Thai Larb Lettuce Cups
with mango and cucumber salsa
In Thailand, larb is the name for a super simple dish of finely chopped protein sauteed with a bit of seasoning and tossed with fresh herbs and lime juice. We've given this dish a Cook Smarts twist by adding quinoa and serving it in lettuce cups.
Smarts: As you can imagine, in Thailand this dish is usually very spicy, so don't hesitate to add extra red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you'd like to serve it that way.
- Quinoa, uncooked - 3/4 cup
- Stock, any type - 1 1/2 cups
- Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 3 Tbsp
- Fish sauce - 1 tsp
- Sugar - 1/4 tsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/2 tsp
- Mint, fresh - 6 leaves, finely chopped
- Cilantro - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
- Limes - 1, wedges
- Lettuce, butterhead - 12 leaves, sub iceberg
- Water - 1 Tbsp
- Cornstarch - 1 tsp
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Pork, ground - 1 lb
- Peanuts - 1/4 cup
- Hot sauce (opt) - for serving
- Cucumbers - 8 oz, diced
- Mangos - 2, diced
- Vinegar, rice - 1 tsp
- Quinoa - (Skip if made ahead for Monday.) Combine quinoa with stock in a saucepan. Add some salt. Bring to a boil covered. Lower heat, keep covered, and cook until liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make sauce - Chop garlic. Combine garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and red pepper flakes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Mint / Cilantro / Limes / Lettuce - Prep as directed. Combine mint and cilantro. Store limes and lettuce separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Cucumbers / Mangos - Prep as directed.
- Make slurry - Whisk together water and cornstarch.
- Combine cucumbers, mangos, and vinegar.
- Heat a wok or large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add pork and saute until nearly cooked through, ~5 minutes.
- Add sauce and bring to a simmer. When sauce is simmering, give cornstarch slurry a stir and add it to pork. Stir everything together and continue cooking until sauce thickens and pork is fully cooked.
- Remove pork from heat and stir in quinoa, mint, and cilantro. Squeeze half the lime wedges over top.
- Assemble lettuce cups by filling lettuce leaves with pork, peanuts, and hot sauce (if using). Squeeze extra lime wedges over top. Serve mango cucumber salsa on the side or spoon some onto lettuce cups if you’d like. Enjoy!
Love these0 Helpful
Really good! I'd suggest adding just a little bit of salt to the mango/cucumber salad. Didn't have butterhead, used romaine instead (ended up being like canoes instead). Tasted amazing!0 Helpful
Bomb! Added a lot of spice and just put it on a bed of chopped lettuce because I didn't want to bother with cups. Yum!0 Helpful
Made with veggie grounds to make vegetarian. It was great, though I think the vegetarian version with lentils would have been just as good (and probably more nutritious).0 Helpful
Easy and kiddos loved0 Helpful
Easy and tasty. would add more mint and maybe try ground turkey next time, as well as in a bowl as a salad. Loved the peach salsa on top.0 Helpful