Visiting Peru a few weeks ago gave me a serious travel bug. I’ve always had it on a minor scale – which explains draining my paychecks for small weekend getaways to Mammoth, Big Sur, Vegas, and the list goes on. But ever since I got back from Peru, it’s like a lightbulb went off in my head that the rest of the world is waiting out there, and all we have to do is go! So as I was scanning flights on expedia, planning my next trip (I’m crushing so hard on Thailand right now), I realized quickly that my financial situation did not warrant a trip to Southeast Asia anytime soon. In fact, it strongly encouraged I don’t even take a trip to the local Thai restaurant this weekend. That said, I figured it was time to bring some culture and flavor to a dish right within my own kitchen.
While spiralized zucchini pad thai is my go-to asian-style dish, I was itching to try something new this weekend. Staying true to the Southeast Asia vibe I’ve been feeling lately, I created a vietnamese-inspired dish: Chicken Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps. Technically speaking, banh mi is the vietnamese term for bread. In this recipe, I swap the traditional bread in the sandwich with a lettuce-wrap carrier. I should probably rename it to something like “Vietnamese Chicken Lettuce Wraps” but that seems less fun, and I like fun, so I’m keeping it the way it is.
Chicken Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps
Yield: 6 lettuce wraps
1/2 cup low-fat mayo
2 teaspoons sriracha
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup radishes, julienned
1/2 cup cucumber, julienned
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon black ground pepper
Chicken and Everything Else:
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 medium chicken breasts, chopped
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha
2 teaspoons brown sugar
6 pieces red romaine lettuce
1/4 cup cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup jalapeños (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients of sauce. Set aside for later use.
- Pickle dem veggies! In a medium bowl, combine carrots, radishes, cucumbers, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Set aside for later use.
- Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sesame oil and olive oil. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add soy sauce, sriracha, and brown sugar. Stir another 1-2 minutes.
- Fill each leaf of lettuce with 1/4 cup chicken, 1/4 cup picked vegetables, and top with a quarter-sized dollop of sauce, or serve sauce on the size. If desired, top with jalapeños and/or cilantro.
- Sit back, enjoy, plan your next vacation.
Bonus life hack: This recipe is great for leftovers! Toss the chicken, pickled veggies, and spicy dressing over a bed of chopped romaine for a quick and easy salad for work. Because who has time to make lunch, when they are busy planning their next adventure?!