meatless monday: summer lettuce wrap

Friends. For the first time in three years (!), I failed to post a vegetarian recipe on Meatless Monday last week. Apologies if you dearly missed your weekly salivating along to adjective-heavy descriptions of greens, and ogling food-porny pictures of avocado. My bad.

This new work/life situation is partially to blame. But so is the fact that I haven’t been making much food, because I’ve really been into juices, especially those of the greenest varieties. When I’m not drinking juice (breakfast/lunch), I’m eating out (bad bad bad!). That’s my new August policy, people. Minimal effort on all fronts.

green juice / blue sky.

Let me make up for it by offering what has been a summer staple in my past kitchens, the lettuce wrap. Starting from early childhood, when my mom would assemble big leaves of romaine on a plate, sprinkle with sliced tomatoes and drizzle with the teeniest bit of balsamic and olive oil, and call it Fork-Free Salad. As I grew up, this was something I recreated at a number of summer dinners and barbecues and picnic gatherings for years to follow. Super easy, and something so satisfying about eating salad with your hands, rolling up a crunchy piece of romaine like a taco and letting the juiciness of the sauce drip out the opposite end. Summer food is meant to be messy, gritty, dirty, sticky.

lettuce wraps: made with almost no effort.

Summer Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Peanut Lime Sauce
makes 8; via Oh She Glows

For the filling:
8-10 romaine lettuce leaves
1 block firm tofu
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 med. carrots, peeled & julienned
2 green onions, chopped
3-4 lettuce leaves, julienned
1/4 c. fresh Thai basil leaves, minced
1/4 c. cilantro, thick stems removed & minced
1/3 c. roasted & salted peanuts
sesame seeds to taste
sea salt to taste

For the peanut lime sauce:
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 c. natural roasted peanut butter
1/2-1 tbsp. ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. tamari
2 tsp. sugar
1-3 tsp. water, to thin sauce as neededFirst, press your tofu: rinse tofu block under water and wrap in kitchen towels. Place several heavy cookbooks on top and let sit for at least 20 min. while water is pressed out.In the meantime, assemble your filling: julienne the vegetables (slice into long thin strips). Finely chop herbs. Set aside, along with peanuts.

For your sauce: in a mini food processor, process the garlic until minced. Add the rest of the ingredients and process again until smooth. Adjust ingredients to taste, adding a little water if thinning is needed.

Slice pressed tofu into long thin strips. On a large platter, assemble romain leaves so that the ends turn up, creating little boat-shapes to hold your filling. Begin to fill lettuce wraps, starting with slices of tofu, followed by julienned veggies, sauce, herbs and peanuts. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds. Serve immediately with great joy at how painless that was!

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One response to “meatless monday: summer lettuce wrap

  1. Pingback: Early September, 2012: Sydney and Thai Lettuce Wraps « Heat in the Kitchen

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