Susie Csorsz Brown
Thai-inspired chicken lettuce wraps
There are multiple components of this meal. You can add in any that you’d like or sub whatever you have on hand. Any one of them are yummy on their own, too. Take what you like, leave the rest. We ate these as lettuce wraps, and the kids love the eat-with-your-hands freedom. If you feel like doing this as a bowl, or a salad, ... feel free. The flavors are all so good that I think you’ll do this on repeat. You can, of course, make this with crisped tofu, too, instead of the meatballs, to make it vegetarian.
Additionally, since there are multiple components here, this is a fun one to make with the family. Each person can make one or more of the parts, contributing their personal flair to the recipe.
Thai-inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves 5 - 6
Curried Coconut Quinoa
One 13.5-ounce can full fat coconut milk 2 cups white quinoa (rinse if not prerinsed)
1 T coconut oil 1 T chicken bouillon (preferred brand is Better than bouillon but use what you like)
1/2 tsp salt 1 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
Roasted Green Beans (or broccoli, if you’d rather)
1 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed
6 scallions (whites and greens), cut into 2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or fresh breadcrumbs
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (stems and all)
2 T chopped mint
6 T freshly squeezed lime juice
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 scallion, cut into thin slices
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons light brown sugar (or date sugar, if you have it)
½ teaspoon Aleppo (For slightly less spice) or red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons finely chopped mint
One head butter lettuce
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil; set aside.
To make the Curried Coconut Quinoa:
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat coconut oil. Add bouillon. Once sizzling, stir in the quinoa. Toast, stirring often, until the grain smells nutty. Add The salt. Slowly, add the can of coconut milk and stir well to combine. Fill your can 1 1/2 more times with water, adding each to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently, stirring midway through to prevent scorching on the bottom, until the quinoa is slightly sticky and toothsome and the coconut milk is mostly absorbed, 15 to 25 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and set aside. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes.
To make the green beans:
Pile scallions and beans on the first pan and toss with the olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread the mixture evenly on the pan and roast until crisp and golden, about 25 to 45 minutes, tossing halfway through to ensure even cooking.
To make the meatball:
Beat egg in a large bowl with a fork. Add chicken/turkey, panko, scallion, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cilantro and mint; stir well to combine. Using your hands or a tablespoon, scoop the mixture into roughly 1" blobs (you should have 25 - 30). Transfer to the second prepared baking sheet.
Roast meatballs, turning once halfway through, until firm and cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meatball registers 165°F, 15-20 minutes.
While the vegetables and meatballs roast, make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients until the brown sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Once the veggies are roasted and nicely browned in places, and the meatballs are cooked through, place the roasted veggies on half of platter. Add the meatballs to the other half. On a second platter, arrange the leaves of the head of lettuce.
For each serving, scoop a bit of quinoa onto your lettuce leaf, and top with a meatball. Add a bit of the sauce, and wrap it all up in the leaf. Enjoy the beans alongside.