Asian Lettuce Cups with Almond Green Beans (Paleo, Whole30)

These lettuce cups are a knock-off of the super-popular P.F. Chang’s appetizer, and I think the reasons to love them are obvious. But just in case, let me elaborate: You eat them with your hands. The cool lettuce contrasts with the warm, succulent chicken. The sauce is sticky and savory and sweet and then—pow!—there’s the crisp snap of water chestnuts.

Asian Lettuce Cups with Almond Green Beans

Serves 2–4 | Total time: 35–40 minutes | Whole30 compliant

Green Beans:
  • 1 pound green beans

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger

  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot powder

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 (5-ounce) package sliced shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken

  • 1 (8-ounce) can diced water chestnuts

  • 6 scallions

  • 2 heads Bibb or butter lettuce


Cook the green beans. Wash and trim the green beans. Place 1⁄2 cup water in a large, nonstick skillet and bring it to a boil. Add the green beans to the pan, cover, and steam until tender, 3–4 minutes. While the green beans cook, make the sauce.


Prep the sauce. Peel and crush the garlic and place in a pint-size Mason jar. Peel and grate the ginger and add it to the jar. Place the remaining ingredients in the jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shake it like it’s Saturday night on the dance floor.


Finish the beans. Peel and crush the garlic and place in a medium mixing bowl with the oil and almonds. Drain the green beans and add them to the bowl, toss to coat in the oil, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.


Cook the chicken. In the same pan you used for the beans, heat the oil over medium-high heat, 2 minutes. Peel and crush the garlic and add it to the pan; cook it until it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook them until they’re wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the ground chicken to the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. You want small crumbles. When the chicken is beginning to change from pink to beige, add the water chestnuts and the sauce; stir-fry until the sauce clings to the chicken, 3–5 minutes. While the chicken cooks, wash the lettuce and separate the leaves. Slice the scallions and add them to the skillet, stir-fry another minute and remove the pan from the heat.


To serve, spoon the chicken into the lettuce leaf cups and place them on individual serving plates alongside piles of the green beans.

Cookup Tips

Steam the green beans and make the sauce in advance. Store the beans and sauce in separate airtight containers in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, stir-fry the beans in the oil with garlic and almonds, then cook the chicken according to the directions.

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