wrap

I got the original idea for this recipe from some amazing gluten-free lettuce wraps I had at P.F. Chang’s; but rather than try to duplicate that recipe, I wanted to make a version with cashew chicken instead.  :-)

My sister’s recently started a paleo diet in addition to just going gluten-free — a sensible measure to try, given how she keeps outpacing me on both diagnosed autoimmune problems and problems that simply defy diagnosis so far — so I also wanted to make a good, savory, filling meal she could eat.  After several trials, here’s the result.  I hope you enjoy it.  :-)

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Yield:  Serves 2 people who are starving, 3-4 people who are having a light lunch, or 6 people who are also having other food for dinner

Ingredients:

  •  2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup salted cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 smallish carrot, grated
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, julienned (this just means cut into narrow strips)
  • your choice of 1 T soy sauce, 1 T mushroom bouillon, or (to make it paleo) 1 T coconut aminos, mixed into 1/4 cup water
  • at least 1/8 tsp celery salt
  • at least 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1.  First, defrost the chicken and prep most of the ingredients for a stir-fry.  (Sometimes I do this step pretty far in advance, all on my big cutting board, and just cover the cutting board with a cloth until it’s time to cook it.)  Chop the cashews, bell peppers, onion, and spinach, and set aside.  Peel and mince the ginger and garlic, and peel and grate the carrot.  Once the chicken’s defrosted, dice it into smallish pieces as well.

2.  If that feels like most of the work — well, it was!  :-)  Now that the bulk of the prep is done, you’re ready to start cooking.  Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a wok on high heat, and add the chicken once it’s hot.  Drain the chicken as much as you can before you start frying it, and drain it again once it’s almost done.

3.  Add a little more oil to the pan, then add the celery salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic, and ginger.  Stir periodically until the chicken’s done enough to eat (but not yet tender), then add the cashews, bell peppers, and onions.  Stir periodically until the onions are starting to caramelize and turn translucent.  Finally, add the carrot and spinach, and stir periodically (again!) until the spinach is wilted.  :-)

4.  Mix your tablespoon of flavoring (mushroom bouillon, soy sauce, or coconut aminos) into a quarter cup water, then pour it over the fry pan.  This will just add a little liquid to the mixture, though you can add less or more water as you prefer.  Let this cook a couple minutes.

5.  While the wrap filling finishes up on the stove, break down the head of lettuce:  Break the stem, then take off the large outer leaves one at a time, careful not to break them.  You want nice big crispy lettuce cups for the wrap.  :-)

6.  Take the wrap filling off the heat, and serve!  To make each wrap, just ladle some filling into the lettuce cup, wrap it up like a burrito, and take a big bite.  :-)