Asian Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
Easy dinners and lunches are probably one of the most popular searches for food. The truth is, really good food takes some time. It just depends on where you spend the time: prep on Sunday, chopping that night, or waiting for it to cook. Maybe you always have one specific answer or it varies every week. This recipe takes a little prep time but it’s as good leftover as fresh which is hard to find.
One of our favorite restaurants in Charleston is this tiny little out of the way place that puts out amazing food. One of the owners was inspired by her own travels in the middle east and changes the menu every season to reflect local ingredients. We tend to visit enough to get through the small menu before they change it again. It seems the staff is well taken care of and the food is so consistent that it will always be our default. A quinoa lettuce wrap was added to the menu over the summer and it took a couple visits before we finally ordered it. Surprisingly it was cold but so addictingly delicious, I made my own version. I’m hesitant to even say the name because we want to keep it as our own little happy place but if you’ve been reading this long, I guess you can be included in our belief that Jack of Cups is the best kept secret in the Charleston area. Message me if you come to town and I will join you for dinner. That isn’t a joke. Please, give me an excuse to go.
If you are under the belief that quinoa isn’t for you, please, try it again. My husband was convinced he didn’t like it but thanks to a quinoa bake recipe from my favorite blogger, he was won over. Make this recipe in advance for lunch or include diced steak for a heartier dinner. It could also be a great appetizer! This can be served cold, room temperature, or warm. I recommend getting butter lettuce for a wrap but many times I just eat the quinoa with a fork and don’t even bother to wrap it.
Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
1 cup multi-colored quinoa
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 poblano, roasted
1/8 cup chopped green onion
1 medium shallot, diced
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 TBS soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 TBS tomato paste
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 oz crumbled feta
Optional: 1/2 pound strip or sirloin steak, thinly sliced and then diced (you’ll want to blend the meat in with the quinoa, so be sure to cut it tiny)
Cook 1 cup quinoa with 1 1/2 cups broth for about 15 minutes (bring to a boil and then turn down to low)
Roast poblano on broil while quinoa cooks. Broil for 10 minutes, flip the pepper and cook an additional 5-10 minutes or until it is blistered all over. Put into a sealed container to rest.
Cut green onion and shallot
Heat 1/2 TBS Olive oil in a sauté pan over med-high heat.
Add shallots and cook until crispy. (3-5 minutes) Set a side
In a small pan, whisk the sauce ingredients over medium heat until simmering: 3 TBS soy, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 TBS tomato paste
Add in 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and take off heat
Peel skin off poblano and chop.
Mix crispy shallot, poblano, quinoa, sauce, green onion and feta in a bowl
If using meat, cook quickly in pan with a little soy and ginger. Mix into quinoa
Serve warm with lettuce wraps or chill and eat later