Asian Mushroom Lettuce Wraps (V, GF, soy-free)

Asian mushroom lettuce wraps are the perfect start to an Asian-themed meal or any plant-based gathering. I brought these to a potluck last week held in honor of a friend visiting from Asheville. By the end of dinner, all that was left was one lonely lettuce leaf!

I wanted to make these lettuce wraps healthier than the restaurant variety, so added more vegetables, and left out the soy, sugar, and gluten! Instead of soy sauce or tamari I used Coco Aminos (I like the Big Tree Farms brand) which is naturally sweet and savory. If you like your filling a little sweeter, you can always add a dash of maple syrup or agave, but you probably won’t need to.

 

Asian Mushroom Lettuce Wraps (V, GF)
 
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This recipes is a vegan, gluten-free version of Chicken Lettuce Wraps served at Asian restaurants.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian, Vegetarian
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons untoasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup leek, spring onion, or sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 3 cups mushrooms (crimini, shiitake, and/or oyster), thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, small dice
  • 1 cup zucchini, small dice
  • ½ cup water chestnuts or celery, finely chopped or sliced
  • ½ cup bamboo shoots, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1½ teaspoons brown rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (Big Tree Farm brand recommended)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 head green or red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, or Romaine lettuce
Instructions
  1. Heat large skillet or wok on medium-high heat. Make sure all ingredients are prepped so they can be added to the pan quickly. Add sesame oil and swirl to coat pan.
  2. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for about a minute. Reduce heat a bit to prevent burning.
  3. Add carrots, zucchini, and another pinch of salt and sauté a few minutes more.
  4. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are cooked through.
  5. Add water chestnuts and bamboo shoots.
  6. Season with brown rice vinegar, coconut aminos, and sea salt (to taste).
  7. Put mushroom filling into a serving bowl in the middle of a large plate or platter. Garnish with cilantro and green onion. Place lettuce leaves around the bowl or on a separate plate. To serve, take a lettuce leaf, place a spoonful or two of mushroom filling onto the leaf, and eat like a taco.
Variations
  1. For a heartier appetizer or main dish, add ½ lb. cooked chicken thigh cut into bite-sized pieces. Adjust seasonings.

 

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Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds

Guacamole is one of my favorite dips of all time. There are so many versions of guacamole out there, but regardless of your recipe, the most important thing is that you use perfectly ripe avocados (not too hard, not too soft, and not bruised) so that your dip is creamy, bright green, and fresh tasting. The way I ensure perfect avocados is to buy large avocados when they are mostly green at least a week in advance. Ripen at room temperature until black on the outside and then refrigerate (so they don’t become too ripe) until ready to use.

Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds is my favorite way to serve guacamole during the holiday season, because pomegranates are abundant, the flavors go well together, and the colors are perfect for the holiday table. Take this dip to your next holiday gathering to go with tortilla chips, tamales, or vegetable crudité.

Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados, ripe
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons umeboshi (ume plum) vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • ½ serrano pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits and any bruises, and scoop flesh into a bowl. Mash with a fork until it is a chunky consitency (do not overblend).
  2. Gently mix in other ingredients.
  3. Adjust sea salt to taste.
  4. Put guacamole into serving bowl.
  5. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Note
  1. Umeboshi vinegar goes really well with avocado owing to its salty and sour tastes. However, if you don't have any, you can use more lime juice and sea salt in place of the umeboshi vinegar.

We’ll be making this at my upcoming Holiday Tamales Workshop in Austin this weekend. More photos to come!

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photo of guacamole with pomegranate

Coconut Mango Ceviche

This vegan and raw appetizer is inspired by Caribbean flavors– fresh coconut, mango, and lime! You can find Thai Young Coconuts at Whole Foods Market. Ask a produce person to cut it open for you. Drink the coconut water and then scoop out the coconut meat with a spoon.

Try serving the ceviche with tortilla chips or tostadas and serve as fresh as possible, within 1-2 days. Recipe contributed by Cynthia Chea Pean, Chef at The Springs Raw and Living Foods restaurant in Los Angeles. Cynthia makes wonderfully tasty food with very creative and beautiful presentations. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see what she is up to!

Coconut Mango Ceviche
 
Author:
Recipe type: Apptetizer
Cuisine: Caribbean
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh coconut, thinly sliced (1/4 inch)
  • 1 cup fresh ripe mango, thinly sliced (1/4 inch)
  • 1 cup abalone mushrooms roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup mint, chiffonade
  • ½ cup cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 fresno chili pepper, thinly sliced - best to use a mandolin
  • 1 habanero, minced (optional)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
"Leche de Tigre" (Ceviche Liquid)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar
Instructions
  1. Roughly chop abalone mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and massage until the mushrooms break down and begin to change texture. Double rinse the mushrooms and set aside. Combine the coconut, mango, mint, cucumber and peppers in a bowl and mix until well incorporated.
  2. Whisk together coconut milk, lime juice, salt, and agave nectar to make the "Leche de Tigre."
  3. Add "Leche de Tigre" to salad and toss until it is well incorporated.
  4. For an elegant presentation, press salad gently into a ramekin, invert onto serving plate, and top with sliced avocado.
  5. Serve immediately.

