Spicy Pork and Veggie Lettuce Cups

Spring is almost here! I’m starting to hear birds chirping, the snow is starting to melt {unless you’re one of the unlucky ones who got hit with all that snow… yeah, that just missed us!} and when I stepped outside the other day I could even smell it in the air! More importantly it’s almost that time of year we can pull off those thick wool socks and slip on the ballet flats and I hear Target has some really cute ones in stores NOW! Which leads me to my point… because believe it or not I do have one, so here it is… I’m on a mission to start eating a little better. True story! I’m starting with more water, fruits and veggies and less gummy bears. Who knows maybe I’ll go for a walk or two… that is after I head to Target and grab me a pair of flats, naturally.

cups3

So as you can clearly see, I’m starting to get that itch for spring and it all started with these lettuce cups. Who doesn’t love lettuce cups? They’re packed with goods like fresh ginger, garlic, lime and a truck load of veggies, and might I add that these are super easy to make. You could definitely have them for lunch but they also make a light and healthy dinner too which ultimately means that bowl of ice cream with double sprinkles is totally happening. Wait didn’t I say something about eating better? Shoot I must’ve forgot… again.


stuff

What I love most about these wraps or cups, whatever… is all the fresh veg. I literally felt my waistline shrink as I was popping my 4th cup into my mouth. Guilt-free WHAT!?

peel

Start out by peeling some ginger. There’s probably an easier way of accomplishing this but I use a spoon and it works just fine for me.

grate

Then I grate the beejesus out of it {watch your knuckles} and then I scrape about a tablespoon of  it out of my microplane and into a big-o-bowl.

garlic

Next I just minced up a whole lot of garlic, this is  what six cloves looks like. It’s serious business.

ground pork

Then just throw the pound of pork in the bowl with the ginger and garlic.

mix

And mix by hand until combined.

diced

Let the meat sit and soak in all those flavors while you prep the heck out of the vegetables. Finely dice about a cup and a half of the cucumber, one cup of red bell pepper and a third cup of the carrot. I also finely dice up half a Serrano chile pepper, I kept the seeds in because I like the extra heat. I then roughly chopped up a quarter cup of cilantro and salted peanuts.

lime juice

In a small bowl I squeezed in about three tablespoons of lime juice.

honey

And added a teaspoon of honey.

fish sauce

Then a tablespoon of fish sauce.

stir

And gave it a good stir.

pork in skillet

Then I placed my large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat to get nice and hot. Then once it’s hot I spread out the pork mixture and let it sit there for 5 minutes so it get’s a golden, crusty sear on the bottom.

lettuce

I found this gorgeous head of lettuce at the store… I thought it had the best leaves for making lettuce cups.

roots

And it still had the roots intact to keep it fresh. Coolio! Just tear as many leafs off as you can {neatly}, give them a quick rinse and pat dry. Set those off to the side and return back to your skillet of pork.

break up

Stir the pork around and break up any large clumps.

in bowl

Once fully cooked, throw it into a large bowl.

add ingredients

Add in all the chopped veggies, cilantro and peanuts.

pour

Stir and pour the lime dressing over top. Stir again and fill those lettuce cups!

Spicy Pork Lettuce Cups 01

These pups were going as fast as I was making them. They’re so incredibly flavorful and light… they almost didn’t make it to the table. Oh and IF there’s leftovers… they’re excellent the next day… or later, like at midnight.

Spicy Pork Lettuce Cups 2

I topped mine with more crushed peanuts and some thinly slice green onions for a little bit more freshness. As if these couldn’t be anymore FRESH,because fresh is their middle name… if they had middle names. Um.

Spicy Pork Lettuce Cups 3

You may want to unhinge your jaw before you inhale these suckers… otherwise you may have some of that lime dressing dripping down the side of your hand and you might have to pull an un-ladylike maneuver and lick it up. Hey, it happens… no one judges here.

Dig in folks.

Spicy Pork Lettuce Cups 4

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Spicy Pork and Veggie Lettuce Cups

Ginger-garlic pork and lot's of fresh veggies stuffed into lettuce leaves for a light and healthy meal.

Yield: 4 or more depending

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of Peeled, Grated Fresh Ginger

6 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced

1 pound Ground Pork

1-1/2 cups of diced Cucumber

1 cup diced Red Bell Pepper

1/3 cup diced {peeled} Carrot

1/4 cup roughly chopped Fresh Cilantro

1/4 cup salted, {kettle roasted if you can find them} Peanuts, roughly chopped {plus more for garnish}

1/2 a Serrano Chile, minced {remove seeds if you want it less spicy}

3 tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

1 tablespoon Fish Sauce

1 teaspoon Honey

16 Lettuce Leaves {Iceberg or Boston}

Slice Green Onion, optional

Borrowed and slightly modified from the March issue of Cooking Light Magazine: Spicy Pork Lettuce Cups

Directions:

Start off by peeling and grating a tablespoon of fresh ginger into a large bowl. Mince the six cloves of garlic and mix those along with the pound of ground pork until combined. Let the pork sit and come up to room temperature while you prep the vegetables, cilantro and peanuts.

Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the pork and spread it out, do not stir so the pork can get a golden crust on the bottom. Turn then break up any large clumps and continue to cook thoroughly.

Remove the pork to a large bowl and add in the diced vegetables, cilantro and chopped peanuts. Stir all of those together.

In a small bowl combine the lime juice, fish sauce and honey. Stir and pour over the pork/vegetables. Toss and spoon into lettuce leaves.

Contemplate not sharing. ;)

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27 Responses to “Spicy Pork and Veggie Lettuce Cups”

  1. #
    1
    Kathy F. — March 8, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Yum!! I love all the veggies in these!

  2. #
    2
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — March 8, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I love making wraps with lettuce cups! The best thing in the world.

  3. #
    3
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — March 8, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Gorgeous!! Can I come over for dinner?

  4. #
    4
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — March 8, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Mmmm these look super fresh and delish! I’m coming over with Lauren. ;)

  5. #
    5
    Anne @The Cooking Campaign — March 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Yum, we’re a big fan of lettuce wraps over here! I’ll have to convince Gilbert to try pork instead of our usual chicken :)

  6. #
    6
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — March 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Yup, I’m def. going to have to make these.

    BTW, I’m sure the spoon works fine on the ginger, but a vegetable peeler works very easily, too. :)

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 8th, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

      vegetable peeler… now why didn’t I think of that? Sometimes I wonder…

  7. #
    7
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — March 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    As Lauren said, can I come over too? I mean, if we one day find ourselves on your door step, you’ll feed us, right? :)

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 8th, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

      Haha! Of course… just bring the wine! :)

  8. #
    8
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — March 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Some of my favorite flavors EVER right here. I adore these, Laurie! Happy weekend! xo

  9. #
    9
    Nicole @ youngbrokeandhungry — March 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    These remind of the lettuce wraps from PF Changs which are my kryptonite. I am so happy to see how easy they are to whip up! Cant wait to make them.

  10. #
    10
    Antonia @ Health Inspirations — March 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I want this right now!!!! I’m loving all the colors on that plate!!!

  11. #
    11
    a farmer in the dell — March 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I’m craving fresh food like this! bring on springtime!

  12. #
    12
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — March 9, 2013 at 1:10 am

    I spied butter leaf lettuce at the grocery store the other day and thought how delicious lettuce wraps are…will definitely be picking some up now! We’re big pork peeps in my house, so this recipe is bound to happen! :)

  13. #
    13
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — March 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I love lettuce cups – great way to use up veggies. These sound awesome, and perfect for spring!

  14. #
    14
    Kathryn — March 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

    These sound amazing – just the kind of light and bright food that seems perfect at this time of year!

  15. #
    15
    Rachel @ Bakerita — March 9, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    This is such a perfect, light springtime meal! It looks so fresh and delicious. I need to try it! Your photos are gorgeous as well.

  16. #
    16
    fruit store — March 11, 2013 at 9:02 am

    This is so yum!! im going to definitely try making this

    Fruit Store

  17. #
    17
    Laura — March 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I love every single thing about these. They look great!

  18. #
    18
    Jenny @ BAKE — March 15, 2013 at 9:21 am

    these lettuce cups look so bright and colourful! they look so appetising!

  19. #
    19
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — March 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    I made these for dinner tonight and David & I loved them! We’re definitely going to be making them at least once a month.

    I was a little confused because the ingredients calls for 6 cloves garlic, but in the directions it says mince a clove of garlic. Anyway, I used all 6, and it was delicious. :) Thanks for the amazing recipe!

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 21st, 2013 @ 8:25 am

      Thanks for the heads up Kelli! It’s six cloves, I just think my fingers have a mind of their own sometimes. Glad you liked the recipe! :)

  20. #
    20
    J.P.Jones — March 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I made this tonight for my family and they LOVED it! Imade 2 batches and thought the first batch had too much lime juice, so I reduced it to 2 tablespoons the second time, and added a bit of soy sauce. Wonderful recipe!

  21. #
    21
    Sara B. — May 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Made these for dinner tonight… Delicious, light and perfectly crunchy! I warmed my veggies in the hot skillet just a bit before adding them to the pork. SO delish! Thanks for another keeper!

    Btw, lime sauce totally made the dish! Next time I double it up!

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