Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shredded Chicken & Veggie Lettuce Wraps: A Healthy Mark Bittman Recipe to Love for Summer

The theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Summer Lovin'--recipes to ring in the official start of summer. Actually summer in Hawaii is pretty darn close to the rest of the year. (Don't hate me, I paid my dues living in the rainy Pacific Northwest most of my life.) Even in paradise, summer does get a little warmer, a little more humid and it still inspires lighter, low effort dishes that don't require a lot of cooking time in a hot kitchen. "Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express" is the perfect cookbook for that with its 20 minutes or less recipe sketches, divided seasonally. Having a busy week and unable to get to the store, I selected his recipe for Lettuce Wraps, deciding to use what I had in my fridge. For my protein, I went with shredded chicken using up the leftovers from a rotisserie chicken. In addition to the red onion, Thai chile and cilantro called for in the recipe, I added julienne carrots and zucchini and some chopped green onions, (always good to work in those veggies in for color, crunch and nutrients), and I used a small head of butter lettuce for the wrap. I also punched up the dressing a bit by adding lime juice, rice wine vinegar and a little chili paste along with some toasted sesame seeds. The wraps make a great light dinner or a starter, and would be an excellent "build your own" pupu (appetizer) for a summer party.


Shredded Chicken & Veggie Lettuce Wraps

adapted from "Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express"

Toss good-quality shredded cooked chicken, cooked ground meat, or lump crabmeat with minced shallot or red onion, chopped cilantro, sesame oil, minced Thai chile, salt, and pepper. Take the large outer leaves from heads of Bibbor Boston lettuce, put a couple of tablespoons of the filling mixture in the middle of each leaf, then roll up like a burrito to eat.


Notes/Results: What's not to like? Quick, easy, tasty, and adaptable to whatever you have in the fridge, this is a good basic dish and a great starting point to adapt as you wish. I make a lot of lettuce wraps of various types but I usually end up with ground meat or fish in them so using shredded chicken was a nice change. If I had them available, I would also have added some red pepper and cucumber to the veggie mix--the more color the better. Easy-peasy and a good go-dish to get you out of the kitchen and enjoying summer in no time.


Since this was such an easy recipe (and shockingly I am craving chocolate), I am doing double-duty and will be posting Bittman's Frozen Hot Chocolate recipe (from the same book), as my Simple Saturday Sipper this week. So come back for some more Summer Lovin'.

You can check the summer dishes the other IHCC participants picked by going to the site here and following the links.

Happy Aloha Friday!

13 comments:

Joanne said...

I love the mix-ins you added into these lettuce wraps! Tons of texture, flavor, and spice! The way a good healthy meal should be. It's good to know that unlike some of us you're smart enough not to turn on your oven in super hot weather.

Pam said...

I love these kind of wraps. I also almost always use ground beef. Waiting, impatiently, for the frozen hot chocolate!

K and S said...

yummy! am also looking forward to frozen hot chocolate :)

Carla and Michael said...

One of my favorites at Chili's restaurants. They have a Santa Fe Chicken Wrap and I always order them when I go there for lunch. Great choice for Summer Lovin! Thanks for reminding me that I can re-create these at home.

girlichef said...

Oh, I've had this one marked forever!! It looks light and delicious...and addictive! Perfect summer meal =) ...and I don't hate you. Envy, maybe. ;)

Pierce said...

Great and healthy looking chow there! My hubby is always asking me how we can move to Hawaii..maybe you'll hire me as your prep person...I can chop veggies!!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

I have been wanting to make lettuce wraps - it couldn't get any easier than this! They sound really delicious - light and summery!

debbie T said...

yum yum. I am going to have to make lettuce wraps soon!

I had to google the frozen hot chocolate recipe, (couldn't wait! hehe) and it sounds so simple and yummy. Can't wait to read your rendition!

tofuandcollards said...

You have beautiful photos :) These wraps look yummy!!

Kim said...

I love lettuce wraps, but have never made them at home! Isn't that bad of me? I definitely have to get around to it. They look delicious, Deb :)

The Country Cook said...

Those looks so yum and crunchy and no heat involved! hahhaha

Tiff said...

Love the lettuce wrap! Looks like a nice, cool meal to have in the summer. I am always a fan of not having to use the oven or stove in the summer.

Grumpy and HoneyB said...

I really need to get with the times and try these lettuce wraps. I think about it but just never have put it into action! They look delicious!