Just about every vegan has experience trying to convert a meat-obsessed loved one. Smart ones know that an omnivore can’t say “but bacon!” with a mouthful of delicious plant-based food like Tess Masters’ immensely satisfying lettuce cups from The Perfect Blend: 100 Blender Recipes to Energize & Revitalize. Don’t be fooled—these lettuce cups may look delicate, but the zippy flavors and full-bodied textures tucked inside each bib of butter lettuce provide a roundhouse kick to the tastebuds. We have a feeling that once you serve these bad boys to your omni-friends, they’ll be eating their own words … and asking for seconds.
What you need:
For the lime dressing:
¼ cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos, gluten-free soy sauce, or tamari
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1½ teaspoons coconut sugar or other sweetener
Pinch of red pepper flakes
For the lettuce cups:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small green chile, ribbed, seeded, and finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup finely chopped green onion
6 cups finely diced shiitake or cremini mushrooms
1 cup finely diced zucchini
1 cup finely diced asparagus
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos, gluten-free soy sauce, or tamari
1⁄2 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
16 large butter, Bibb, or romaine lettuce leaves
½ cup raw or dry-toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons gomasio or sesame seeds
What you do:
1. For the dressing, into a blender, add all ingredients and red pepper flake and blend on high for about 30 seconds until well combined. Transfer to a container and set aside.
2. For the filling, in a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté garlic, chile, ginger, green onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to about half the volume. Gradually add sesame oil and liquid aminos as the mixture cools. Stir in cilantro and pine nuts.
3. To assemble, scoop ¼ cup filling into each lettuce leaf, drizzle with 1 teaspoon lime dressing, and sprinkle with the gomasio. Serve immediately.
Photo courtesy of Anson Smart