I absolutely love lettuce wraps. Salty, sweet, and spicy filling with crisp veggies and rice noodles, all wrapped in a fresh, crunchy lettuce leaf. My mouth actually began to water typing that last sentence. Originally made with ground pork, and bottled hoisin sauce in my past, I now wanted to find a healthier alternative. There are recipes out there which substitute walnuts in place of meat — which may sound strange, but it’s very rich and satisfying. But unfortunately, because nuts are so high in calories — I was on the hunt for something just as tasty, without the hike in calories.
My choice: A combination of mushrooms, lentils, and water chestnuts.
Here’s my reasoning: Mushrooms can have a “meaty texture” when browned. I’m not sure what really happens, but the outcome is awesome. I’ve used this method with all types of mushrooms, and I’ve yet to be disappointed. So, whatever you may have access to, button, cremini, portobello mushrooms — they’ll all work nicely. Lentils an the other hand, help to provide the protein part of the meal, which of course we know — also helps to fill you up. And lastly, water chestnuts. Sliced, and canned in this case are easily found at most grocery stores. Again, low in calories, and able to provide a crunch to the filling which the mushrooms and lentils sadly lack.
Above is a photo of the mushrooms cooking. The recipe calls for 3-4 cups of diced mushrooms. Using a water saute method, the calories stay low without adding unnecessary oil. If you’ve never water sauteed before, it’s easy. Just start with 1/4 cup of water in the pan as you begin to cook down the mushrooms. As they cook down, and begin to brown, if they start to stick to the pan, add small amounts of water as necessary.
Is your mouth watering yet? Did I mention this recipe was family approved too? Cory (hubby) gobbled these up in no time. Disheartened that there were no leftovers to wrap up for the next day, I will have to be sure to double the recipe next time. Next time can’t come soon enough. Enjoy,
- ½ cup lentils (use a firm lentil like le puy french lentil, or black beluga lentil)
- 1 8 oz. can on slices water chestnuts
- 3-4 cups of mushrooms (white, cremini, portobello, etc.)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari, if gluten free)
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp sriracha sauce / hot sauce (or more if you like it hot)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup of water
- 8 Lettuce leaves (green leaf, iceberg, or butter lettuce will work nicely here)
- ¼ of a pkg, vermicelli rice noodles (About 1 cup dry)
- 1 carrot, shredded
- ½ red pepper, julienned
- sesame seeds to garnish
- Prepare the lentils and rice vermicelli as per package directions.
- Combine soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sriracha, sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic in sauce pan over medium heat.
- Combine corn starch and water, mix until smooth and add to the sauce ingredients.
- Bring sauce mixture to a gentle boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to minimum while you prepare the filling.
- Water saute using ¼ cup of water to cook mushrooms in pan until they reduce in volume by half. Add small amounts of water as needed to help the mushrooms from sticking to the pan.
- Drain, and chop water chestnuts. Add to the browned mushrooms along with the cooked lentils.
- Pour the thickened sauce mixture into the mushroom filling pan. Stir until well combined, and bring up to a boil Reduce heat while you prepare the final items.
- Wash and pat dry lettuce leaves, Shred carrot, and julienne red pepper.
- Place rice noodles on lettuce, and top with filling mix, carrots, and red peppers.
- Garnish with sesame seeds, and extra Sriracha sauce if so desired.
*Also, if you can't find a firm lentil as mentioned, "normal" green or brown will work too, but avoid red lentils as they are too soft.
*If your rice noodles (vermicelli) begin to stick together when you go to assemble your lettuce wrap, rinse them quickly with some water to get rid of some of the sticky starches.