Tonight's recipe was really intriguing to me when I came across it. I had never seen a taco style meal wrapped with lettuce leaves instead of the traditional tortilla or taco shell. And wouldn't you know, I've come across numerous lettuce-wrapped taco-type recipes ever since! I took this recipe from All You magazine's September 2009 edition. I tried to stay as close as possible to the original recipe with just a couple minor editions based on what we had on-hand.
1 lb romaine or green-leaf lettuce, or fresh spinach, separated into individual leaves (I used iceberg lettuce)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, shredded
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup minced fresh cucumber or tomato (omitted; I thought I'd have a ripe cuke or tomato from the garden but it didn't happen)
4 cups cooked lean ground beef (I used 1 lb ground beef)
1/4 cup fish sauce or soy sauce (used soy sauce)
1-2 cups leftover cooked rice, optional (I made rice but served it on the side)
salt and pepper
Wash greens, shaking off water. Set aside in a colander. (Cut heavy stems from spinach.) Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables and saute' until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add beef and fish sauce or soy sauce. Add rice, if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for a few more minutes, stirring, until ingredients are well mixed. Wrap lettuce or spinach leaves around several tablespoons of meat mixture and serve.
If freezing: Cook vegetables and ground beef as directed above. Place in freezer bag; thaw 24 hours in fridge. Heat vegetable/ground beef mixture in microwave or saucepan then serve on lettuce leaves. I would suggest leaving the tomato and cucumber out until serving day. I had intended adding a little chopped tomato, but didn't have any that were ripe enough, and I'm not brave enough to try green tomatoes just yet (still learning to appreciate the red ones!). :)
So the verdict? Well....it was okay. A little bland. Okay, a lot bland. It smelled great, especially when this evening when I was heating it up. But the taste was lacking. I don't think that I'll be making it again, at least not this version. I'm a full-flavor kind of person, and I want flavors that will knock me upside the head, not make me come hunting for them. lol It was definitely a healthy meal. Hubs called this recipe Rabbit Tacos. I'll just have to find another version that will look a little more promising.
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