One of the more recent diet trends that only crossed my path one time while working at my previous job is the Paleo (Caveman) diet, which supports eating a simple unprocessed diet comprised of meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, & tree nuts- but no dairy or grains. I have several friends and acquaintances who swear by it, and several have shared some wonderful recipes! I was initially skeptical because strict adherence to the diet requires one to avoid entire food groups- something I would have a hard time recommending to anyone; especially when those food groups include healthy whole grains and high fiber beans and legumes. It is also deficient in calcium and Vitamin D if followed strictly, so these would need to be supplemented. However, like most diets, there are several very commendable aspects to this eating plan: it mandates whole, unprocessed foods, is low in sugar and sodium, and encourages lots of fruits and vegetables (all of which dietitians have been urging for many years!) So while I do wonder about its long-term sustainability, I recognize that those who follow it love it, many experience improved health, and the recipes aren't bad! (For a more in-depth review, visit http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/diet-review-the-caveman-paleo-diet).
Which brings me to the fun part of this blog post- the recipe! A friend recommended this recipe for Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps from the Paleo Plan that she said I had to try. I did, and they were absolutely delicious! I did modify them a bit to use ingredients I had on hand and to suit our tastes. Plus, I cooked a side of rice (big Paleo no-no) for my carbohydrate-burning hubby who needs more fuel than the average joe! But all in all, I stuck to the recipe pretty closely. According to Chris- this one makes it into the Munoz Recipe Hall of Fame- he loved them that much.
|His & Hers: one with rice, one without|
12 large Bibb lettuce leaves (at least!)
3-4 large red cabbage leaves, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup finely chopped raw broccoli
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast
1 Tbs coconut oil
salt & pepper
For Thai Peanut Sauce:
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce (use gluten free if needed)
Juice from 1 small lime (about 2 Tbs)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Season chicken on both sides with salt & pepper. Heat coconut oil in oven-proof skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 3-5 minutes on each side. They should be nice and browned on the outside. Transfer skillet to the oven to finish cooking (about 15-20 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, mix all ingredients together for the Thai peanut sauce. (I used the Magic Bullet- worked like a charm!)
4. In a separate bowl, mix cabbage, carrot, broccoli & green onion together. Toss with a few tablespoons of the peanut sauce.
5. Once the chicken is finished, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
6. Assemble lettuce wraps- fill each lettuce leaf with a scoop of the vegetable mixture, chicken, cilantro and top with a few teaspoons of peanut sauce.
7. Everyone say "YUMMMM"!
*Chris added the white rice to the wrap also; I ate it on the side. If serving rice, make 3/4 cup rice according to package directions, substituting 1/3 cup of the water for coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper and toss in some cilantro when done cooking.
|Did I mention it makes delicious leftovers? This is Chris' Rice Bowl|