Quick Dish: Asian fusion treats

Ground turkey lettuce wraps are a fast and easy alternative to standard tacos or spaghetti.|

Editor’s note: Quick Dish is a new weekly column that will feature easy recipes adapted for Sonoma County palates. It is written by Santa Rosa-based food and travel writer Jessie Fetterling.

Fusion food is on the rise in California, as chefs combine local California ingredients with various international cuisines. These combinations make it easy for Sonoma County cooks to bring creative dishes to their own kitchens - in less than 30 minutes.

Ground turkey lettuce wraps can be made using traditional Asian sauces and local California turkey, garlic, lettuce and carrots. They are a fast and easy option on par with the typical taco or spaghetti recipes, but they give you an alternate way to use ground meats or tofu. Not only do they add a flavorful punch to the workweek dinner schedule, they are also very low in carbs, especially when paired with Brussels sprouts.

This lettuce wrap recipe is also ideal for lunches or late-night meals because the filling can be made ahead of time. Just refrigerate it, and heat it up when you’re ready to eat. When packing them for lunch, however, make sure to store the lettuce leaves separately because they can wilt easily.

Pairing the lettuce wraps and Brussels sprouts together, these two recipes bring a fusion-food treat to the dinner table. These recipes use regular soy sauce, but that can be replaced with low-sodium soy sauce for a more heart-healthy choice.

The ground turkey lettuce wrap recipe can be used with other ground meats such as chicken, pork or beef and even tofu. Other ingredients such as peppers, bean sprouts and water chestnuts can also be added as garnish. Try different ingredients based on your preference. Have fun experimenting, and happy cooking.

Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4

Total time: 25 minutes

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 pound ground turkey

2 large garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press or minced

1 carrot, chopped

1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced ginger

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon chili paste (or more to taste)

- Freshly ground black pepper

1 head butter lettuce

2 green onions, sliced

Heat sesame oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey, and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.

Add garlic, carrot, onion and ginger to the ground turkey, and cook until onion is translucent. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and hoisin sauce. Add chili paste and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Rinse lettuce leaves and pat dry. Spoon several tablespoons of the turkey mixture into the center of the lettuce leaf, taco-style. Add the green onions last for extra flavor. (Make sure not to overstuff the lettuce leaves, as they break easily while eating.)


Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4

Total time: 25 minutes

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts (about 20 to 30 sprouts), trimmed and halved

2 tablespoons butter

3 teaspoons soy sauce

Add the Brussels sprouts to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until bright green and just tender (about 5 to 6 minutes). Drain, run under cold water and set aside.

In the same large pot, melt the butter. Put the sprouts back into the pot and drizzle them with soy sauce. Toss to coat, cover and simmer on a low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes or until cooked completely through.

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