SMAM 1/2: Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Vinaigrette

January 20, 2011

Reason I am a Goddess #167: A few days before a family trip, in anticipation of post-travel fatigue and harried nerves, I make a nourishing, healthful pot of soup or pan of lasagna, which will greet us, like a most welcome friend, in the freezer upon our return.

*coughhackhowl*  Yeah, right.

Not only is that something I never do, I don’t even want to know a person who does that. I’m pretty sure people like that have secret, little hairy tails and immaculately organized laundry rooms.

In truth, there are few things more pathetic than the inside of my refrigerator post-vacation.  I am one of those freaks who feels compelled to purge all items from my fridge prior to leaving, unless it’s a condiment.  This is an act of self-preservation: I can’t face both a mountain of stinky laundry and a slimy crisper drawer.  The laundry is insult enough.

The only thing more agonizing than post-vacation laundry?  The maiden voyage to the Kroeger to stock said pathetic icebox.  Am I the only one who loses her vacation buzz the minute those automatic doors whoosh open?

Bitter and persimmon-lipped, I haul my sulky butt through the aisles, tossing in any random item in my line of vision. Because girls with post-vacation buzzkill don’t make grocery lists.

200 bucks later, I shlep home, deposit my bounty in the refrigerator and realize that I’ve purchased nothing even resembling a meal. Clementines, Cheetos and parsley, anyone?

Desperate times like this call for a little Dinner Voodoo Magic.  My viola! solution: deli rotisserie chicken.  I can’t tell you how many times those spit-fired twirly birds have saved me when I’m out of dinner mojo.

As I often do when pulling dinner out of my ass making dinner on the fly, I turn to Asian flavors. I know my pantry will have a few snazzy treats in it– a benefit of being The Condiment Whore.

In the time it takes to steam some rice, I can whip up a vinaigrette, shred that twirly bird, chop some veggies and call it done.  You know, because I can’t wait to tackle that laundry.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Vinaigrette

serves 4

1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, white meat removed (skinned); reserve dark meat for another use

1 English or hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced

1 cup shredded carrot

1/3 cup sweet onion, very thinly sliced

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1-2 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly, seeds removed if desired

Large green, red or romaine lettuce leaves, washed and spun dry

1/2 cup fresh mint and or/basil leaves, washed and spun dry

1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts or almonds

Hot cooked rice (brown if you are really going Paltrow on SMAM)


1/3 cup rice vinegar

4 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1-2 teaspoons Sriracha or other spicy chili sauce (use 1 if you fear the heat)

1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Combine vinaigrette ingredients ( 1/4 cup rice vinegar through sesame seeds) and whisk well; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar and honey. Add jalapeno, if desired. Toss sliced cucumbers, carrots and thinly sliced onion with honey/vinegar mixture. Set aside and let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Shred skinless chicken breast into bite sized pieces and toss with half of vinaigrette, adding more if necessary or to taste. Set aside the remaining dressing to drizzle over the top of the lettuce wraps.


Arrange lettuce leaves on a large platter with fresh mint and/or basil. Diners take a lettuce leaf, top it with a sprig or two of mint/basil, a dollop of rice, a generous spoonful of chicken,  a few slivers of carrot/cucumber/onion mixture, and a sprinkle of chopped nuts and/or slices of jalapeno ( if desired.) Roll lettuce up, burrito-style, and enjoy.

**I don’t have a specific calorie count for this recipe, but trust me, it’s good for a post-vacation butt any time–you can eat this and smile.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

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