Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vegan Chicken Lettuce Wraps & How We Survived The Heat Dome...

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2 years ago today, I married my best friend. Now this might seem like a pretty obvious and trite way to describe a wedding, but it fits. I mean it wasn't like the old-school wedding days, where life as we had known it changed forever. My parents didn't hand me over in exchange for a few cows, and Dan didn't lift my veil with crossed fingers. Our lives slowly began to intertwine long before we ever even kissed. We'd been building a life together for years before I ever put on that off-white dress, and our course didn't really change much from the day we decided to be more than friends in the first place. In fact, the life we had already begun to build together just got a little better... we just dressed up, ate a bunch of cupcakes, and made it legal, is all.

Over the weekend in New York City, numerous same-sex couples (and some not-so-same-sex) finally got to make it legal too. Now, I know a lot of you like to read inside bits about our relationship rather than here me talk about politics. I mean, I get at least 20 emails a week asking about what we fight about and how we move past those bloody battles. But if we were all sitting down to dinner tonight, talking about how proud we are to live in a progressive state would come up. We might also talk about the Pompeii exhibit we saw over the weekend and some thoughts we had about the new Captain America movie... which was freaking incredible*.

And if you were visiting last weekend, we would have have eaten these lettuce wraps that require very little cooking and eased our suffering considerably. See, we were trapped last weekend in The Heat Dome. Now if you're wondering if that is worse than the Thunderdome... it seriously is. We're not big on air conditioning, so a Heat Dome is pretty much a nightmare. Now you would think we were used to heat after years in Virginia. Back then the sadistic humidity gave us an excuse to drive to the beach. On nights when we were feeling kinda fancy-ish, we'd stop by P.F.Chang's on the way back. Their vegan lettuce wrap appetizers are pretty spectacular and always went perfectly with sun burnt shoulders and large lemonades. We made ours with Gardein Crispy Tenders and enjoyed them with some beers from Brooklyn's Sixpoint Brewery**, a game of Civilization, and a giant fan.

And that I guess is why, on the 2nd anniversary of our wedding, we are posting this delicious recipe that helped us do more than just survive the Heat Dome... it was a tiny reminder of how we're not just making it through our lives together. We are, as my husband so eloquently put it, "Living in the Awesome!"

Let us eat lettuce wraps and be awesome! Awesome for all!

Vegan Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • 1 Package Gardein Vegan Chicken Crispy Tenders ( defrosted - you can also use your favorite Vegan Chicken but I recommend using one that is breaded so you can get little crunchy bits of breading)
  • 1 Can Water Chestnuts (sliced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw Almonds (sliced)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Braggs
  • Olive or Peanut Oil Cooking Spray
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Fresh Ginger (minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce (be sure and read your labels to make sure it doesn't have fish or oyster sauce in it. You might want to save some extra to dip your wraps in - if that's your thing)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 2 teaspoon Agave Nectar
  • 3 Celery Stalks (chopped)
  • 1/2 Cup Carrots (shredded)
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro (diced)
  • 1/2 a head of Iceberg or a whole head of Bibb Lettuce (we had to used iceberg because we couldn't find any good heads of Bibb around but we recommend going Bibb if you can)
Spray your new BFF wok with Cooking Spray and heat at a high heat. Once your oil is hot, toss in defrosted Vegan Chicken. Begin to cook your Vegan Chicken while flipping occasionally. Once the breading begins to get crispy, add Water Chestnuts, 1 1/2 teaspoon of Ginger, Almonds, Braggs and Garlic. Reduce heat to a medium. Don't worry if the breading begins to come off your Vegan Chicken. It will become little crunchy bits in the mix. Continue to stir fry your Vegan Chicken and other ingredients until the Vegan Chicken gets a nice golden brown color and the Water Chestnuts are tender crisp. Then dump your mix into a large bowl and set it aside to cool.

In another large bowl, mix 1 teaspoon Ginger, Lime Juice, Agave Nectar and Teriyaki Sauce with a whisk. Then add Celery, Carrots and Cilantro and toss. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to marinate a little. While your vegetables are marinating, dump your Vegan Chicken mix onto a cutting board and lightly chop into large chunks. Then scrap your Vegan Chicken Mix into the Vegetable Mix and toss.

Serve with fresh Lettuce leaves and some napkins... it can be messy. You're going to be spooning the Vegan Chicken and Vegetable Mix into the Lettuce leaves and then folding the leaves over like little tacos... but be careful... Lettuce isn't as durable a good tortilla. You're going to have to pace yourself and not overload your leaves or you'll end up with a handful of awesome instead of a face.

I guess this is another reason to share this with someone who loves you... if things get messy... well, you can focus on stuffing your face instead of your table manners.

* Expect more about that later. I mean you knew it was coming. Don't act all shocked.

** Go local or go home - right?


  1. Do you know where to buy Gardein products in bulk? Congrats on your second anniversary! My partner and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary.

  2. Thank you and congrats to you! I wish I could help you with the buying Gardein in bulk question. We're still buying by the bag. If you do find a lead on that though - please share! :)

  3. This looks delicious, sounds delicious and is going to be in my future. (I think some Sam's and/or Costco's carry large bags of Gardein) -- and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! I'm going on 26 years.

  4. Ohh.... This looks like a keeper recipe. I'll have to try this on my hubby! :)

    Happy Anniversary!

  5. some Costco's had 40 piece bags available a few months back... i only get to go when my roommate does so i'm not sure what the current status is but you could always call your local one and ask. also for anyone in L.A. figeroua produce sells match meats by the lb which is kinda the next best thing... maybe also check with your local whole foods manager as they offer discounts for when you buy " by the case" and maybe you can get a case of gardien meats at a discount.

  6. BJ's Wholesale sells a 2lb bag for $7.99

  7. Love this post! Can't believe you got hate mail on this one...ugh!

  8. Just had an idea from Good Eats Noodle episode, AB used a rice wrapper to seal everything in, then blanketed it in a lettuce leaf. Keeps everything in!