Thai Lettuce Cups with Minced Pork, Crisp Vegetables & Toasted Coconut
Fresh, fragrant, and pretty lettuce cups are composed of seasoned ground pork, layers of raw summer vegetables and flavorful toppings with a Thai inspiration. Practice traditional knife cuts with precision or make it an even quicker recipe by grating the vegetables. With this much flavor, texture, and color, you’re also getting a great variety of nutrients from your summertime dish.
- ¾ pound ground pasture-raised pork
- 3 green onions, white & light green parts chopped & dark green parts sliced into thin 2-inch ribbons
- 2 teaspoons tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ lime, juiced
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened fish sauce
- ½ teaspoons coconut palm sugar or honey
- 1 teaspoon tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 cucumber, peeled & seeded, julienned in thin 2- inch strips
- 2 carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch matchstick-sized strips
- 3 radishes, scrubbed & sliced into thin half-moons
- 1 handful cilantro, stems trimmed
- ½ lime, sliced into very thin ½-inch sized pie-slice segments, including peel
- ¼ cup toasted or crispy cashews, roughly chopped
- ½ cup toasted coconut flakes
- 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
Heat a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high and add the pork and chopped portion of green onions. Break up the pork with a wood spatula and brown the meat and onions for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the tamari or coconut aminos, garlic, and ginger and cook for another minute or two, until the pork is fully cooked and no longer bright pink. Set aside.
Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar or honey, and tamari or coconut aminos in a small bowl. Whisk in the sesame oil.
When you are ready to assemble, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the minced pork onto a lettuce leaf, topped with some sliced vegetables, cilantro, ribbons from the ends of the green onions, and lime segments. Sprinkle the cashews and toasted coconut over the top. The cups should contain mostly vegetables with just a little pork, but it’s up to you and those at the table what proportions of each component they like. Drizzle a little bit of the dressing over each lettuce cup.
- If you use smaller lettuce leaves, or a smaller lettuce variety like Little Gems, the cups make a great appetizer or party food.
- The pretty cuts of vegetables are what take up the time in this recipe. If you’re in a hurry and/or the appearance of the vegetables are not paramount, you can grate the seeded cucumber, carrots, and radishes, and just slice the green ends of the green onions.
- Instead of cashews, toasted almonds, Valencia peanuts or sunflower seeds will work.
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