Thai Lettuce Wraps – Vegetarian Version

A few months ago in our Hello Fresh box we had a Thai Beef Lettuce Wrap dinner. Bob and I both really liked it, but I wanted a vegetarian version. I don’t think I will ever totally give up meat, but I prefer to limit it and this, I thought, would lend itself nicely to a vegetarian dish.

The ingredients are pretty simple. In place of ground beef I used a bugler and quinoa. Half a cup bugler wheat with 1 cup water and half cup quinoa with 3/4 cup water. Boil then turn to low heat for about ten to fifteen minutes. I like to turn the heat off and let them set for another five minutes, just to make sure they don’t burn, but have cooked all the way through.

While those were cooking I made ribbons from a medium sized carrot and thin slices from half an orange pepper. I took the leaves from a few stems of cilantro and mixed it all together with the juice of one lime and a little salt and pepper. I let this sit while the grains cooked and I chopped two cloves of garlic and one can (drained) of water chestnuts.

Once the grains were cooked I combined them in a large pan with three tablespoons soy sauce and three tablespoons hoisin sauce over medium heat. Two of each would probably do it, but I wanted to make sure I had enough. Once those were coated, I added the garlic and chopped water chestnuts and combined everything until it was warmed through.

For plating, I took lettuce leaves and put a good amount of the filling in the middle, topped with the carrot and pepper and then added a little chopped peanut. The result …

A pretty little dish that (I think) is fairly healthy. The flavors worked really well here and the grain mixture made a great substitute for ground beef. I was a little nervous about this, but Bob really liked it and didn’t miss the meat. The best part is that there is enough left over for lunch today for both of us. In the future I will probably use a lettuce other than Romain – butter lettuce would work better – or just make it as a salad since eating this as a “wrap” is very, very messy. Not first date food at all. But I like this version, maybe even a little better than the beef version and I feel better about eating it, so that is a bonus.

Half cup bugler wheat (plus one cup water for cooking)
Half cup quinoa (plus 3/4 cup water for cooking)
1 can water chestnuts
1/2 pepper (red, orange or yellow)
1 medium carrot
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup peanuts
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons hoisin sauce (use same amount as soy sauce)
Lettuce leaves
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste
(Optional – sesame or peanut oil for pan – 1 tablespoon)

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