The flavors of Thai cooking are some of my favorite to use in the kitchen, especially in the summertime. Ginger, lemongrass, lime, chilis and fish sauce can be added to just about anything and I'm going to love it. These lettuce wraps give you the awesome flavors of Thai cooking in an easy to prepare form. These are perfect for an appetizer to a Thai-inspired feast or for a summer potluck. They come together quickly and are a total crowd-pleaser, especially for the gluten-free folks you may be serving.
I used wild-caught shrimp, but you could really use any meat or seafood you like in these if you don't have good shrimp available or you have an allergy. Shrimp are wonderful because they are a source of selenium and iodine to support thyroid health, as well as the super antioxidant astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is anti-inflammatory and has been linked to improvement in eye health, heart health, immune boosting and even increased energy. This is where shrimp, and other foods like salmon, get that characteristic pink color. The pigmentation astaxanthin provides isn't easy to come by in many foods, so including shrimp, salmon, crab and lobster regularly is important. Plus, shrimp are a good source of cholesterol, needed for healthy hormone production and modulating inflammation. To make preparation much easier, I used precooked and peeled small pink shrimp that were wild-caught, but you could cook the shrimp yourself, especially if you have a fresh, local source.
A note on buying your shrimp: look for wild caught in the US. Check the label for "Northwest caught" or "bay shrimp" if you can't get totally wild caught. Avoid wild or farmed fish that is imported, as there are questionable fishing practices done in other parts of the world for catching shrimp that are not good for the environment. The shrimp may be caught in highly polluted and contaminated waters, which could be passed on to the consumer, so these should be avoided. Look for shrimp from the Oregon coast or other sustainably caught source if you can. Since I live in a landlocked area, I am sure to read labels and check sources, as I can't just go to a fish market.
If you want to get ahead of the game, you could make the filling for these one day ahead of time and the filling 2-3 days before serving. Also, if you are paleo or nut-free, you can make the dipping sauce with sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter with equally delicious results. I have done this before and it comes out seriously tasty, so someone with a peanut allergy would love you for bringing that variation to your next potluck.
Thai-Style Shrimp Wraps with Peanut Sauce
1 lb wild caught pink shrimp, cooked and peeled
1 Tbs fish sauce--I used Red Boat brand, it is the best!
1/2 Tbs soy sauce or coconut aminos for soy-free
1 Tbs green curry paste
1 Tbs raw honey
1/4 cup lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp--or to taste--chili flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2" ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
Optional: 6 kaffir lime leaves, minced
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients, except the shrimp, until well combined. Add in the shrimp and stir to coat. Refrigerate about 1 hour before serving.
1 recipe Peanut Sauce (below)
12 leaves romaine or butter lettuce
2 carrots, grated
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
Extra lime for garnish
Place a small scoop of shrimp filling into each lettuce leaf. Top with prepared veggies and squeeze extra lime on top. Serve drizzled with sauce or place the sauce in a dish on the side for dipping. Serve with extra lime wedges and Sriracha sauce on the side for garnish. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Thai Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter ( or sunflower seed butter for peanut-free/paleo)
2 cloves garlic
1/2" ginger, chopped
2 Tbs fish sauce
1Tbs soy sauce or coconut aminos
2 Tbs coconut sugar
1 tsp chili flakes--or to taste
2 Tbs lime juice
1/4 cup water
1 Tbs cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs scallions, sliced
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a sauce pan and let come to a simmer. Turn to low and let cook 8-10 minutes until it has thickened and becomes slightly darker in color.
If it becomes too thick, simply whisk in water a few tablespoons at a time to reach desired consistency. This is really to your preference, so add water as needed.
If making ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to use. When serving, you can serve it chilled or warm up before serving.
If you make a double batch of sauce, this goes great on buckwheat soba noodles, fried rice, or veggie-filled spring rolls, which I highly recommend.
Brine & Broth
I am a gut health-focused nutritionist and online health coach based in Southwest Wisconsin. My recipes and philosophies center around traditional, nutrient-dense foods that support robust gut health.