I love salads and am always looking for new ways to serve healthy salad ingredients in a more interesting and tasty fashion. So when I was also trying to think up exciting ways to use ground beef, I immediately thought of Asian wraps. But there is something you should know about Mr. C and me. We are messy eaters. And trying to keep even an ingredient as ordinary as taco meat corralled in a crisp tortilla can be daunting for us. And don’t even get me started on what kind of a mess we can make when eating a really good and juicy hamburger!
So the thought of deliberately setting us up for another messy food experience just for the sake of presenting this set of ingredients in a trendy culinary manner, fairly screamed for an alternate solution. So last evening, when all the usual wrap suspects were assembled as a salad, we actually looked like two adults enjoying a wonderful meal, rather than two children left unsupervised to make as much of a mess as possible! After all, the same ingredients were in the salad as would have been presented in a wrap. So there really was no taste difference. The ingredients were simply presented in a much more dignified manner! (Plus we didn’t need to spend any time after dinner cleaning up after ourselves.)
So if you too are inept with hand held food, give this recipe a try as a salad. If you are able to walk and talk at the same time and eat wraps in a decorous fashion, by all means serve this delicious meat filling and veggie additives (inspiration from PF Chang’s recipe for Chicken Lettuce Wraps) in darling little lettuce leaf cups. Just please don’t tell me about it. I know I’m uncoordinated, but I hate to have that reality stuffed in my face. (Actually, if any stuffing is to be done, I want it to be another one of these wholesome and delightful SALADS, thank you very much! And in the near future too!)
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef or chicken
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T. grated ginger
- ¼ c. hoisin sauce
- 2 T. peanut butter
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 1 T. rice wine vinegar
- 1 T. water
- 1 tsp. Sriracha, or more to taste
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
- 1½ lg. romaine hearts, cut into bite sized pieces or 1 head butter lettuce, washed and individual leaves removed at the root
- 1/3 c. chopped salted peanuts
- 1 small carrot, shredded
- 1 c. very thinly sliced English cucumber, cut into half moons
Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large frypan over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent. (Don’t let it get brown.) Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for one minute. In a small bowl combine the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, Sriracha, and 1/3rd of the sliced green onions. Pour over the meat just before you are ready to serve. Let simmer for about 1 minute.
To serve, place romaine on two good sized dinner plates. Spoon as much of the meat mixture (you will probably have extra) onto the lettuce as desired. Garnish with the remaining green onions, chopped peanuts, shredded carrot, and cucumber.
Serve immediately. No dressing required.
To serve as wraps, spoon several tablespoons of the beef mixture into the center of lettuce leaves. Sprinkle on the peanuts, remaining sliced green onions, shredded carrot, and cucumber. Crump the leaves together at the top and eat like a messy taco. (The very reason I serve this as a salad.)
The meat mixture can also be served over rice if the whole healthy “lettuce and veggies” thing is unappealing. (No guilt trip intended!)