Simone Appetit: Lightening up with Asian lettuce wraps |

Simone Appetit: Lightening up with Asian lettuce wraps

For a guilt-free pleasure, use a lean ground beef when preparing the lettuce wrap filling.
Courtesy Simone Grandmain |

Today we giving our digestive tracks a much-needed rest after the Thanksgiving food frenzy. For me, the holiday free-for-all lasted a full (very full) week.

First there was the Thanksgiving warm-up (had to line my stomach and prep it for what was to come) followed by the actual day (what’s it called again?) culminating in the wind-down (someone had to eat those leftovers, there are children starving in India, waste not want not etc.).

So now my body is craving — lettuce. Lettuce, air, water and Alka-Seltzer. Probably God has some good recipes for water and air, maybe even Alka-Seltzer, so that leaves me with, again, lettuce.

What I like about these stuffed lettuce leaves is that you can go big for a meal, or small, for appetizers. Either way they are great for entertaining — fun, easy to serve, and they travel well for holiday potlucks.

There are many fillings offered from many nations, but I am partial to one with an Asian flare. If your stomach is in revolt from all the ‘tis-the-season goodies arriving at the office, the gym, even your bank, go easy on the Sriracha and carry an emergency package of those Pepto Bismol tablets in your back pocket — if you can fit one in there.

From my thighs to yours — Happy Holidays!


2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef

One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce

1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts

1/4 cup Hoisin sauce

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Salt and pepper to taste

1 head Red Leaf or Iceberg lettuce leaves separated, cleaned and dried

P reparation:

Brown the beef in vegetable oil over medium heat until brown. Stir in ginger, onions, garlic, soy sauce, water chestnuts, red pepper flakes, and Hoisin and cook for about one minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, with lettuce leaves on the side for wrapping. It should look like a little lettuce bowl full of goodness.

Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news @

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