I love Asian food — namely, any dish with sweet, sticky sauce.
Growing up, my favorite place to eat was our local Chinese buffet where I would load up on Sweet & Sour Chicken, Egg Rolls, Crab Puffs, and Sesame Shrimp. Despite knowing the loads of crap that was packed in that meal, my mouth still waters thinking of it.
In college, I continued my love affair with Asian fusion, working briefly at a Pei Wei on campus. Late nights partying or studying followed by bowls of Pad Thai quickly took their toll though, and that had to be nipped in the bud pretty quickly.
Now, I know the nasty stuff lurking in those vats of fried rice and bowls of sweet sauce, and I very rarely frequent restaurants serving my favorite cuisine.
Sad, you may say, but I have an alternative.
I’ve learned to make pretty much all of my favorite dishes at home, without using the junk they use at restaurants. I’m talking about high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, and low-grade, highly-processed vegetable oil.
My favorite dish recently: Chicken Lettuce Wraps.
Not just any chicken lettuce wraps though – Vegan “Chicken” Lettuce Wraps!
I’ve been experimenting with a new protein lately, seitan, and found that it makes an excellent addition to many recipes calling for ground beef, chicken or turkey.
Seitan is like tofu, but made from wheat protein instead of soy. That “wheat protein” specifically is gluten.
So, if you have Celiac’s Disease, this meat alternative is not for you. If you don’t have Celiac’s and you’re afraid of gluten, read this article.
Dressed with all of the traditional Asian flavors, these faux-chicken lettuce wraps taste just like the real thing.
If you’re planning on partaking in Meatless Monday tonight, I encourage you to give them a go!
- ½ T. Sesame Oil
- ½ Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- ½ lb Ground Seitan
- ½ C. Mushrooms, roughly chopped
- ½ C. Water Chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 4 Green Onions, diced
- ½ T. Ginger, minced
- 3 T. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 T. + 1 tsp. Maple Syrup or Honey*
- 1 T. Coconut Vinegar
- 1 Mini Romaine Head
- Salt + Pepper to taste
- Crushed Peanuts (optional)
- Heat oil in a frying pan and add garlic and onions. Saute for about 3 minutes.
- Mix soy sauce, honey, and vinegar together in a small bowl.
- Add all remaining ingredients and sauce to the pan and cook for about 3-5 more minutes.
- Rinse mini romaine heads and remove leaves. Fill each leave with a scoop of vegan "chicken" mix.
- Top with optional crushed peanuts and/or more green onions.
This recipe makes a great dinner for two or a pretty impressive appetizer for summer soirees.
Want more healthy, Asian-inspired dishes? Try these: