Quinoa & Chickpea Lettuce Cups

Hi!

Romaine lettuce is often associated with Caesar salad but we think it makes a great lettuce cup too. Unlike butter lettuce, which is very tender, it holds its shape well and you don’t have to worry about it crumbling underneath your filling. Also, our romaine is harvested when the outer leaves are only about 6 inches long, which makes it the perfect size for this application.

The filling variations are endless. Quinoa cooked in the way described below provides a good, sticky base for the other items but you can use millet, rice or any other grain you have on hand. Switch out the beans and use black, kidney, cannellini or even French lentils (or choose another protein source all together). You don’t have to use the olives or capers but I would include something with a bit of punch – chopped pickles, sun-dried tomatoes or some kind of chopped fermented vegetable. I like a little extra crunch from the celery but you can leave it out if desired. Choose whichever spices you like best and make it your own!

Quinoa & Chickpea Lettuce Cups
serves 4-6 as a main meal

Recipe note: below I suggest topping the lettuce cups with crumbled feta for ease but I think a feta or yogurt based sauce with fresh herbs would take this over the top. I am thinking of something like this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup washed quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives
  • 1 tablespoon drained and rinsed capers
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced celery (from about 3 small stalks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Romaine lettuce and feta to serve

Directions:

  •  Heat oil in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed, about 16 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add the chickpeas, olives, capers, celery, oregano, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve on romaine lettuce leaves topped with crumbled feta if desired.

Weeknight Pasta with Walnut Sauce and Kale

Hello!

In a past life as a personal chef, I would make this recipe for a client almost every week. He couldn’t consume anything acidic (onions, garlic, vinegar, etc) so I was always searching for ways to get a lot of flavor into a dish without falling back on those ingredients. You can add onions, garlic and/or vinegar but I think this dish is good without them too. And it’s one of those recipes that you can vary in SO many ways:

  • Pasta: I used fusilli but but you can use just about anything (if you make the sauce chunky, I think a short pasta would work best; if you puree the sauce, long, thin pasta would also work).
  • Nuts: I like the combination of walnuts and pine nuts but you can use just walnuts or try a different combination of your choice.
  • Herbs: I always used parsley in the past but I think basil or chives would be great too
  • Cheese: I like the way Pecorino stands up to the flavor of the walnuts but I think Parmesan or even goat cheese would be great.
  • Greens: don’t limit yourself to just kale – arugula, collards or chard would also be great. For tender greens, you can fold them right into the hot pasta without cooking them first.
  • Optional items: saute a little garlic with the kale and then deglaze the pan with a little white wine; finish with a little lemon juice or white wine vinegar; add caramelized onions.

Pasta with Walnut Sauce and Kale
makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta of choice (I used fusilli)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces kale, destemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pecorino
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to packing instructions and drain. Set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12″ traditional skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the kale and saute, stirring frequently, until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl.
  • Clean out the skillet used for the kale and dry. Return to the stovetop and toast walnuts over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a large cutting board. Toast the pine nuts, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the cutting board. At this point, you can either chop the nuts finely by hand or transfer 3/4 to a food processor and process until finely ground; roughly chop the remaining nuts for added texture. Transfer nuts to the bowl with the kale.
  • Add the parsley, butter, olive oil and cheese to the bowl with the kale and nuts and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Mix with pasta and serve.

 


Super Greens & Sunflower Seed Pesto

Hello!

You may find you are short on time to cook this weekend if you are enjoying the beautiful weather. No worries – you can throw together this pesto in no time with items you most likely have in your pantry. Don’t limit yourself to just tossing it with pasta, although that is a perfectly wonderful way to enjoy it. You could also use it on sandwiches, a base for pizza, tossed with broccoli or cauliflower just to name a few.

While you can use all sorts of greens, seeds/nuts and cheese in pesto, I especially like this mix for a few reasons. I used the arugula, spicy asian greens, Spigarello broccoli rabe leaves and basil mix from last week’s CSA share which really provides a great flavor base (you could also use kale or another hearty green). It is paired with sunflower seeds, which are economical and the flavor stands up well to the spicy and bitter greens. I then used a mix of Sequatchie Cove Creamery aged Coppinger and Parmesan, but you can also use just Parmesan or other aged cheese of choice.

Get out and enjoy the sunshine…and then make this when you come in to eat! Enjoy!

