I’m always looking for healthy ways to add proteins into my meal making and quinoa is a big favorite of mine. I like how it can sort of mimic ground meat, when flavored well. I first created this Asian Quinoa Lettuce Wraps recipe as an appetizer for a friend’s birthday party and have since been serving it to Colin and the boys as a main dish for dinner. The first time I served it, one of the boys said, “Wow mom, this is actually really good!”

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Cooked Quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa, cooked with 2 cups water yields 3 cups cooked quinoa)
  • 1 cup Minced Carrots
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Savoy Cabbage
  • 1/3 cup Finely Chopped Green Onions
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Fresh Chili Paste (This amount just adds flavor. To make it spicy, add 1-2 teaspoons more.)
  • 2 tablespoons Roasted Peanuts, Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 head Butter Lettuce

Directions

 
  Pull butter lettuce leaves off of lettuce head, carefully keeping each one whole. Rinse and dry and place on a serving tray.
 
  Chop carrots, savoy cabbage, and green onions.
 
  Heat sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add chopped vegetables and fry until cabbage begins to wilt, about two minutes.
 
  Add cooked quinoa, soy sauce, and chili paste. Turn mixture in the pan with a metal spatula, until combined. Cook until soy sauce and chili paste begin to caramelize and quinoa begins to slightly brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and place into a serving dish.
 
  Combine peanuts and brown sugar and place in a small bowl, alongside the quinoa filling and lettuce leaves.
 
  To eat, fill a lettuce leaf with several spoonfuls of the quinoa filling and sprinkle with peanuts. Eat like a taco.

Spoon into lettuce leaves:

and top with peanuts. The brown sugar peanuts add a nice flavor pop and crunch to the savory filling:

Notes: The quinoa mixture will taste slightly salty on its own, but you'll find it's just right once eaten in the wrap, as it needs the flavor to shine through the lettuce wrapping. If you would rather use meat, substitute one pound of ground chicken for the cooked quinoa. Heat pan with sesame oil on high heat, add chicken to pan before the vegetables. Cook for one minute, then add vegetables, soy sauce, and chili paste all at once. Cook until chicken is all cooked, soy sauce and chili paste are beginning to caramelize, and mixture is beginning to slightly brown. You can find Ground Fresh Chili Paste in the Asian food section of most grocery stores. If your store doesn't carry it, you can order it on websites such as Amazon.com.

MEET SERENA!

Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.

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