Lettuce wraps make perfect summer night dinners.
First of all, they’re easy…
Like, wash off some lettuce, quickly cook up some meat, toss in some herbs, and whisk together a basic sauce and you’re done.
Plus, you can do so many different flavor twists.
Mexican, Thai, Indian, etc… they would all be delicious.
This week, I decided to go Thai.
These wraps are bright, fresh, and packed with flavor.
Simply saute some pork and garlic until golden brown, then turn off the heat and toss in some fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion, and fresh peppers.
Stuff the pork mixture into crisp butter lettuce leaves, and spoon a simple sauce over top, made with lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and more chiles.
The results are little pockets of deliciousness, packed with tender meat, fresh herbs, spicy chiles, vibrant fresh lime juice, and salty fish sauce.
I really like serving them with a giant bowl of fried rice on the side. Recipe coming soon!
Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 red serrano or jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small red onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
Carefully remove the butter lettuce leaves from the head of lettuce, wash with cool water, and set out to dry on a towel.
Next, assemble the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 1 of the sliced peppers. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned (about 10 minutes or so). Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, until softened and fragrant.Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the onion, basil, cilantro, mint, and remaining pepper slices.
Serve family style, with the pork mixture, lettuce leaves, and dipping sauce. To assemble, spoon the pork into a lettuce leaf and either dip the wraps into the sauce or spoon over the top before eating.
As a born and raised California girl, I can’t resist California-ing all of my favorite recipes.
Take this delicious California Cobb Salad or Avocado Hemp Seed Pesto, for example.
What makes a recipe California-fied?
Two main things:
Avocado. + Sprouts.
Add those two items to anything, and it’s officially the California version.
So obviously, burgers were on the agenda for a California spin.
These California Turkey Burgers have tons of delicious additions:
- They’re turkey instead of beef, for a lighter spin on things
- The patties are loaded with fresh herbs. Basil, parsley, and lemon zest liven things up.
- Topped with Monterey Jack cheese. For milder creamy flavor and texture.
- Loaded with fresh vegetables. Cucumber, tomato, onion, sprouts, etc.
- Mounded with creamy avocado mashed with a little mayo, garlic powder, and hot sauce.
- Piled onto a brioche bun for an extra hardy burger.
Once the patties are formed, they only cook for 7 minutes on each side. Then you can enjoy their deliciousness mounded on a sturdy brioche bun.
California Turkey Burgers
- 1 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 1/4 cup minced basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Canola oil, for brushing
- 4 slices Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 brioche hamburger buns
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Thick tomato slices
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Cucumber slices
For Avocado Spread:
- 2 avocados, diced
- 2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- A few dashes of Tapatio hot sauce
Place the turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, basil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon zest. Use your hands to mix well, and then form into 4 patties.
Heat a cast iron grill pan over high heat. Brush both sides of the burgers with canola oil, then grill for about 7 minutes per side. When you flip the burgers onto the second side, let cook for 2 minutes, then top with Monterey Jack cheese and let it melt while the burgers finish cooking.
When the burgers are done cooking, remove them from the grill and let rest while you prepare the avocado spread.
To make the avocado spread, place the diced avocado in a bowl along with the mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, and Tapatio. Mash well with a fork until smooth.
When you're ready to eat, spread some mustard on each bottom bun, top each with a turkey patty, tomato, onion, cucumber, and sprouts. Spread a generous amount of the avocado spread on each top bun, and top each of your burgers. Serve right away.
So I seriously never liked chicken salad…. (I blame goopy mayonnaise overkill)
But something switched this year and I am ALL about it!
It’s super satisfying, and tastes so yummy mounded on salad or wrapped in a large leaf of butter lettuce. I’m even into making picnic sandwiches with croissants!
One major swap that makes chicken a lot more refreshing & light is swapping out half the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt 🙂
It adds a delicious tang and ups the protein content of the salad. Win win.
I’ve made regular chicken salad with fresh grapes and walnuts, but I like it even better with a pop of curry powder. The turmeric gives the whole thing a beautiful golden tint, and the blend of curry powder spices makes each bite exciting and flavorful.
Of course, if you just had a mix of chicken coated w. creamy sauce, things could get a bit boring, texture-wise.
Throw in some diced celery, raisins, and sliced almonds and now you’ve got a nice crunch factor. Finally, some minced cilantro & green onions compliment the creamy curry flavor, and make the perfect chicken salad. Yum Yum.
Chicken salad makes awesome picnic food.
Imagine lounging on a blanket, reveling in the sun, and pulling out a batch of this awesome chicken salad. It’s light, refreshing, savory, and satisfying. You can even kick it up a notch by stuffing it into croissants.
It’s super delicious!
Curried Chicken Salad Wraps
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and patted dry
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 3 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the chicken breasts for about 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (use an instant thermometer if you aren't sure!).
Remove the chicken breasts and let cool. When cooled, dice the chicken into a half-inch dice and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, curry powder, apricot preserve, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add the diced chicken, celery, green onions, raisins, almonds, and cilantro. Use a big spoon to stir to combine. Refrigerate to cool before serving, if desired.
When ready to serve, spoon the chicken salad mixture onto the lettuce leaves, fold up, and enjoy. Goes great with fresh croissants, or even turned into a chicken salad croissan-wich!