Imagine having a garden full of organic lettuce and greens that you can harvest when you are ready to eat them – everything from Bibb Lettuce to Arugula. Somehow the days and weeks of watering these plants become so worth it when you take a bite out of your home grown produce. And frankly, lettuce is so low maintenance and grows so quickly that before you know it, you get gigantic lettuce heads that pop out from the dirt that you’ll end up having to share with family and friends! This is our 2nd year that we’ve grown our own lettuce and we encourage those with some space in their yard to do the same! You’ll understand why we appreciate our produce so much!
We harvested some beautiful Sierra lettuce the other day and figured it would be perfect for a meal of lettuce wraps – low-carb, healthy, and refreshing! Lettuce Wraps are well-known in some restaurants as appetizers because it’s so light, and typically made with Asian flavors, like soy sauce and Hoison sauce. We basically incorporated a lot of the popular flavors, but made some changes based on our preference. For example, I cannot stand water chestnuts! There’s just something about the texture and crunch that just ruins the dish for me, so obviously I omitted water chestnuts from the traditional recipe. Instead, I added something different – glass noodles. Combined with the rest of the ingredients, this helps balance the meal and provides a little bit of carbs. Give our recipe a try or experiment with your own favorite ingredients and you’ll be thoroughly satisfied with having Lettuce Wraps on the dinner table.
Back in March, we had posted this picture of us planting the different types of lettuce in our square patch. This was the size it came in from the nursery.
Two months later, this is the size of the lettuce heads! Not bad, huh? From the left, we have the Sierra lettuce, then Bibb, and finally Freckled. In the back, we started to put other varieties in pots (like Spring Mix, Arugula, etc). Once we harvest the lettuce from the planter, we transfer the ones in the pot to the ground because it grows much faster.
Having a nice salad blend at our convenience is wonderful! I make sure we get our daily dose of fiber!
I prepped all of the ingredients that I wanted to add to the ground beef. I used about a cup and a half of shiitake mushrooms (2 oz. when dried which I soaked in hot water for half an hour, then removed the woody stems and diced them, as shown), 1 cup of glass noodles (prepare according to package), half cup of minced shallots, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 chopped green onions, 3 tbsp chopped pickled ginger, and 2 chopped Thai chilies.
In a large pan, brown 1-1.5 lbs of ground beef and drain excess fat and liquid. Next, combine the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes, then add the shiitake mushrooms, pickled ginger, green onion, and Thai chilies. Now pour in the sauce (1 tbsp Hoison, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp Oyster sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp sesame oil). Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. When everything's good, turn off the heat and toss in the glass noodles (since it's already cooked and you don't want to get it soggy). Note: Printable Recipe below!
Spoon the mixture into a lettuce leaf and dip with some Hoison sauce and Sriracha. I like how the Sierra lettuce has a nice pocket that's perfect to stuff. You can also use Boston Bibb or Butter Lettuce.
These Beef and Shiitake Lettuce Wraps are fun to eat because you basically help yourself at the dinner table. There's not much fuss in making this simple dish and it's up to your imagination on what ingredients you want to use, like chicken instead of beef, or bamboo shoots instead of shiitake mushrooms. Either way, when you want to have a low-carb meal, this is definitely the way to go!
To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Beef and Shiitake Lettuce Wraps