 

Healthy and Delicious Spring Rolls

Mmm… what could be more refreshing on a warm day than a light veggie spring roll with a tasty Almond Butter Dipping Sauce?
Spring rolls are best eaten right away, as they can either dry out or tear if refrigerated for more than a few hours.
Save extra filling ingredients and store in a glass container in the refrigerator to make more fresh rolls the next day.
This particular recipe is dedicated to my friend Lindy who was kind enough to give me an authentic Vietnamese spring
roll making lesson many years ago. She likes to make them full of spring mix and fresh herbs, like the ones I made below,
rather than the ones you often find at restaurants that are full of noodles and little specs of veggies.

Healthy and Delicious Spring Rolls
 
A fresh and light spring roll filled with vegetables. Quick to make, yet filling and delicious. For a variation, try adding a layer of chickpea hummus, pan-fried tofu, a ¼-sheet of toasted nori, or sautéed shiitake mushrooms over the basil and cucumbers for a heartier spring roll.
Author:
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces rice noodles or mung bean noodles
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 cups spring mix
  • ¼ cup organic fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup organic fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup organic fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin, wide strips
  • round rice paper spring roll wrappers
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add noodles to boiling water and turn off heat. Let sit for a few minutes until noodles are soft, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Lay all ingredients out for assembly; noodles, carrots, cucumbers spring mix, herbs, avocado slices, and spring roll wrappers.
  3. Prepare a large bowl or plate with warm water. Water does not need to be hot but warm enough to soften rice paper and the bowl wide enough to fit a sheet of rice paper
  4. Take one sheet of rice paper and soak it in warm water until it is pliable, about 10 seconds. Spread the wrapper on a large plate or other clean surface. Work quickly so rice paper does not fall apart.
  5. Place a large basil leaf vertically with 3 cucumber slices to the right of it (stacked vertically) in the middle of the spring roll wrapper. Place a layer of avocado, noodles, carrots. Sprinkle with spring mix and cilantro and/or mint leaves, making sure that 1 inch of rice paper remains visible on the edge closest to you and on either side of the ingredients. Be sure not to overfill spring roll.
  6. To wrap, bring up the lower lip of the rice wrapper and wrap around the ingredients, tightening slightly as you tuck and roll the wrapper. Fold in the sides to enclose the filling then continue rolling the wrapper. The rice paper will seal itself. Set aside to rest with space in between rolls.
  7. Continue wrapping spring rolls until all ingredients are used up.
  8. Serve with a dipping sauce such as spicy peanut or almond butter sauce or basil pesto.

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Rainbow Veggie Platter with Parsley-Tahini Sauce

blanched salad, rainbow veggie platter

This time of summer can be the hardest time to get inspired to cook. Here’s an idea for a highly nutritious veggie platter in rainbow colors that is fresh and light. It is simple enough to serve for a casual lunch with children, but could also serve as a beautiful appetizer for a party.

Kids love to dip the veggies into a sauce or hummus that you can put in a bowl in the middle of the vegetables. Here we used red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower florets, collard greens and stems, and a parsley-tahini sauce. In macrobiotic cooking, this is called a “blanched salad,” which is comprised of a root vegetable (carrots), round vegetable (cabbage, cauliflower), and a leafy green vegetable (collard greens). The vegetables should be fresh, vibrant, and crisp– very different from steamed or boiled vegetables.

Rainbow Veggie Platter with Parsley-Tahini Sauce
 
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Delicious, colorful, and healthy summer appetizer.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Vegetables
  • 2 large carrots, cut into sticks
  • 1 bunch collard greens, stems in rounds, leaves in strips
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ head red cabbage, cut into strips
Parsley Tahini Sauce
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ½ cup spring or filtered water
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoons organic umeboshi vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon shoyu or tamari
  • 2 tablepoons parsley leaves, chopped finely
Instructions
Vegetable Platter
  1. Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. The bigger the pot, the more boiling water to cook your veggies very quickly (in seconds).
  2. Dip vegetables into boiling water, starting with carrots, then collards, then cauliflower, then red cabbage. Blanch a handful at a time, and remove after a few seconds with a metal skimmer onto a big plate or platter to cool. Keep vegetables separate so that you can arrange them after they have cooled. Make sure pot comes back up to a boil before adding the next handful.
  3. Arrange the cooled vegetables on a platter with a dipping sauce.
Parsley-tahini sauce
  1. Whisk ingredients together in medium-sized bowl. Add more water if you’d like the sauce to be a little thinner.