Super Greens & Sunflower Seed Pesto
makes about 1-1/2 cups

Recipe notes: I always find pesto needs salt and although not traditional, a little lemon juice, too. Be sure to taste after adding the cheese as you may find you don’t need it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 5-1/4 ounces (about 3-1/2 packed cups) of hearty greens, tough stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan or other aged cheese of choice (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, if desired
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, if desired

Directions:

  • Place sunflower seeds in a single layer in a 12″ traditional skillet and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until most of the seeds are toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large capacity food processor.
  • Place the garlic cloves (with skins still on) in the same skillet and place over medium heat. Flip occasionally until the skins are starting to blacken and the garlic gives slightly when squeezed, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, remove skins and add to the food processor.
  • Add the greens to the food processor and process until mostly broken down, about 15-30 seconds. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheese. Taste, and add salt and lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Wasabi Arugula Rice Salad with Miso-Ginger Dressing

Hello!

If you didn’t pick up wasabi arugula last week, you are missing out! While it doesn’t have the sinus-clearing affects of wasabi paste, the intense horseradish-like flavor is unmistakable.

You can use this variety as you would regular arugula, in salads, sandwiches, pasta or pesto. I find these spicy greens work best in dishes that have a distinct sweet note. In the recipe below, the dressing provides both sweetness and fat that help to balance the arugula. I have seen multiple recipes, both in salad and sandwich form, that include blue cheese, pears and walnuts with arugula and the combination sounds delicious (again, the sweet / fatty combination).

Enjoy!

Wasabi Arugula Rice Salad with Miso-Ginger Dressing
makes 4-6 servings

Recipe notes: I left the salad portion rather vague as I think you can use just about any combination of items in different amounts. If you don’t have carrots, use whatever veggies you have on hand. Use white rice or another grain altogether in place of the brown rice. You could use tofu in place of the edamame. Experiment and make it your own.

Ingredients:

  • For the salad:
    • 1-1/2 cups raw or cooked finely diced carrots
    • 1 cup edamame, cooked according to package instructions
    • About 5 cups cooked brown rice (from 1-1/2 cups raw)
    • Wasabi arugula, torn into bite sized pieces
    • Optional: avocado, sliced scallions, toasted sesame seeds, nori flakes
  • For the dressing:
    • 3 tablespoons white miso
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 4-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/3 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    • 1-1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

Directions:

  • Toss all salad ingredients together except for the arugula and set aside.
  • Vigorously whisk all dressing ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl until combined.
  • When ready to serve, mix your desired amount of arugula into the salad. Pass the dressing, allowing each person to add a spoonful or two of dressing to the salad.

Mustard Greens Soup with Poblanos and Almonds

Hello,

The combination of mustard greens, poblanos and almonds may seem like a strange mix at first but I urge you to give it a try. The toasty, roasty almonds and poblanos provide depth whereas the greens compliment with a bright, fresh flavor.

This recipe is lightly adapted from this one by Rick Bayless. He doesn’t puree all of the soup as I recommend below, but instead leaves about half of the ingredients roughly chopped and mixed into the rest. I like to puree all of the soup for simplicity and then get some textural contrast from the garnishes.

Enjoy!

Mustard Greens Soup with Poblano and Almonds
makes about 6 cups / 4-6 servings

Recipe note: you can use other greens in place of mustard greens – arugula, kale, collards, Swiss chard or even chickweed, dead nettle or henbit.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds, plus a few extra for garnish if you wish
  • medium fresh poblano chiles
  • medium (about 1/2 pound) Yukon Gold potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • bunch (about 8 ounces) mustard greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups vegetable stock or water, plus a little more if needed
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Garnishes: I suggest a mix of something fatty (diced hard-boiled eggs, avocado) plus something crunchy (tortilla chips, extra almonds) but you could also use diced tofu, mushrooms, chicken or shrimp.

Directions:

  • Toast almonds in a 12″ traditional skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly brown, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Adjust oven rack to the upper third of the oven and heat the broiler on high. Remove the stem end and seeds from the poblanos and cut into quarters lengthwise (you may need to cut them into smaller pieces to ensure they lay flat). Place on a foil lined sheet pan and broil until the skin is black and blistered, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and peel skin from the peppers. Add to a blender jar and set aside.
  • Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the almonds, potatoes, and garlic and boil for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the mustard greens and cook until wilted but still bright green, about 1-2 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, scoop almonds, potatoes, garlic and greens into a blender jar and set aside.
  • Add 2-1/2 cups of stock or water, salt and lime juice to the blender and puree on high until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add more stock or water to reach desire consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • If you plan to serve immediately, transfer to an empty saucepan and heat gently over medium-low until warm. Top with garnish of choice and serve.

 


Indian Mustard Green Sauce with Potatoes

Hello!

Here is a tasty Indian inspired sauce that can be easily made ahead and frozen (prepare the potatoes before serving as they would not freeze well). Traditional sag aloo is based on spinach but I like the added complexity from mixing kale and mustard greens together. Experiment with a different mix of greens and let us know how it turns out.

