There are days, and sometimes weeks, when innovation in the kitchen eludes me. I try to prepare a meal plan every week (When they’re more organized, you see them posted here on the blog. This week was not one of those “more organized” weeks. There’s still a plan, but it’s rather basic.), but sometimes, I can’t think much beyond the same staples that reappear week after week – salad with grilled chicken, or meat+sweet potato+veggie. While I love the simplicity of those meals (I can do those on auto-pilot, which is wonderful after a long day at work), I don’t experience that joy in the kitchen that comes from freeing myself from the norm and really getting creative with ingredients. So last week, when I was working on the menu once again, I paused.
Must come up with something different.
Then I glanced at the grocery store ads, and saw that shrimp was on sale. Love shrimp. It’s fast, lean, and so tasty – perfect for a weeknight meal. But what to do with it?
We love lettuce wraps here in the Tasty Eats At Home household. Often I make a gluten-free version of these lettuce wraps (using gluten-free soy sauce and simply omitting the oyster sauce), and I use not only ground pork, but sometimes I’ll use ground turkey, chicken, beef, or even game meats, like ground antelope, to change things up a bit. But last week, I thought I should look at our lettuce wraps with fresh eyes. With shrimp, they would be something new. I also thought a summer-y, almost tropical flair would be a perfect change of pace. Hence, these wraps were born.
These wraps are light and bright, topped with a fresh slaw of jicama, carrots, and cabbage, but the hint of chipotle is enough to give the flavors balance, interest, and substance. Both my husband and I truly loved the coconut flakes, though. They really added that unique tropical flavor without being overwhelming. (It doesn’t hurt that we both love coconut – I’m a coconut fiend!) Surprisingly, with the slaw, shrimp, and lettuce stored in separate containers, these wraps were even pretty tasty for lunch the following day. These are definitely a new item to include in the regular menu rotation!
Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Jicama Slaw
1 T coconut oil
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T chopped green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t chipotle chile powder
salt and pepper to taste
Romaine lettuce leaves, separated
2 T toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
Jicama slaw (recipe below)
Heat oil in a large skillet to medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, toss shrimp with green onion, garlic, chipotle chile powder, salt, and pepper. When the oil is shimmering, add shrimp to pan and spread out in a single layer. Allow to brown for a minute or two, then stir to flip shrimp to the other side to finish browning, 3-4 minutes more, depending on the size of your shrimp. Shrimp will be cooked through when it turns pink. This happens fairly quickly, so don’t go too far! Remove from heat.
Fill lettuce leaves with shrimp, then top with a bit of coconut and jicama slaw. (This is also fun when you serve each component separately at the table, and allow your diners to build their own lettuce wraps.) Serves 3-4.
2 c very thinly sliced red cabbage
1 1/2 c shredded jicama (I just used the shredder on my food processor)
3 carrots, peeled and shredded (I just used the shredder on my food processor)
2 T chopped green onion
2 T chopped fresh parsley (cilantro would also be good here)
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 orange
1 t chipotle chile powder
1 t honey
salt to taste
Add cabbage, jicama, carrots, green onion, and parsley in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lime and orange juices, chipotle chile powder, honey, and a bit of salt. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss until everything is well-coated. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Can be made an hour or two in advance – chill until ready.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.