My kids jump at the chance to order chicken lettuce wraps from restaurant menus, so I was thrilled when I perfected this scrumptiously lighter version that I can make at home. It has all the punch of the original but with a lot fewer calories, less fat and sodium, and still a hearty dose of protein. I promise, everyone will have fun scooping the chicken mixture into the lettuce and eating this out of hand—it makes for a perfect kid-friendly meal!
Slim & Scrumptious by Joy Bauer; William Morrow (2010)
|4 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced||1/4 teaspoon black pepper|
|2 stalks celery, finely diced||1/3 cup bottled Chinese plum sauce|
|1 large red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced||2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce|
|1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely diced||2 tablespoons rice vinegar|
|3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced||1 teaspoon hot chili paste, such as sriracha (or to taste)|
|2 tablespoons grated or finely minced fresh ginger||1/4 cup unsalted roasted cashews, chopped|
|4 cloves garlic, minced||1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish (optional)|
|1 pound ground chicken (at least 90% lean)||1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce|
|1/4 teaspoon kosher salt|
Liberally coat a large skillet with oil spray, and preheat it over medium-high heat.
Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften slightly, about 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water at a time as necessary to prevent scorching.
Reapply oil spray if necessary, and add the ground chicken to the skillet. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, breaking the meat into a fine crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with the salt and pepper.
Add the plum sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili paste and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until heated through.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the cashews and cilantro. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Clean the lettuce and break off 12 individual leaves (trim away the stem ends of the leaves if they are tough). Fill each lettuce cup with roughly 1⁄2 cup of the chicken mixture. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.
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