’d been using a pre-made wasabi paste in a tube that I found at the grocery store. You’d think by now I’d know to ALWAYS check the ingredients on everything, but sometimes I still make incorrect assumptions. I finally checked and found out it’s full of sugar! Sugar! In wasabi!
So I found this wasabi powder at my local health food store. It’s not 100% wasabi (it has horseradish and mustard mixed in) but I found this brand on Amazon that’s pure wasabi powder. You mix it with a small amount of hot water (I just used hot from the tap) to make it into a paste.
Then I mix it with some mayo to create a spicy sauce.
Add some sriracha sauce for more heat, if you like.
*rings dinner bell*
Come and get it!
Asian Lettuce Wraps
1 Tbsp. avocado oil or coconut oil
1/4 cup (40g) diced onion
2 cups (145g) diced mushrooms
1 bag (9-12 oz.| 250-350g) coleslaw mix (or 2 cups shredded cabbage plus 1/4 cup shredded carrot)
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 lb (.45 kilo) ground beef
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)
1 head butter lettuce
Cauliflower rice (optional)
1/2 (120mL) cup Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Traditional Mayo 24 oz, Non-GMO, 100% Pure, Gluten Free, Dairy Free for Sandwiches, Dressings and Sauces (optional)
1 tsp. Wasabi powder (optional, more or less to taste)
Whisk together all ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Then add onions, mushrooms, and cabbage mixture. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes, or until onions are translucent and mushrooms are beginning to brown. Add garlic and ground beef. Break up the meat as it browns. When it is mostly browned, pour in sauce mixture and continue cooking until meat is fully cooked through. If you feel your sauce is too thin, sprinkle xanthan gum over the mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened.
To make wasabi mayo: mix wasabi powder with a small amount of hot water to make a paste. Mix into mayo until combined.
Serve the meat mixture in the lettuce leaves. Top with wasabi mayo and sriracha, if desired.
Nutrition, for 6 servings, not including optional ingredients: Calories: 335 kcal; Total Carbs: 8.7g; Fiber: 2.5g; Net Carbs: 6.2g; Fat: 25.3g; Protein: 18.5g.