Maybe it’s all the hype around PyeongChang and the Winter Olympics, but I am now officially hooked on the sweet/spicy/zingy/umami-rich flavors of Korean barbecue sauces and might need an intervention. It all started when I discovered We Rub You sauces while cruising the international aisle at WholeFoods. Why did I pick up a bottle? The label, of course.
This stuff is so good! Imagine a less sweet, more complex hoisin sauce. Or gingery/garlicky (vs smokey) BBQ sauce. I knew right away it would be a perfect shortcut sauce for lettuce wraps.
If you’ve been to a PFChang’s China Bistro, there’s a good chance you’ve tried their signature lettuce wraps – which are like tacos with lettuce shells or a really tasty salad that you get to eat with your hands. My version is extremely veggie-forward (as in, lots of veggies mixed in with the ground turkey), as well as quick and easy to make thanks to prepared hoisin and Korean BBQ sauce. If you can make tacos, you can make lettuce wraps.
I make a large batch of the filling because everyone loves it, it reheats well, and keeps for up to a week. Trust me when I say you’ll want leftovers. (Serve it with lettuce wraps one night, and on top of rice or soba noodles the next.) Also, feel free to play around with the vegetables. No mushrooms? No big deal. Love zucchini? Add more. Not afraid of nightshades? Try with diced eggplant or bell peppers.
Let the Games begin!
Korean BBQ Lettuce Wraps
Low cal, low carb and totally addictive
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds ground turkey breast (dark meat OK but I prefer leaner)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (about 2″ section)
- 1 bunch scallions/green onions, sliced crosswise (white and green parts)
- 1 8-oz package fresh mushrooms (white or brown), chopped
- 1 10-oz package shredded carrots
- 2 or 3 zucchini, diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 8-oz can diced water chestnuts (drained)
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup Korean BBQ sauce, original or spicy (I like We Rub You brand)
- 1-2 heads iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into quarters
- Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- Chopped peanuts (optional)
Heat oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add ground turkey and cook 3-5 minutes, breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon. (Turkey won’t be cooked all the way through.)
Add chopped ginger and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Stir in scallions and mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes. Add in zucchini, carrots, garlic and water chestnuts and cook for 2 more minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in hoisin and Korean BBQ sauces. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. (If sauce seems too thick, add 1/4 cup water; if too soupy, remove cover and stir until some of the liquid has reduced.)
Core and quarter the head or heads of iceberg lettuce. Serve components buffet style, allowing everyone to create their own lettuce wrap.
Fresh ginger facts: 1) You can break off a piece of the root in the store, so you only pay for what you need; 2) you can easily “peel” the root by scraping it with the edge of a spoon!
To prep zucchini, I first cut them into flat planks (shown left). Then they’re easy to cut into a medium dice.
You know what would be amazing on these, now that I think of it? A drizzle of Momofuku ssäm sauce! Next time.
This is not a sponsored post– I just love these sauces. If you don’t have a WholeFoods near you, these sauces are also available on Amazon. (Note that I do get a small sales commission if you purchase through these links. It will not put my kids through college. )