Asian Lettuce Wraps with Red Pepper, Edamame and Chicken from the AICR

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As one of the foremost cancer research institutes in the nation, the American Institute for Cancer Research leads the way in making evidence-based recommendations that promote lifestyle choices among the public that can prevent the development of some cancers. To this end, every other week their test kitchen offers a new and delicious recipe.

This week: Asian Lettuce Wraps with Red Pepper, Edamame and Chicken

Although not wraps in the traditional sense, buttery lettuce leaves filled with stir-fried bell pepper, edamame and chicken wrap up big taste and great nutrition in an easy-to-prepare, fun-to-eat Asian dish.

Soy sauce and sesame seed oil impart their characteristic Asian flavors as does peanut oil, infusing its unmistakable peanutty essence into the chicken and vegetables. With its high smoke point, peanut oil is perfect for quick stir-frying. Make sure the peanut oil is hot before adding the ingredients to the skillet. If a few more drops of peanut oil are needed in the pan, add it along the edge of the pan so that by the time it reaches the ingredients being cooked, it will be hot and less prone to be absorbed by the food.

Marinating chicken before cooking is always a good idea to keep it juicy and flavorful. A secret to good marinade and pan sauce is to use a small amount of dark brown sugar. It tenderizes the chicken, adds a subtle layer of sweetness and balances the flavor of the mustard and heat of the red pepper flakes.

These wraps feature edamame, which are young soybeans that are high in fiber and plant protein. In fact, edamame is a complete protein with all essential amino acids. Chicken also provides high quality protein. Want all plant protein? Easy, just replace chicken with more edamame. Don’t have any edamame in the freezer? Just use more chicken.

Think like a restaurant chef when it comes to plating your wraps. After all, we enjoy food first with our eyes. With glistening green edamame balls, sweet red bell pepper strips, and crunchy carrot matchsticks nestled nicely in lettuce leaf cups, you have a culinary opportunity to be artistic.

Asian Lettuce Wraps with Red Pepper, Edamame and Chicken

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. dark sesame seed oil
  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. prepared mustard
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ¾ lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch x 2-inch strips
  • 2 tsp. peanut oil
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 4 green onions, cut diagonally in 1-inch slices
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut julienne style
  • 1/3 cup basil, chopped medium, divided
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, optional
  • 8 leaves Bibb (Boston) lettuce
  • 1/2 cup grated or matchstick cut carrots

Instructions

In glass mixing bowl, whisk together first 6 ingredients. Add chicken to marinade and set aside.

In large skillet, heat peanut oil over medium-high heat. Remove chicken strips from marinade, reserving liquid. Sauté chicken 6-7 minutes. Add edamame, onion, red pepper, half the basil, sesame seeds and reserved marinade. Continue sautéing 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

On each of four plates, arrange two lettuce leaves. Divide chicken mixture and top with carrots and remaining basil. Serve with brown rice or brown rice noodles.

Makes 4 servings (2 lettuce wraps each).

Per serving: 236 calories, 14 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 18 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 350 mg sodium.

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