Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wrap Salad

Funny story.  A while back, a CSA basket arrived with some of the most gorgeous, crisp, vibrantly green butter lettuce I've ever seen.  I immediately found a recipe for lettuce wraps and put it on the weekly menu.

Then I started pulling that spectacular head of lettuce apart and realized the leaves were far too small for lettuce wraps.  Oops.

Easy fix, though.  I just chopped the lettuce up and made a salad.  Lettuce wrap salad.  It's a thing, right?  It is now...at least for me.  I think you'll want to make it a thing, too.  

The recipe came together so quickly.  It could've been even quicker if I'd made the dressing the night before.  And oh. my. goodness.  That dressing is divine.  Other than reducing the oil, I made it exactly as the recipe suggested, tasted it to adjust the seasonings, and then...just left it.  That never happens.  Seriously.  I can't tell you the last time I made a savory recipe exactly as it was written without adjusting or tweaking it in some way.  It was so, so tasty.  I loved the way each flavor was present, but perfectly balanced.  I loved the punch of acid from the vinegar and lime juice.  I tend to like things a bit more on the acidic side, so you may want to use more oil to tone it down if you're not a fan.  No matter how much or how little you adapt the recipe, I'm sure it will soon be a favorite in your home, just as it is in mine.


Thai Chicken Lettuce Wrap Salad
slightly adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients:

For the dressing:
1/4 c. rice vinegar
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
2 TBSP mayonnaise (I use low fat)
2 TBSP creamy peanut butter
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. Thai chile sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 TBSP canola oil
1/2 c. minced fresh cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:
1 TBSP canola oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. chopped green onions, a few reserved for garnish
1/2 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts, divided
1 medium head butter (also known as bibb or Boston) lettuce, chopped

Directions:
1.  To make the dressing, combine first ten ingredients in a food processor.  Stream in oil.  If serving right away, stir in cilantro.  If making ahead, wait to stir in cilantro until serving.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

2.  In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm oils.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, then add to pan and cook until done, but not dry, about 3-5 minutes.  Set aside to cool, 5 minutes. 

3.  In a large bowl, toss together chicken, red pepper, onions, carrots, and half the peanuts.  Pour half the dressing over and stir to combine.  Spoon mixture over a bead of lettuce and garnish with remaining peanuts and green onions.  Serve immediately with extra dressing on the side.

Yield: serves 4 as an entrée or 6 as a hearty appetizer

3 comments :

Lexie Rochelle said...

Thanks for solving the answer to my "what's for supper tonight" question. Yum!

katie said...

This looks perfect!

Natalie said...

what a fantastic recipe idea! adding to my "to make" list!