This sauce is not a something that can be quickly thrown together – it will take a bit to make but well worth it in the end. Plus, it’s a great way to use a lot of greens at once! If you want to shorten the recipe a bit, you can use your favorite pre-ground Indian spice mix – I think equal amounts of curry powder and garam masala would work well. You could also use another vegetable in place of the potatoes – thaw out frozen cauliflower for an easy substitution.

Saag Aloo (Spinach Sauce with Potatoes)
serves 4

Recipe notes: 1) you can substitute waxy potatoes like Red Bliss but don’t use starchy potatoes such as Russets as they tend to fall apart and not hold their shape, 2) you can add more jalapeno depending on your desired spice level – although it is impossible to tell how much heat any one chile will give without tasting it (as it depends on the growing conditions), 1/2 jalapeno probably won’t give much noticeable heat.

  • Ingredients:
    • 4 medium (1-1/3 lb) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled if desired, and cut into 1″ cubes
    • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • Seeds from 3 cardamom pods, about 1/4 teaspoon
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and cut into a small dice
    • 1/2 large jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
    • 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
    • 10 ounces kale (about 1 large bunch), washed and roughly chopped
    • 10 ounces mustard greens (about 1 large bunch), washed and roughly chopped
    • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped
    • Juice of one fresh lime
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
    • 1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
    • Rice and/or naan to serve
  • Directions:
    • Place potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, remove plastic wrap away from your face to avoid the steam, and test for doneness. Cover and cook for a few minutes longer if they aren’t cooked all the way through. Alternatively, you can steam the potatoes in a steamer basket set over simmering water (should take about 5 minutes to cook through). Set aside.
    • Grind the cumin and cardamom seeds using a mortal and pestle or a spice grinder. Combine with the remaining spices and set aside.
    • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the spice mixture. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the greens in 2 or 3 batches, if necessary, until they have wilted down and start to release moisture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat and transfer 1/2 of the spinach mixture to a blender or small food processor. Pulse until mostly smooth, about 5 1-second pulses. Return the puree to the skillet with the remaining greens and stir to combine. Add the tomato, lime juice and heavy cream, if using, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Stir in the potatoes. Serve over rice and top with chopped cashews.

 


Carrot & Turmeric Soup

Hello,

Making this soup is a lesson in balancing fresh and cooked flavor and seasoning based on taste. The base of the soup – onion, turmeric, carrots, coconut milk – would make a nice soup by itself, but it is definitely kicked up a notch by adding fresh flavors at the end. I like to incorporate fresh versions of ingredients cooked in the soup, like the carrots and turmeric. It helps to intensify both of those flavors and brightens up the dish. I then added two additional ingredients that I think almost every dish needs at the end – a little acidity and a little sweetness (a lot of dishes need extra salt too but I added plenty in the beginning). I chose apple cider vinegar and honey as I think they pair nicely with the other flavors but you can play around and try what you like (lemon juice or white wine vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup or sorghum in place of the honey might be nice). Whichever route you decide to take, just taste, make small adjustments, and taste again. Enjoy!

Carrot & Turmeric Soup
makes about 4 servings for a main dish, 6 for a side dish

Recipe notes: 1) I found fresh turmeric at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago so have been using that over dried. If you don’t have access to fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried turmeric instead and add it all in the beginning with the garlic; 2) I preferred this soup the day after making it as the flavors had time to really blend and smooth out, but it was still very good the day of.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1-1/8 pound (about 6 medium) trimmed carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • To serve: croutons and/or chives

Directions:

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons turmeric and garlic and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add 1 pound of carrots, water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and add the remaining turmeric and carrots, 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar and honey and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Swiss Chard & Orange Oat Muffins

Hello!

I am thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and how to make life easier for the meals just before and after the main event. One can’t be bothered to make breakfast the day of or the day after (I can’t even step foot in the kitchen for a few days after Thanksgiving…unless it’s to eat leftovers). While this is not a quick, throw together recipe, it will pay off in the end when you can pull a healthy and delicious breakfast out of the refrigerator or freezer. The muffins themselves aren’t overly sweet so I think they could also serve as a side dish if you leave off the oat and brown sugar topping.

I should also note that no, these don’t end up tasting like Swiss chard. The orange flavor is most evident with a little hint of the saffron in the background. I used closer to 8 ounces of greens in my first round of testing and I still didn’t pick up on much chard flavor. Enjoy!

