Thursday, September 8, 2011

Turkey-Lettuce Wraps

Last year, while visiting Toronto, I ate at an Asian restaurant with some friends and we ordered chicken lettuce wraps for an appetizer. They were AMAZING. When I got home, I scoured the internet for healthy versions of this recipe, and came across this one from

Here is the recipe straight from Eating Well: Five-Spice Turkey Lettuce Wraps, that page also has the serving sizes and nutritional information. I tweaked it a bit. I used 3 tbsp of Hoisin and skipped the water chestnuts and peppers, as I don't like them. But feel free to add any veggies you'd like!!

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup instant brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder, (see Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, mint and/or chives
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ginger; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder and salt; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
  3. To serve, divide lettuce leaves among plates, spoon some of the turkey mixture into each leaf, top with herbs and carrot and roll into wraps. 
And here is also a little tid-bit that I found rather fascinating:
"Often a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns, five-spice powder was originally considered a cure-all miracle blend encompassing the five elements (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, salty). Look for it in the supermarket spice section".

 I also like to put Maggi's Sweet Chili Sauce on my wraps as well, it's sweet and spicy, just as the name suggests but is 100% optional.

In my picture I also have some green beans. I bought a spice packet for Szechuan Green Beans by the company Simply Asia. The directions said to cut the ends off 1 lb of green beans, put the beans in the bag provided, mix the seasoning with 1/2 cup water, pour over beans, and microwave for 6-7 minutes, then let stand 5 minutes.

The beans tasted really good BUT I had no idea when I bought the package that it came with a steaming bag. I am very anti-microwaving anything plastic, especially because of BPA and links with PCOS (read an article about that here.). I think if I try this again I will find a different way to steam my veggies and THEN add the sauce.

Here is an article, also by Eating Well, about microwaving plastic containers. They say that it's safe! I learned something new! Read it here!

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