Fast, fresh and flavorful, these Asian beef and lettuce wraps should be a must-have on your dinner table. They have a combination of a sweet meaty mixture with crunchy bok choy and cashews served over rice and wrapped up in a crisp lettuce leaf. I'm so glad my brain dreamed these up.
Recipe by Meal Planning 101
1 lb lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, chopped with whites and greens separated
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce (I recommend Asian Family)
1/2 cup water*
1/2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews
Butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce, separated into leaf cups
Prepare your rice according to package directions.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, brown the beef about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, whites of onions, salt and pepper and saute until mushrooms are browned about 4-6 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add the hoisin sauce, water and bok choy. Stir to combine and simmer until the sauce thickens and the bok choy gets tender about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
While the beef mixture is simmering, place the raw cashews in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat. Watch them carefully and toss them around until they turn a nice golden color on the outside. Remove from pan to a cutting board. Let cool for a few minutes then chop coarsely with a sharp knife.
Stir the cashews and green part of onion into the beef mixture. Serve with lettuce cups and rice. You could spoon both rice and cashew-beef mixture into the lettuce cups and eat, or just the beef mixture and eat the rice separately. It's up to you, but in my humble opinion, it's ALL delicious.
*Adjust the amount of water you use depending on the thickness of your hoisin sauce. Mine is REALLY thick.
Click here for printable version of Hoisin Cashew Beef in Lettuce Cups
I'm pretty sure my husband moaned when he ate this. We all (kids included) LOVED this dish and after eating it only once I think it just pushed its way to the top of our family favorites list. The bok choy and cashews provide nice crunch to the sweet, meaty mixture. The lettuce wraps are fresh and lovely, but I could just as easily eat this just over rice and be completely satisfied.
I'm sure I've mentioned before what a Hoisin Sauce snob I am. I find that most brands have a strong Chinese 5 spice flavor that I really don't dig. Cinnamon, cloves and anise (licorice) are not my thing when it comes to savory food. With that being said, I will drive across the city to find a bottle of Asian Kitchen Hoisin Sauce. It is rich, thick and sticky sweet with no 5-spice flavor. Safeway carries this brand, as does Walmart (sometimes). Use whatever brand of hoisin is your favorite, but adjust the amount of water you use based on how thick your sauce is. Mine is so thick it's like a paste.