Swiss Chard and Orange Oat Muffins (adapted from here)
makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon + 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces (about 10 medium to large leaves) Swiss chard, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup + 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, divided
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1/2 cups milk of choice (I have used both whole and soy milk with good results)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup raisins, roughly chopped

Directions:

  • Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 400 degrees. Liberally spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the Swiss chard and cook, stirring constantly, until the leaves are wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a colander set over the sink and cool slightly. Press on the greens with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a cutting board and chop fine. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low heat in a small saucepan until just warmed, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the saffron, and allow to cool. Transfer to the bowl with the Swiss chard and set aside.
  • Take 1 cup (4 ounces) of oats and grind into a fine flour. This works best in a spice or coffee grinder but a small food processor also works. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Take the remaining 1/3 cup of oats and mix with the brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
  • To the bowl with the oat flour, add the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.
  • In the bowl with the Swiss chard and olive oil, add the eggs, honey, milk, orange zest and raisins. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold to just combine without overmixing. Note: the batter will look a bit looser or wet than you might be used to – this is expected. Equally divide the batter between muffin tins until it almost reaches the top. Top each muffin with the oat & brown sugar mixture and transfer to the oven. Cook for 14-16 minutes (I needed 16 minutes), rotating once half way through, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with just a crumb or two attached. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes and then remove and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • To store: after they have cooled completely, the muffins can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for 3-5 days, although they will dry out a bit. They can also be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil for 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Chickpea, Cashew & Collard Green Patties

Hello,

It was so, so lovely to meet / see again those who attended the first CSA shareholders meeting! I loved spending time and sharing a meal with such an enthusiastic, dedicated group. I look forward to more meetings in the future!

This is the recipe for the patties I served at the meeting. You can use any type of greens or even other vegetables, you just want to squeeze out as much excess moisture from whatever you use. The patties won’t firm up if there is too much moisture. Also, I would suggest playing around with the size of the patties and adjust them to your liking. I thought mine were a bit thin and could have come out of the oven 5 minutes earlier. It’s all up to your personal preferences and how you plan to serve them.

The recipe is adapted from here. You will notice she adds hot peppers, which I would totally be on board with if I wasn’t sharing these with a 2 year old 🙂

Chickpea, Cashew & Collard Green Patties
makes about 14 patties

Recipe notes: I didn’t try this, but I assume these patties could be made ahead and frozen.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 cup raw chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 10 ounces (about 10 large leaves) collard greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup raw whole cashews
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Buns, avocado, sauerkraut and hot sauce to serve

Directions:

  • Place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by at least 2 inches. Set aside and allow to soak for at least 8 hours or preferably, overnight.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and liberally coat with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 375 degrees.
  • Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add the greens and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5-10 minutes (depending on the type of greens you use). Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  • While the greens are cooling, drain the chickpeas and add them to a large capacity food processor. Add the cashews, garlic, salt and pepper. Drain the greens and squeeze out any excess moisture (I find this easiest to do while the greens are in the colander – press them with the back of a large mixing spoon until most of the moisture is gone). Add them to the food processor and process with the other items for about 1-2 minutes, scraping down the bowl a few times, until the mixture is mostly broken down but you don’t want it to be completely mushy and without some texture.
  • Using a #16 scoop (or 1/4 cup measure) form mixture into patties, about 2-1/2 inches wide and 1/2″ thick. Place in the oven and cook about 30 minutes, flipping once half way through.
  • To serve, I like eating the patties topped with avocado, sauerkraut and Sriracha or hot sauce. You could also serve these on buns or in pita bread with your toppings of choice.

 


Korean Lettuce Wraps with Bitter Melon

Hello!

Are you wondering how to use your bitter melon? Well, I think I found the perfect recipe for carnivores and vegetarians alike. I was searching for a ground beef lettuce wrap recipe and found this one. The sweetness and spices in the recipe are just want you need to balance the bitterness in the melon. I made the recipe with ground beef but I am sure it would be equally as tasty if you substituted tofu. You can also make use of your Red Leaf lettuce in this recipe. I found the large, crunchy leaves worked great as wraps. We hope you enjoy it!

Korean Lettuce Wraps with Bitter Melon
makes enough for about 4 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bitter melon, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced 1/2″ thick on the bias
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 pound ground beef or firm tofu
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooked white rice for serving
  • Lettuce for serving

Directions:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the bitter melon, season with salt and pepper and cook until first side is browned, 5-7 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is brown and the melon is tender, another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Prepare the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, chili power and ginger together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Using the same non-stick pan, saute the beef over medium heat until cooked through. Alternatively, add a little oil to the pan, add the tofu, break it up into little pieces (follow this technique), and brown. Add the garlic, mix with beef/tofu to combine and cook for an additional minute. Add the sauce and simmer for a few minutes, or until the mixture has reduced slightly. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with rice and bitter melon in a large lettuce leaf.