If you’re enjoying low(er) carb meals, lettuce wraps are a healthy option. I love fajitas, and romaine leaves are a delicious alternative to tortillas.
You can use chicken or pork for this dish, but we scored a great buy on top round steak, which was already packaged as “fajita steak,” which was a huge time saver. I mixed up a quick marinade for the steak and vegetables. After a few hours in the refrigerator, the steak was ready to cook. By using low-fat cheese and light sour cream, we saved even more calories. This was an extremely satisfying meal, and neither of us missed the tortillas.
BEEF FAJITA ROMAINE LETTUCE WRAPS
• 1 large head of romaine lettuce
Here are the ingredients for the marinade:
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon honey
• Zest and juice of one lime
• 1/2 teaspoon ground annatto
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
• 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro (or parsley)
Whisk all ingredients in the container you’re going to marinate the meat and vegetables in. Set aside.
Now for the meat and veggies:
• 1 1/2 pounds top round steak, thinly sliced
• 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 green bell pepper, sliced
• 1 red bell pepper, sliced
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño
Heat a large cast-iron skillet on the stove over high heat until a drop of water sizzles. While the skillet heats, remove the core from romaine. Wash lettuce leaves and dry. Set aside.
Using tongs, place the meat and vegetables into the skillet. Discard marinade. Quickly cook the fajita mixture until the beef is cooked and the vegetables are still tender/crisp. Remove from heat.
Divide the fajita mixture evenly between the romaine leaves.
Top with your favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, pico, etc.
ORANGE PORK LETTUCE WRAPS
These beautiful lettuce wraps are a cinch to make. You can definitely use ground chicken or turkey as a substitute for the ground pork. These wraps make a fantastic low-carb, high-protein lunch or dinner. The filling reheats easily. Use curly leaf lettuce for this wrap.
Make the sauce first, and while it simmers and reduces, brown the vegetables and the ground pork.
For the sauce:
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons orange blossom honey
• 1 teaspoon grated raw ginger
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
In a small saucepan, over low heat, combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let the sauce reduce until the mixture becomes thick, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat.
For the filling:
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 teaspoon orange juice
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 small yellow onion, chopped
• 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1 carrot, grated
• 4 ounces diced water chestnuts
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, orange juice, garlic, onions, and bell peppers. Cook, occasionally stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes until vegetables begin to soften.
Add pork, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and allow to cook until no pink remains.
Add carrots, water chestnuts, ginger and red pepper flakes. Stirring frequently, cook for an additional 5 minutes or so.
Add the sauce to the pork and vegetables, stirring to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow another 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time. Check the taste and add additional salt if necessary, along with a few grinds of black pepper.
At this point, you can assemble your lettuce wraps. Place a small spoonful of the pork mixture into a piece of curly leaf lettuce. Top with diced seedless cucumber, chopped cilantro, sesame seeds and/or thinly sliced green onions. Other condiments you might enjoy are low-sodium soy sauce, hoisin sauce, duck sauce or toasted sesame oil.
Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com, for more than eight years. She won the Duke’s Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram, and at email@example.com.