Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps + Slaw

I know why you’re here. 

Don’t panic… I’m not stalking you.  I just happen to know this as a fact of life and blogging.

It’s got to be one of two things:

Either you’re just here for the food, or you’re trying to read something that’s not the tabloids, depressing, or both.

True?

 

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I have been pulled into long bouts of blog-scoping by such reasons, too, so I don’t blame you even if you are just hiding from worse things to read.  It’s okay, we don’t have to talk about them! (I hope you’re here for the food, too, though… this one’s delicious!)

This is also a good place to be if you’re currently debating with yourself over the laborious-yet-healthy home meal (which you can’t quite fathom on that schedule of yours) or the quick-and-dirty takeout solution for the fam on a weeknight.

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 Honestly – the neighborhood Asian takeout menu can start looking pretty good some frantic nights, even when we know that the way they prep their grub isn’t always how we’d prefer to eat ours.  But, perhaps, with some foresight and a conscientious trip to the grocery store on some (slightly) less crazy day, we can have fast food, our way, in the kitchen, in the same time or less than it takes to call/drive out/get grub from your typical place.

Still doing okay without the news talk and celeb gossip?  Right-o, let’s get to business!

One of my reigning favorite things of all time to order as an entrée or app in Asian restaurants is the lettuce wraps.  Spicy meat smothered in a sweet-n-sour or BBQ sauce and wrapped in a leaf of cabbage can be intoxicating.  Like, in a good way… but it can also be in a not-so-good way for your digestion later, if you know what I mean.

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 While I think the idea of a lettuce wrap is sublime, the reality can sometimes be a little on the greasy, salty, and… meaty… side for some.  Here is the part where I introduce a vegetarian (vegan, to be exact) version of lettuce wraps that is also as healthy as it sounds and as mouth-watering as it is meant to be!

With a good vegetable protein, the right pre-made sauces (checked for animal products first if you don’t consume them,) and a few prepped ahead (or ready in 5) veggies, you can do as I did and have dinner on the table in 10-15 minutes flat.

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I seriously started making dinner at 8:45pm that night.  Yeah, that’s the kind of schedule I have some days.  Still, I was happy to have dinner ready to go by 9!  It was a little hard to believe it looked and tasted as good as it did, though, but there it is.  Takeout-fakeout, as it were, in a fresh and healthy new fashion.

And I’m still not stalking you… but nice shirt.  It’s new, right?

Wraps

Makes 5-6 wraps

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. peanut or vegetable oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tsp. pre-minced garlic)
  • 1 stalk green onions, chopped
  • 2 large handfuls washed kale, shredded
  • 1 14-oz (more or less) package good textured vegetable protein (I used Lightlife’s Gimme Lean and it worked really well)
  • To taste: spicy peppers, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes, salt if using
  • About 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • About ¼ c. Pad Thai sauce
  • Leaves from ½ head Napa cabbage (for fun presentation) or green cabbage
  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan. Sauté diced yellow onion in with some of the seasonings 1-2 minutes before adding the veg protein.  Add more seasonings if needed and cook, breaking up the protein with a spatula into a fine crumble.  When the veg protein is almost done, add the garlic, green onions, and kale, along with the soy and Pad Thai sauces.  Heat through about 2 more minutes and taste for seasoning. (Of course, I had to add more red pepper!)
  2. To finish each serving, place two clean cabbage leaves on a plate, one inside the other, and scoop a portion of the filling inside.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve alongside Crunchy Asian Slaw.

Crunchy Asian Slaw

Makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • About 2 c. each green and purple cabbages, sliced into strips
  • 1 medium peeled carrot, julienned/sliced into thin strips
  • 1 ½ c. snap peas, chopped
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 c or more to taste Asian miso-ginger salad dressing (I used Annie’s Gingerly Lite Dressing)
  • Sesame/chia seeds for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Toss all ingredients except seeds to combine and serve or chill up to 1 day before serving. Garnish with seeds at the table.
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