This healthy low carb meal is full of exotic thai flavors! These lettuce wraps are a lean, healthy, super quick, flavorful meal. They are a play on the traditional Thai ground pork dish called larb, but can be also made with ground chicken or turkey. If you want to add a carb to the mix, we recommend making some rice or vermicelli rice noodles, which can be mixed in to the meat mixture.
This dish calls for fish sauce, which is not a pantry staple in most American households (though it should be). You can substitute soy sauce, or even salt, but we really recommend you take the plunge and buy yourself a bottle of fish sauce. It keeps in the fridge indefinitely and is a key component in many southeast Asian recipes (pad thai, curry etc). Both rice vermicelli and fish sauce are commonly available in almost all supermarkets (in the Asian food section).
For the lettuce wraps:
1lb ground pork (or ground chicken or turkey)
1 head of Boston bibb lettuce
Juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeno, sliced thin
1/2 onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce OR soy sauce (fish sauce preferred)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (if you don't have, use sesame oil or olive oil)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup scallions for garnish
For the cucumber salad:
1 cucumber, sliced thin
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1/2 jalapeno, sliced very thin (optional)
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
Optional garnishes: chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro, chopped green onion or spring onion tops
Make the lettuce wraps:
Add oil to pan or wok and heat. Add onion, and sauté until translucent. Add pork, garlic and jalapeño. Sauté until meat is cooked. Add fish sauce (or soy sauce) and lime juice. Turn off heat.
Taste the meat: the key to this dish is a mix of salt, sour and spicy. You may need to add a bit more lime, fish sauce or salt to get it just right.
Remember: fish sauce and or soy sauce is functioning as the salt in the dish. You don’t need to add salt in addition without tasting first.
Clean and wash lettuce gently, leaving full leaves intact. We recommend hand-pulling the leaves off the core, then lightly rinsing in a salad spinner. If you do not have a salad spinner, gently place the wet washed leaves between a top and bottom sheet of towel.
Assemble your wraps, garnish with a touch of cilantro and serve. Garnish to your taste: if some like more spice or veggies, you can add sriracha or some thinly chopped bell peppers or cucumbers.
Idea: Consider making rice or noodles to mix with the meat!
Make the cucumber salad:
In a bowl, whisk vinegar, lime juice, sugar and salt. Toss onion and cucumber into the dressing and place in refrigerator. Let sit for 30 minutes.
To serve, remove from fridge and add “optional” garnishes: chopped peanuts, drizzle of sesame oil, chopped fresh green onions or spring onion tops. Serve alongside your lettuce wraps. It goes great it the wraps too!