Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Paleo Chicken & Walnut Lettuce Wraps

When I'm cooking Asian flavors for dinner, I often turn to cauliflower rice to replace the standard accompaniment. My kids and the caveman like the filler at the bottom of their bowls to soak up the excess sauce.

Sometimes I just don't feel like ricing cauliflower, though (as I recently admitted on Facebook... even with a food processor I always make a huge mess!). Today was one of those days, so I whipped out one of the other items from my magic bag of tricks: lettuce wraps.

My kids always make a huge mess trying to eat them, but they're always willing to try. And I love that I  can basically shove anything I want into the mix, so it's an easy way to create a complete one-skillet (or wok) meal.

The flavors in this dish are superb, if I do say so myself. I didn't find the chicken really crisped as much as I would have liked, which I think is because I used too much egg white. I'm adjusting the amount in the recipe and hoping it will improve the texture.

For vegetables I used a large zucchini and some chopped baby spinach, many because that's what I had on hand. Red or green bell pepper would taste great here too, as would mushrooms.

Since my brood doesn't like spicy, I kept things on the mild side. For my own wraps I drizzled a little sriracha on top before eating. If you like spice you could include some of the sauce in the stir-fry itself, or perhaps stir in some red pepper flakes.
Paleo Chicken & Walnut Lettuce Wraps

coconut oil, for frying
1-1.5 lb. chicken breast or thighs, cut into small cubes
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tbs. arrowroot starch
3 tbs. coconut aminos, divided
salt & pepper
1 cup raw walnut pieces

1-2 tbs. fresh minced ginger
4 minced garlic cloves

1 large zucchini, cut into small cubes
2 cups chopped baby spinach
3 chopped green onions
1 tbs. rice vinegar
romaine or butter lettuce leaves, for serving

Place chicken in a large bowl. Add egg whites, arrowroot and coconut aminos. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

Put about 1 tbs. coconut oil in a wok over medium heat. Once it's melted and hot, add walnuts. Stir-fry for only about 1 minute, stirring continuously. Remove and set aside.

Add another tbs. coconut oil to skillet. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add chicken mixture. Cook until no longer pink, stirring to keep it from sticking.

Stir zucchini into chicken and add remaining 1 tbs. coconut aminos. Cook for a couple of minutes or until zucchini softens. Stir in walnuts and chopped spinach, cooking until spinach wilts.

Remove from heat and stir in green onions and rice vinegar. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve wrapped in lettuce leaves.