Lettuce wraps are so now and mod--all about the newer, lighter, healthier approach to eating. I'm sure if I had served these to my grandpa that he would have liked the taste, but he would not have thought that these constituted a meal and yet we managed to make a full dinner of them just the other night (granted we did indulge in a bit of dessert later in the night, but the lightness of these made that experience almost guilt-free). These were a knock-out hit with everyone and I can't wait to make them again!
There's just something about wrapped food--burritos, egg rolls, calzones, hot dogs, samosas--seems like every culture has at least one food that comes wrapped in something. It's just somehow more fun--a real hands-on experience, but many of these one-handed foods are not all that good for us. Here's where these chicken lettuce wraps come in. They're sort of like eating a hand-held salad, so with these you can have your fun and still keep things on the healthy side! And these are easy to make--
Basically you just stir fry some cut up chicken with a little soy sauce, honey, garlic, water chestnuts (these really give the dish a satisfying crunch so don't leave them out!) and cashews.
Once that's done, you place a little of the hot mixture in a large Boston lettuce leaf, and dig in! That's it! 20 minutes from start to finish!
The flavors and textures are truly wonderful--the chicken is tender and coated in a slightly sweet very light sauce and there's the crunch of both the cashews and the water chestnuts balanced out with the slightly wilted lettuce leaves. So yummy and perfect for warm nights when you don't want anything heavy or anything that makes you too guilty to eat a little dessert later on!
Easy Chicken and Cashew Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4 as a light dinner--would serve more people as an appetizer
Prep Time: 20 minutes
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch scallions, chopped ( I didn't use them for this go round, but I think they'd be great here)
8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/4 cup roasted cashews ( I used lightly salted-you can use unsalted too)
1 head of Boston lettuce, leaves separated and washed (you may want to get 2 if they're small since sometimes the lettuce leaves tear easily and you don't want to run out)
1. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce and honey. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until the chicken starts to get brown.
3. Lower the heat to medium and add in the garlic and scallions (if using) and stir for about 1 minute. Don't let garlic burn! Add in the water chestnuts and the soy sauce mixture and continue to cook, stirring every now and then until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cashews.
4. Top the lettuce leaves with the warm chicken mixture and eat immediately!
Note: Recipe adapted from http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/chicken-cashews-lettuce-cups. I left out the ginger and added all the sauce to the cooking chicken by accident but these were so juicy we didn't feel we needed dipping sauce.