This is such an easy to make, healthy dish with lots of fresh Asian flavours. Children also love putting it together so let them choose a lettuce cup, fill and roll it themselves. I’ve even had children over who generally refuse to eat salad, happily eat this, lettuce and all!
Try it for lunch or dinner, it’s a firm favourite in our household.
Well, the mince or quinoa is a great source of protein. The garlic, ginger and shiitake are great for immune support. The lettuce and vegetables add valuable nutrients and fibre.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit your specific dietary requirements.
Asian Lettuce Cups
- 40 g raw cashew nuts (¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 500 g turkey or chicken mince
- 1 red onion/s -peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 clove/s garlic -peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger root -peeled and finely grated
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp tamari -or coconut aminos
- 1 lime/s -juiced
- 1 Cos lettuce -washed and leaves separated
- 1 cup mushrooms -shiitake or regular, sliced
- 2 carrot/s -peeled and diced or julienned
- 1 red capsicum/s -julienned
- 1 red chilli/s -seeded and diced
- ½ bunch/s Thai basil -leaves picked (or finely chopped for fussy kids)
- ½ bunch/s Vietnamese or regular mint -leaves picked (or finely chopped for fussy kids)
- ½ bunch/s fresh coriander leaves -leaves picked (or finely chopped for fussy kids)
- In a wok or large pan, dry roast the cashew nuts over medium heat and set aside.
- Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over a low heat.
- Add the mince, onion, garlic and ginger. Increase the heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mince is cooked (about 5 minutes).
- Add the mushrooms, carrot, capsicum and chilli (if including). Continue to stir for a few more minutes until the veggies soften.
- Add the fish sauce, sweet chilli and tamari.
- Stir through to coat the mince well, then turn off the heat.
- Stir in the cashews, lime juice and fresh herbs.
- Place the wok or pan on the table to self-serve.
- Break the leaves away from your lettuce and arrange on a plate.
- To serve simply place the mince into the lettuce cup, fold it in and enjoy.
- You can make the mince part ahead and re-heat by stir-frying in a wok or pan with a splash of broth or stock. Keep the cashews aside until ready to serve.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- The mince mixture can be frozen in an airtight container.
VegetarianSubstitute the mince with quinoa and the fish sauce with a teaspoon of sea salt.
Nut-freeSwap the cashews for toasted sesame or sunflower seeds.
Seafood-freeSwap the fish sauce for a good pinch of sea salt.
Soy-freeSwap the tamari for liquid or coconut aminos.
Onion and garlic-freeSwap them for a 3-4cm pieces of ginger, finely grated.
Coconut-freeReplace the coconut oil with olive oil or butter.
For kids (or adults) who just won’t eat lettuceServe the mince mix on rice or quinoa.
Make it go furtherI often have a little left over mince from this meal. So I use it to make another meal the next day. These are ways I stretch it:
- Mix through some shredded cabbage or lettuce, add more lime juice and use it as a filling for fresh spring rolls (my kids favourite lunch).
- Stir through cooked quinoa and make more lettuce cups.
- Mix it through salad leaves, more fresh herbs, cabbage and the juice of a lime to make an Asian inspired salad.