asian ground beef lettuce cups
Our first recipe post! Huzzah! The first recipe we are sharing is one that I hold close to my heart. It is one of the very first “paleo-friendly dishes” we made that wasn’t a horrific disaster (remind me to tell you about the first time I made mashed cauliflower – yikes). This is my easy go-to dish when I just need to whip up something quickly to eat. I also use this dish to introduce my friends who are hesitant of paleo-cooking to show them that eating clean and healthy is not unsatisfying by any means. Whenever I’ve cooked and served this to my friends who have never encountered a paleo-friendly dish, they are surprised by how delicious and filling it is.
When Joseph and I first made this dish, it took us awhile to get the hang of it. We were fumbling around in the kitchen – chopping things here, measuring things there, forgetting a step or two (my fault mostly haha), but I can now proudly say this is one of the dishes that I am not afraid of serving to my friends and family!
This recipe is taken from Nom Nom Paleo (of course), but I’ve very slightly tweaked it to meet our needs. I’ve added a few side notes about tips and tricks I picked up as well as commentary on my own thoughts about the recipe. Pictures are included, everyone loves pictures!
Assemble these ingredients:
- 1 lb of ground meat (we’ve used grass-fed ground beef OR chicken in the past; I personally like using ground chicken because it tastes “lighter” to me, and Joseph has no preference because he eats anything and everything)
- 1 lb of thinly sliced mushrooms (we use brown bella mushrooms)
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped (we use whatever is available, which is typically white onion)
- 2 tablespoons of lard (we typically use either ghee or extra virgin olive oil)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-2 cups of broccoli slaw (This can be found at most local grocery stores – check the area that has the pre-made salad/pre-cut veggies, and you will find bags of “broccoli slaw.” We’ve purchased ours at Whole Foods, Kroger, and even Fiesta)
- ½ cup of shredded carrots (I do not add this – I find that the broccoli slaw I buy usually has enough carrot in it. Plus I am too lazy to shred my own carrots)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (Scallions are also known as green onions!)
- a handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional, some of you are genetically engineered to dislike cilantro so I’ve been told)
- 1-2 tablespoons of paleo-friendly fish sauce (Red Boat brand fish sauce, possible blog post to come later. Can be found at Whole Foods. Strongly recommended by Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo!)
- 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons of coconut aminos (Paleo-friendly soy sauce)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
First tip of the day… make sure to write down EVERYTHING you need for your recipe(s) at the grocery store. Or at least, be very certain you have everything in your cart before checking out. Funny story that happened earlier today (…except not so funny to Joseph at the time), I mentally had everything we needed for our lettuce wraps in my head, and I let Joseph know, “Okay, we just need: broccoli slaw, onion, green onion, mushrooms, and cilantro! Woo!” He purchases the items, and then we go on our merry way and begin cooking dinner at his apartment. As we are slicing and dicing, I start to heat up the skillet because we’re about to really get going. Joseph then stops abruptly and asks, “Hey… don’t we need lettuce for our lettuce wraps?” Me, “…OHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOO. HOW CAN WE EAT LETTUCE WRAPS WITH NO LETTUCE! WAAAHHH!” (May not have been that dramatic) And he drives back to the grocery store to buy a head of lettuce. Oops. Sadly, this is not the first time that something of this nature has happened to us. I’ve mentioned this before, and you will see it time and time again, I can be… unaware at times. So yes, lesson learned for the most part: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALL INGREDIENTS BEFORE COOKING!
Apologies for the tangent, now here is the important part: how we made the dish. We first chopped the white onion. The recipe calls for one whole small onion, and we tend to purchase larger onions – so for us, we only needed to use half a white onion. Because we cook together, we tend to do multiple steps at once, so while one of us cuts the onion (I usually start cutting, then I start crying…. so Joseph finishes chopping for me hehe) the other will slice the mushrooms, green onions, and the cilantro. It makes the cooking process much faster. But if you’re by yourself, I recommend cutting, chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing before you do any cooking.
After you’ve prepped most of the food, heat up your skillet to about medium heat and throw your chopped onions in there with the lard. I usually use ghee as my lard (explanation of ghee to come later), but decided to use extra virgin olive oil this time. Cook the onions until they are slightly translucent and then add the sliced mushrooms. Add the minced garlic cloves and a dash of kosher salt and ground black pepper (your preference).
Then add the ground beef/chicken and cook and stir the meat until it is broken up into smaller chunks and no longer pink. We then added the coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and fish sauce. The recipe asks for 1-2 tablesoons, and we usually add about 1 1/2 tablespoon of each. DO NOT SKIP THIS PART. I (Jennifer) made the mistake once of foregoing the sauces… that was a catastrophe. Incredibly dry and bland, worst mistake ever.
After the meat is fully cooked, add the broccoli slaw. You can add shredded carrots if you wish, but for us, there is enough carrot in our broccoli slaw that we don’t feel the need to add any extra. Again, this is all preference. I’ve included a picture of broccoli slaw because when I first encountered this ingredient in the recipe I was thinking, “WHAT IS THIS???!” But I’ve grown to love it because I find it very versatile to cook with! The veggies soften very quickly after you add them to the skillet.
The last thing I add are the scallions and cilantro since they cook the quickest! Stir everything around so that everything is evenly distributed throughout the skillet.
Make sure to wash your lettuce before eating with it, and then you can spoon the mixture onto your lettuce and NOM AWAY! Most people say that butter lettuce is best for lettuce wraps, but Joseph and I actually prefer iceburg lettuce with our wraps. And voila! You have easy-peasy Asian-Inspired Ground Beef, Mushroom, and Broccoli Slaw Lettuce Wraps!
We finished off our dinner with some Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Dark Chocolate paired with Dang Coconut Chips. Both of which are paleo-friendly (sidenote: Jeni’s Splendid is only paleo-friendly if you are not strict about milk/dairy as some paleo-followers are, which this contains). HAPPY STUMMIES.
Original recipe can be found here at Nom Nom Paleo. If you try this recipe at home please reply to this blogpost and provide your feedback. We’d love to hear how the recipe worked out for you! And if you’re one of those crazy “I take pictures of my food and post it” type of people like me, feel free to use the hashtag #jenjoandpaleo to support us!
Until the next meal,
Joseph and Jennifer