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Meatball Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wraps Go Hearty With a Vietnamese Meatball Filling

The following is a post that was originally featured on Half Baked Harvest and written by Tieghan Gerard, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Food.

Do you see all that green? All that color? I made that!!

And umm, I am just now realizing that these wraps have ZERO cheese. Seriously, who am I? What have I become?

A person obsessed with color and mangos (and pineapple . . . and now passion fruit, too. YIKES, maybe I have a fruit issue?) and basically all Thai food . . . but I have a feeling you guys have realized all this by now. Hey, it is Spring, though, and all these colors are totally Spring approved. PLUS, I woke up to a good few inches of fresh snow this morning. Basically all that fresh snow just makes me CRAVE fresh foods even more.

You'd think the snow would make me crave soup or something, but I have now hit the point where I have had a glimpse of nice, warmer weather and I NEED it back! Like, Winter, I am so over you, and Summer, OK, Spring, I am so ready for you!

Better yet, I am so ready for Florida. Florida is way better than a snowy Colorado Spring.

You know? Sometimes I wonder if I live in the wrong place. I pretty much love the heat and never get it. Starting to think that my dad and his idea of packing up and heading to South Beach for a couple of months out of the year sounds pretty good. He may be going slightly crazier with every year that passes, but I have got to say, that is a semibrilliant idea. Maybe someday . . .

OK, sorry, enough Florida dreaming here. Clearly I am pretty excited for my mini vacay to Florida for Easter with the fam to start. The closer it gets, the better it sounds!

These wraps, though. Let's talk about these meatball lettuce wraps with jungle mango salad. They're basically like a salad, but so much more fun! I can't remember the last time I made a REAL salad. I have made many, many salad-like things, but not a salad with actual lettuce. Lettuce just tends to make me bored. I get the feeling you can understand that, though. Butter lettuce is my exception, though — it's one of my favorites . . . probably because it's called butter. Duh.

Anyway, these wraps are so flavorful and also so quick and easy to whip up!!

Yeah!

The mango salad and that sauce are to die for, but when paired with the simple Vietnamese meatballs? Mmmm! That's so cheesy, but it's true. Sometimes cheesy is just what's needed when explaining food. It's the only way to get the point across. Well, aside from an obsessive amount of words all spelled out in caps with plenty of exclamation marks (another favorite of mine)!

These wraps are the perfect healthy, anytime food. Fun enough for the weekend (happening in T-minus one day — depending on when you are reading this), but easy enough for a busy weeknight. They take about 30 minutes, start to finish, but please don't hold me to that, everyone cooks at their own pace. Some of you may need 20 minutes, some an hour, but they took me about 30 minutes to prepare . . . subtracting all that time for photos, of course.

Oh, and they are gluten-free for any gluten-free readers out there! Nice!

And now we can all go eat one too many lettuce wraps, because hey, it's only lettuce, and you can never have too much of that!

Well, you can (the boring kind), but you can't have too many of these wraps. These wraps are flavor bombs of freshness!

Vietnamese Meatball Lettuce Wraps With Mango Salad and Cilantro-Basil Cashew Sauce

Vietnamese Meatball Lettuce Wraps With Mango Salad and Cilantro-Basil Cashew Sauce

Meatball Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  1. For the mango slaw:
  2. 1 mango, peeled and julienned (sliced into thin strips)
  3. 1 carrot, cut into small matchsticks
  4. 1 cucumber, cut into small matchsticks
  5. 1 red onion, sliced thin (optional)
  6. 1 red Fresno chili pepper, chopped
  7. Juice of 1 lime
  8. 1/2 cup roasted peanuts or cashews, chopped
  1. For the cashew sauce:
  2. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  3. 1/4 cup fresh basil
  4. 3/4 cup roasted cashews
  5. 1/3 cup coconut milk, plus more if needed (I used canned coconut milk)
  6. Juice of 2 limes
  7. 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  8. 2-4 tablespoons sweet Thai chili sauce (I used 4 tablespoons)
  1. For the meatballs:
  2. 1 pound ground pork sausage (or links and casing removed)
  3. Salt and pepper, to taste
  4. 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  5. 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (check for gluten-free labels, if needed)
  6. 2 tablespoons fish sauce (check for gluten-free labels, if needed)
  7. 2 tablespoons honey
  8. The leaves from 1 head butter lettuce
  9. 1/2 cup sweet Thai chili sauce, for dipping

Directions

  1. For the salad: In a bowl, combine the mangos, carrots, cucumbers, red onion, red Fresno pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Toss well. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Toss in the nuts just before serving.
  2. For the green cashew sauce: Add the cilantro, basil, cashews, coconut milk, lime juice, Thai red curry paste, and sweet Thai chili sauce to a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Taste, and adjust as needed, adding more sweet Thai chili sauce, if desired. Can be stored in the fridge for 1 week.
  3. For the wraps: Season the pork with salt and pepper, and then roll into 20 to 30 tablespoon-size meatballs. Place each meatball on a tray as you work.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, and honey to make a glaze for the meatballs.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the meatballs until cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning them 2 to 3 times throughout cooking. During the last minute or so of cooking, add the sesame oil mixture, and give the meatballs a good toss to coat. Cook another minute longer until the meatballs are glazed. Remove from the heat.
  6. To serve, double up your lettuce leaves, and divide the meatballs among the leaves. Top with mango salad and the cashew sauce.
Image Source: Half Baked Harvest
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