If there’s one thing I love, it’s delicious food. If there’s one things I love even more, it’s delicious food that also happens to be healthy!
San choi bao has long been a family favorite. The traditional recipe is a flavored mince (ground pork) served in lettuce cups, which makes it perfect for low-carb and low-gluten meal plans, or even gluten free (see the recipe tips for how-to). We’ve upped the ante on this by adding a boatload of veggies, which has two added benefits:
You get more veggies, without having to eat a pile of veggies (not that there’s anything wrong with that either!). This means more fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and a more balanced meal in general.
More veggies, and especially the mushrooms, means you can use less protein and still get the same amazing results. This makes the meal more budget-friendly, and is also more eco-friendly, since meat production has a much higher environmental cost.
This recipe is a beef base, but you can use the traditional pork or chicken if you prefer. And while the ingredient list looks long, it’s somewhat deceptive – this meal comes together quickly and easily, so still works well for a weeknight dinner.
Very Veggie San Choi Bao
500g / 1 lb beef mince or ground beef
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Generous 1/2tsp minced ginger
1.5 cups finely diced mushrooms of any variety
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
1/2 red capsicum or bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup oyster or hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water or beef stock
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of water
Lettuce leaves, for serving
Optional – red or wombok cabbage leaves, for serving
In a large pan, brown the beef with the garlic and ginger. Set aside.
Using the same pan, cook the mushrooms and onion for 3 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if they are dry and sticking to the pan. While these are cooking, combine the soy cause, oyster or hoisin sauce, water or stock, and cornstarch mixture in a bowl.
Add remaining vegetables to the pan and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until slightly softened. Return beef to the pan and mix to combine. Add the sauce mixture and stir through, cooking until the sauce has thickened.
Separate lettuce leaves, and cabbage leaves if using. Layer two to three leaves together, and spoon mixture into the center. Cup or wrap, and enjoy!
- To make this meal gluten free, choose GF soy and hoisin sauces, and use arrowroot or tapioca powder in place of the cornstarch.
- As you brown the beef, spoon out the liquid and save it to add to your water or beef stock. This improves the flavor and will decrease meal prep time.
- Cabbage leaves give more heft to the lettuce cups, lending some sturdiness and crunch to the meal.
If you’re Brisbane-based and want to try this with beef, Rangeland Quality Meats offers amazing locally raised, free range and grass fed beef at an excellent price. They haven’t sponsored this post – we just love their product! It’s a cut above anything you get at the supermarket (sorry, pun intended!). You can get it via home-delivery, though we always grab ours from the Rocklea Markets on Saturdays.