Salad with a twist

Since I’ve been all about keeping the kitchen cool the past few weeks with the summer heat, I’ve been trying to come up with healthy (and easy!) dinners that both myself and my fiancĂ© would enjoy throughout the week that require little to no cooking. Enter, the salad.

Last week I made another taco salad, but that still required me to use the oven. Since just a “regular” salad (i.e. on a plate or in a bowl) didn’t seem adventurous enough for dinner, I decided to give lettuce wraps a try. I know they’ve been around for awhile, but aside from ordering them once at Chilis about 10 years ago, I’m pretty clueless when it comes to them. They’re typically labeled as Thai or Chinese, and include chicken, some type of cabbage mixture (with carrots), scallions, and a ginger sesame dressing. At least those were the common ingredients I found when doing some research.

Since I’ve never made them before, and have only had them once, I really didn’t know what to expect. However, I figured it would be nearly impossible to screw up, and I was right! You can really wrap almost anything in lettuce. I remember when the no-carb diet was huge, and everyone was eating their burgers with lettuce “buns” and I thought it was insane and gladly ate theirs in addition to my own bun (swimming will do that to you), but now I see the appeal. Though I’m not planning on wrapping my burgers in lettuce any time soon, I definitely want to try some other variations of this nice twist on a salad! But be prepared – it’s messy!

Unfortunately I had grand plans to make my own ginger sesame dressing, but Wegmans was out of ginger. I was so annoyed, but when I stumbled upon a Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce in the Asian aisle, all was forgiven. This sauce rocked my socks. It has a light peanut flavor with hints of ginger, rice wine, garlic, and most importantly, it has a nice kick to it! I’m looking forward to using it in other stir-fry styled dishes.

Thai Styled Lettuce Rolls
– Serves 2 very hungry adults –

10 pieces of butter or Boston lettuce, washed (I used Boston)
1/2 bag rainbow cabbage mix (about 6 oz.)
handful of soybean sprouts (make sure to wash them well, no one wants e.Coli!)
2-3 Tbsp Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce
4 scallion stalks, diced
1/4 cup water chestnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped in half

1. In a medium bowl, combine cabbage mixture, soy bean sprouts, diced scallion, water chestnuts, and peanuts. Add peanut sauce, using a spoon toss to coat.
2. Add about a Tbsp of the mixture to each individual piece of lettuce. Roll like a miniature burrito (tucking the sides in), and have napkins handy!