Lettuce wraps are a low-carb option

You can garnish these Asian Chicken Wraps with your favorite ingredients.

Kathleen Galligan, Detroit Free Press

It seems every so often the low-carb craze reinvents itself.

My friend Debbie has been following a Ketogenic (keto) diet which drastically limits daily intakes of carbohydrates — especially the simple ones such as those found in baked goods, pop and sweet snacks.

She’s been very successful with a focus of eliminating sugar, eating the right fats (good fats such as olives and nuts), but not overindulging in them and being mindful of when she’s full.

Seeing her success, I decided I would at least begin to pay attention to carb-overload and foods with a lot of refined sugars and empty calories.

Although I am an expert label reader, paying attention to reading every single label was daunting. So I decided to come up with my own recipes with ingredients I typically have on hand.

Today’s recipe is a riff of sorts on a noodle bowl and lettuce wrap. The peanut sauce component stems from a recipe that I’ve used for a long time. It used a good amount of sugar, which I just eliminated completely and didn’t miss it all.

Based on a loose calculation from the labels of the products I used, I figured the entire recipe has just under 50 grams of carbohydrates. I was impressed with the low amount. And the recipe is so versatile and the leftovers last a few days.

The one product that works with these is the little gem lettuces. These are small, like only 2-3 inches in length and sold in a package containing six. They look like they came from the very inner portion of romaine lettuce. Because of their shape, you can use them like little cups. They are the perfect size if you want to serve this recipe as an appetizer.

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For a larger, say lunch or dinner, portion, use mini romaine. These are a bit bigger than the little gem, but not as big as regular romaine. You will find them sold in packages of 3 in the produce section.

For this recipe, I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I ground myself in a food processor. Make sure the thighs are well-chilled before processing, which will prevent the chicken from becoming mushy. You can also use already ground chicken or turkey.

Asian ingredients are something I typically always have on hand, especially Sambal Oelek or ground chili paste. I use the one by Huy Fong foods with the green cap. You can also use one called ground chili garlic paste, with the addition of garlic. If you’re unfamiliar with hoisin sauce, it’s often referred to as a Chinese barbecue sauce.

When making the peanut sauce, be sure to adjust it to your own taste. It should have a peanut taste that’s not overpowering and hinted with the chili paste. You can also adjust the texture, I like it so it drips off a spoon and you can drizzle it over the wraps.

Finally, you can garnish to your hearts content with these. I like thinly sliced green onions and chopped cilantro. But you can also use very thin slivers of bell pepper or shredded carrot.

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