I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a couple of weeks. I’m not sure why; I guess I just had other recipes to share with you. But when deciding what to post today, I found this again and went, “Bingo!”
I’ve proclaimed my love for all types of Asian foods on this blog many times, and I’d been meaning to cook something like this for quite a while but always hesitated because, well, Beloved and The Young One enjoy Asian food but don’t love it to the extent I do. They’d rather have meatloaf.
But one day recently, I was staring at a pound of ground pork and a head of beautiful butter lettuce and thought, “What the heck.”
The second most interesting thing about this dish is that I had no plan; I just started cooking. Some red cabbage in the fridge? Check. Carrots? Check. Sesame oil and gluten-free tamari? Check. Oh, and hey – what about a dipping sauce. Something spicy and Thai-inspired perhaps? Yes, indeed.
The most interesting – and surprising, if I’m honest – is how much The Young One and Beloved liked this. I expected to have some left over, but nope – every last bit of it was gone. Beloved even looked sad once the last of it was eaten (by him, coincidentally).
I’d call that a success.
Now, about that dipping sauce – it’s basically a peanut sauce (usually served with satay), and you can use peanut butter in it if you want to. If, however, you have a peanut allergy or are simply avoiding legumes all together, almond butter works quite well. It won’t be quite the same, but it will still be darn delicious.
You might also notice that this comes in at over 500 calories per serving. That is if you use all of the dipping sauce, which I can almost guarantee you won’t unless you decide to drink it (and I almost thought Beloved was going to). We had tons of it left over (and it was quite good with leftover chicken and drizzled over eggs).
I’m going to go ahead and put this in the “low carb” category since a lot of the carbohydrates are in the sauce and I don’t expect you’ll eat it all at once, and it’s fairly high in fiber due to the cabbage – nearly 5 grams. And, as always, if you don’t eat pork, this would be lovely with ground chicken thighs.
- 12 leaves Bibb or butter lettuce
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1/2 can coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, whisking often; take care not to let it scorch on the bottom.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool as you cook the pork.
- While the dipping sauce is cooling, brown the pork with the garlic in a skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tamari and sesame oil; taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the cabbage and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables are tender, but still crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Divide the lettuce leaves between four plates and fill with the pork mixture. Serve with the dipping sauce.
- Nutrition (per serving): 587 calories, 48.3g total fat, 81.7mg cholesterol, 644.2mg sodium, 850.1mg potassium, 15.9g carbohydrates, 4.6g fiber, 6.9g sugar, 26.1g protein.