Veggie-Packed “Lettuce” Wraps





What's more round, the cabbage, or my head?


Perhaps you’re asking yourself, “Why does it look like Josh is holding a cabbage in what appears to be a gym/workout facility?” Darlings, it’s because I AM holding a cabbage in a gym/workout facility. Allow me to explain.

So dashing from work to workout, I realized I was missing a key ingredient to that evening’s dinner — cabbage! Before you say “yuck nasty!” like I tend to when contemplating cabbage, know that it’s merely a vehicle for a way-better-than-PF Chang’s version of “lettuce” wraps. Cabbage is to “lettuce” wraps as chips are to rotel. Except not a fat factory. Got it? On we go.

So I zipped past the gym (Birmingham’s LJCC, love it, go there!) and plunged into the Publix. Cabbage in tow, I hurled back gymward, peeling into the parking lot with about 47 seconds to spare before it was time to begin doing sit-ups in unison with a room full of perfect strangers. But I had a cabbage dilemma: Do I leave the cabbage in the car to possibly wilt and yuckify, or do I smuggle her into the gym? Fearing wilt above mockery or inconvenience, I bagged her and sprinted inside.


Plastic bags are sinful. Mea culpa, mea culpa!


What I failed to factor in was the locker room. Let’s be clear — I’m not knocking the cleanliness of the men’s locker room, but it’s absolutely no place for a cabbage! There’s entirely too many feet and undercarriages swinging about in there. Blech! By this time, I was already fully committed to the mischief-y idea of toting a cabbage around the gym, so off we went to the workout studio!

I briefly considering subbing in the cabbage as a weight plate for lunges, but that seemed a mite ridiculous (ha!). So she sat in the corner, cozy in her Publix bag, while I crouched, crunched, and planked my way toward a six pack that only exists in magazines.

As the class ended, the instructor (who David and I call ‘Sweet Sara’) told us to eat our veggies. Oh, the irony! So of course I had to introduce her to my special guest. Sara is a culinary school-trained foodie, so she totally understood my wilt vs. locker room dilemma. I mean, who wouldn’t? 😉

There’s nothing to the rest of the story, really. I rushed home, chopped a queen’s ransom of vegetables, and combined them with ground chicken and seasonings to yield a very tasty and healthy version of “lettuce” wraps. If this seems familiar, it’s because we’ve already told you how to cook this before. Actually, Matthew did! Here’s the recipe. I simply added the following diced veggies: one red bell pepper, half and onion, an entire bunch of scallions, one pint container of mushrooms, and two large carrots.


Mom would be proud!


Don’t forget the seasonings! I used a sixfecta of low-sodium soy sauce (salty), fish sauce (sour), chili sauce (hot) honey (sweet), and rice wine vinegar (tangy!).


Instead of a wok (which I do own but am terrified of, mainly because my electric stove doesn’t cooperate with it), I used a gigantic skillet, like this:


Yummy goodness!


And that’s it! A little ground chicken, a little cilantro, and a whole lotta flavor! Oh yeah, I forgot about the cabbage!



And that, friends, is all she wrote! This is a great recipe if you’d like to play with asian flavors, but you’re intimidated by stir-frying. Just saute it all in stages and you’re all set!

Have fun, cook mischievously, and don’t be afraid to play — or workout — with your food! 😉


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One Response to “Veggie-Packed “Lettuce” Wraps”

  1. Michele Says:

    It looks delicious! I do lettuce wraps but never did it with cabbage. The colors are beautiful!

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