Robert does this thing where if he really, really, realllllllly likes something he’ll declare it “top 5″ or “top 10″ of all time. Like these flaky biscuits he had in Sonoma this fall? Top 5 of all time. I think that entire breakfast ranked in the top 5 or top 10. I can’t remember. It was pretty spectacular.
Well, as I bit into one of these chicken lettuce wraps I immediately exclaimed, “top 10 meals I’ve ever made!” I don’t know if I was more in shock that those words came out of my mouth or because it was true. I could eat these once a week every week for the rest of my life and be happy as can be. They’re just the perfect combination of good for you foods (ground chicken breast and veggies!), texture (both soft and crunchy elements — the water chestnuts make all the difference in the world), and flavor (just wait until you see the list of ingredients in the sauce.) But worry not, all of the sauce ingredients are items you already have in your pantry or a good excuse to stock up.
These wraps are outstanding. They really are. The first time I made the recipe (a riff on PF Chang’s version) I followed the instructions exactly as stated in this link. (I think I found it on Pinterest, though it’s a wonderful blog.) I’ve never actually had PF Chang’s lettuce wraps, though I’m certain I’d love them.
After I made the recipe I decided there were just four small tweaks I’d make: Double the recipe so we’d have leftovers for lunch; add diced red bell pepper for more color and nutrition; increase the amount of sriracha for added heat (omit if you’re a spice-phobe, which I used to be); and serve with Boston lettuce instead of iceberg to keep the crunch but add a little more nutrients. Each tweak ended up having the exact effect I hoped it would.
Ultimately, I ended up serving it platter style instead of creating wraps because they get pretty messy when you wrap them up. You kind of have to eat the whole thing without putting it down between bites. But in case you love the lettuce wrap approach, know that Boston lettuce wraps just as well — and in some ways even better — than iceberg.
If you know what’s good for you (and your tastebuds and your loved ones) make these ASAP. You won’t regret it : )
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 yellow onion, chopped
Salt & pepper
1 3/4 – 2 lb. ground chicken breast
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2″ knob of ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/3 c reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp Sriracha (plus extra for drizzling)
6 green onions, white and dark green parts
8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1 head Boston lettuce
[TIP: Chop all ingredients that require cutting before you start cooking. Like this:]
In a large skillet, heat olive oil (1 to 2 Tbsp) over medium-high heat. Add onion, season with some salt and pepper, and saute about 3-5 minutes. Add chicken. Use a wooden spoon to break up meat and cook until chicken is nearly done, about 8-10 minutes. Add red pepper, garlic, and ginger. Cook until chicken is cooked through.
Combine sauce ingredients (toasted sesame oil through Sriracha) in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Whisk until combined. When chicken is cooked, add sauce to chicken mixture in the skillet. Stir to combine. Add green onions and water chestnuts. Cook until green onions begin to soften and water chestnuts are warm, about 2-5 minutes. Add chopped peanuts, stir to combine.
Serve chicken mixture with lettuce leaves (wrap the chicken in the lettuce if you like) and brown rice.
Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats