Kitchen InFerno: Wrap and Roll

Healthy eating and college don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but knowing the right tricks can help turn eating right into a daily routine. Let Kiersten Ferno be your guide for navigating the health-food scene without taking a chunk out of your schedule. Welcome to the inFerno.

For those of you who wish there was another option aside from carb-heavy taco shells or tortillas, look no further– lettuce wraps are your solution! And believe us, they are easier to make than they sound. Read on.

We love trying culturally diverse foods and couldn’t decide on a favorite for just one lettuce wrap recipe, so brace yourself! This week we’re cooking up Asian-style shrimp lettuce wraps and Mexican-style beef lettuce wraps. They’re both incredibly easy, healthy and most importantly, they’ll have your taste buds singing.

The best part about lettuce wraps is that you can season the filling so many different ways. Even if you don’t dig our Asian or Mexican spins, try a Jamaican seasoning or go backyard BBQ style. Whatever your palette, lettuce wraps can provide a platform for culinary experimentation. You’ve got the power.

Shall we begin?

What you need:

Asian-style Shrimp Dipping Sauce

½ cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon minced Serrano pepper (hot hot hot!!!) or jalapeno pepper (hot!)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon honey

Asian-style Shrimp:

1 bag frozen small shrimp (defrost in fridge the night before)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for pan)
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 head romaine lettuce
1 small bag bean sprouts
1 small bag broccoli slaw mix
1 small bag shredded carrots
1/2 cup crushed peanuts

Mexican-Style Beef:
3 Tablespoons olive oil (for pan)
1 red bell pepper
½ white onion
1 lb. lean ground beef
½ can black beans
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 head romaine lettuce (Typically lettuce wraps use Bibb leaves, which are more cup-shaped, but crunchy romaine works just as well!)
½ cup corn
½ diced avocado

What to do:

Asian-Style Dipping Sauce

1. Mince peeled ginger and hot pepper (be careful to avoid touching your eyes afterward! Wash hands thoroughly to avoid irritation.)
2. In small mixing bowl whisk together soy sauce, vegetable oil, honey, ginger and hot pepper.
3. Let sit while cooking shrimp mixture. The ingredients will bond and make for a more melodious flavor.

Asian-Style Shrimp

1. Saute ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, lime juice in olive oil on medium heat to fuse the oil with punchy flavor.
2. Add shrimp (watch carefully, shrimp cooks very quickly!) Cook about 1 minute – flipping shrimp to be sure both sides are pink. Remove mixture from pan as soon as shrimp is cooked otherwise shrimp will toughen.
3. Wash romaine leaves.
4. Put peanuts in a Ziploc and use flat side of larger knife to crush them.
5. Top shrimp mixture with bean sprouts, broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, and peanuts. Then, either douse with sauce or dip your wraps for an added zing of Asian flavor.

Mexican-Style Beef:

1. Thinly slice bell pepper and onion.
2. Saute in olive oil on medium heat until vegetables start to soften.
3. Add ground beef to pan and continuously use spatula to break up meat into smaller chunks.
4. Sprinkle with chili powder, Cayenne pepper, and salt– stir to evenly distribute seasoning.
5. Add beans to pan– stir gently to not create a mushy mess! Turn off heat when meat has browned.
6. Dice avocado. Fill lettuce leaves with meat mixture and top with corn and avocado to enjoy, as well as a spoonful of salsa.

Tip from inside the InFerno: The tangy, spicy sauce you dipped your shrimp lettuce wraps in makes for a kickin’ salad dressing. Try it and tell us your mouth isn’t exploding.

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