While I was growing up in Columbia, South Carolina, there were not many options in terms of restaurants, particularly for ethnic cuisine. For that reason, it was always a special event to go to P.F. Chang’s in Charlotte (in addition to shopping at J.Crew and Anthropologie). We always ordered the chicken lettuce wraps, without fail. And I am pretty sure we also always asked for extra lettuce cups, because it was a huge favorite in my family. Columbia has come a long way since then ~ and there are some pretty solid options for ethnic dining (Basil Thai, for example, which is also a huge hit in Charleston) ~ but I will always fondly remember our dinners at P.F. Chang’s.
Last week during Passover, I started thinking about flourless main dishes and the idea of chicken lettuce wraps came to mind. I wanted to make a “lightened-up version” from what you typically experience in restaurants or from your usual takeout place. While takeout food can be delicious, you also tend to feel like you have a salt hangover the next day. And while the P.F. Chang’s version was quite delicious, I also remember the chicken being covered in a fairly sweet, syrupy sauce, which might leave you with one of those salt hangovers that I’m talking about.
For my homemade version, I started with White on Rice Couple‘s recipe for Easy Chicken Lettuce Cups and added some vegetables that I like, as well as some fresh basil and lime. If you haven’t had a chance to explore Todd and Diane’s gorgeous website, you definitely should. It will give you lots of inspiration for home cooking ideas. In their version, the flavorful sauce plays a fairly minor, but still meaningful, role.
To their recipe, I added 1/2 cup of shitake mushrooms and 1/2 cup of frozen edamame that had thawed. I also added the zest of one lime and 1.5 tablespoons of lime juice for a little acidity. To finish, I garnished with 2 tablespoons of fresh basil. Just keep in mind that if you add more veggies, you may want to make a little more of the “sauce” to ensure that there is enough to go around! The chicken, vegetables, ginger, garlic, basil and fresh lime provide a nutritious meal all wrapped up in a fresh green lettuce cup. We had ours with Passover-friendly quinoa, but you could enjoy this with brown rice if you didn’t need the gluten-free option.
This is such an easy meal to put together and while I don’t have kids, I think it would be a fun dinner for kids to enjoy as well. You can also be sure that you are feeding your family something much healthier than what you’ll find at your local takeout place.
Some other healthy takeout-esque recipes from my favorite food blogs to help you get cookin':
7 Best Healthy Takeout Recipes via Feed Me Phoebe
Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli via Cooking Classy
Healthy Sesame Chicken Skillet via How Sweet It Is
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai via A Couple Cooks
Chicken Soba Soup with Miso and Spinach via Big Girls Small Kitchen
Lighter Orange Beef and Broccoli via Iowa Girl Eats
And also check out my post on a recipe for an Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Bowl.
I’ll be back later this week with some baked goodies (real bread, yay!) and some pictures from my Austin, Texas trip. I hope you are having an awesome week so far!