Food Feature Friday: Lettuce

This week’s Food Feature Friday was inspired by something I’ve been getting a lot of in my CSA lately: lettuce! I’m not the biggest salad person, but there’s something to be said for perfectly fresh in-season lettuce. It’s crispy, crunchy, has a ton of flavor and is super hydrating!

Food Feature Friday: Lettuce // Naturally Lindsey

But did you know that lettuce is also really healthy? Now yes, I know, it’s not like you’d really ever think of lettuce as unhealthy but it’s actually quite the powerhouse, packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate. In addition, it’s a good source of fiber, potassium, and manganese. Who knew, right?

Needless to say, with all this lettuce coming around I’ve needed to find something to do with it. A girl can only eat so many salads (and lettuce wraps…) Though they were a bit tough to find, below are a few recipes I’ll be trying soon:

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Paleo Steak Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber Carrot Slaw and a Tangy Cashew Sauce

Lettuce wraps have got to be one of my favorite dishes, like, ever. Juicy marinated meat, some kind of crunchy slaw, and deliciously tangy sauce all wrapped up in crisp, fresh lettuce – sign me up. But foodie, beware! Those tasty little cups they serve in the restaurant are packed with sugar that practically negates any nutritional value and makes the calorie count skyrocket. Luckily, this recipe makes it easy to get the flavor your crave in a clean, healthful way by using a bit of raw local honey.

Paleo Steak Lettuce Wraps

Unlike the blood sugar spike that refined white sugar causes, raw local honey may actually help blood sugar control and insulin resistance as it contains nearly a 1:1 ratio of fructose to glucose, which the body tolerates better than sucrose (white sugar) alone. Plus, honey is naturally sweeter than sugar, so you can use less of it. Pretty nifty, right?

The marinade in this recipe is also the base for the sauce, but you won’t cook the sauce so make sure you divide it before you add it to the meat. I used romaine lettuce hearts as little boats for the wraps, though Bibb lettuce cups work wonderfully if you can get them. My boyfriend and I enjoyed this recipe for dinner one night, and I may or may not have devoured the leftovers alone in the kitchen after I got home from work the next day.

This recipe is:
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Refined sugar-free
• Paleo

Paleo Steak Lettuce Wraps

Steak Lettuce Wraps and Tangy Cashew Sauce
• 1/3 cup gluten-free tamari
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon raw local honey
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1″ fresh ginger root, peeled and minced (or 2 teaspoons dried ground ginger)
• 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
—-
• 2 tablespoons cashew butter (sub almond butter if needed)
• 1 1/2 lbs steak (inexpensive cut – flank is good here), cubed, or stew meat
• Romaine hearts or Bibb lettuce cups
• 2 tablespoons chopped cashews

1. Combine soy sauce through garlic (all ingredients above the line) in a small bowl. Whisk ingredients until well combined.
2. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside. This will be your sauce.
3. Pour the remaining marinade over the cubed meat in a flat pan or large plastic bag. Let sit for about 30 minutes (longer is always better if possible!) while you prepare the sauce and slaw.
4. For the sauce, combine the 1/4 cup marinade with 2 tablespoons cashew butter. Whisk until smooth.
5. Once you prepare the slaw, you’re ready to get cookin’. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and marinade, and cook until medium rare, about 5 minutes.
6. Let the meat cool a bit while you wash and dry your lettuce of choice.
7. To assemble your wraps, place the meat inside the lettuce. Top with slaw and sauce. Sprinkle chopped cashews on top if desired.

Cucumber Carrot Slaw
• 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
• 2 medium carrots, shredded
• 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar
• 2 teaspoons local raw honey (optional – can negate if desired)

1. Prepare your vegetables. For the carrots, you can use a box grater and shred them by hand or use the grater attachment on your food processor. Separate the onion layers with your fingers.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the rice vinegar and honey. If not using honey, skip to the next step.
3. In a large bowl, place the cucumber, carrots, and onions. Add the vinegar mixture and gently stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the meal.
What’s your favorite fresh dinner dish? Let me know in the comments below!