These quick Vietnamese beef lettuce wraps are my new go-to light dinner for spring. They’re gluten free, dairy free, paleo friendly, and easy to put together.
I am a huge fan of Vietnamese food. When Ben and I lived in Boston, our neighborhood had a lot of Vietnamese families and businesses. There was a great little supermarket within walking distance where I could pick up everything from fish sauce to rice paper wraps to long stalks of fresh lemongrass. One of our favorite restaurants, Pho Hoa, was just blocks away. I usually ordered the house special vermicelli plate. It had pretty much everything: grilled pork, shrimp on sugarcane, meatballs, grilled scallions, pickled carrots, chopped peanuts, and even a sliced spring roll all on top of vermicelli. It also came with rice paper wraps and a bowl of hot water so you could make your own fresh rolls.
These fast and easy Vietnamese lettuce wraps are loosely based on the flavors of that dish. Instead of vermicelli and rice paper wraps, we’re using fresh leaves of lettuce with a little jasmine rice inside to soak up the saucy beef. You could definitely use rice noodles or cauliflower rice instead if you prefer! The beef is quickly cooked with a little garlic and a sauce that combines tamari (or coconut aminos), fish sauce, honey, and sambal oelek. The result is an umami-packed flavor with just the right balance of sweet, salt, spice, and funk.