As summer unveils itself in all its fecund and verdant forms, it seems only natural that our diets reflect the surrounding greenness. And with local farms abounding in fresh produce these days, eating a refreshing and healthy meal also offers an opportunity to support local, organic, small-scale agriculture. So for a simple, delicious and fresh meal, I sauntered down to the local food co-op for some greens.
One of my favorite dishes these days was actually inspired by a previous MNN assignment: a two-week raw food challenge
that resulted in a deep and abiding affection for vegetables in their purest form. Though I am far from a raw foodist these days (I enjoy beer and bread too much for that), sometimes I don't want to stand over a stove on a 90 degree day. These quick and easy lettuce wraps are perfect for a Sunday picnic in the park or as an appetizer at your friend's BBQ. I suppose you could even throw a hamburger on one if you were so inclined ...
And therein lies the beauty of this recipe: its simplicity and flexibility. You can make these with what's fresh and local at the farmers market, what you have growing in your back yard (or window), or whatever you happen to have in your fridge. I've tried to be inspired by what's in season, but be creative when making them yourselves!
Summer lettuce wraps with ginger peanut sauce
Prep time: 20 minutes
1 tomato, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 cucumber, chopped
3 white button mushrooms, chopped
1 head red dazzler lettuce
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, diced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
Put peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl with a dash of water and heat in microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Mix soy sauce, ginger, and garlic with peanut butter and refrigerate to chill. Alternatively, put peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in blender or food processor with a splash of water and blend on high.
Rinse lettuce leaves and pat dry. Arrange around the outside of a large serving plate and place chopped and diced vegetables in middle. To serve, spoon ginger peanut sauce onto middle of lettuce leaf, top with vegetables, and wrap like a burrito. That's it.
Photo: Chris Tittle