Gluten Free / Paleo / Pork / Whole 30 Approved

Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps with “Peanut Sauce” and Orange Not Soy Asparagus

Today’s recipe is one of my favorites. Warning, the “peanut” sauce is a bit like crack! One of the key ingredients in the “peanut” sauce is coconut animos, a non-soy version of soy sauce. So, why not just use regular soy sauce? It is a bit cheaper (about $1 per bottle), but after we talk about soy below it will make a bit more sense.

I cut out soy from my diet in several months ago after hearing on many. many health podcasts (I may have a problem) that it was bad and should be avoided at all costs. It seems that the health podcasters of the world agree on very few things… but all of them seem to agree that soy is out. I must be honest that I had not really paid much attention to the “why” behind the no soy rule until my girlfriend (the neuroscientist) asked/challenged me this weekend and I didn’t really have the answer on the tip of my tongue. I have done a little bit of research to help her, myself (and you) understand why soy should be avoided.

1. Estrogen overload…

and, not in a good way. Apparently, there is such a thing as too much estrogen. Soy contains estrogens called isoflavones. There is some evidence that consuming large amounts of these isoflavones can lead to hypothyroidism, weight gain, fatigue and may even reproductive problems in both men and women. In fact, a Swiss Health Service study in 1992 found that two cups of soy milk per day provides the estrogenic equivalent of one birth control pill. That means women eating cereal with soy milk and drinking a soy latte each day are effectively getting the same estrogen effect as if they were taking a birth control pill. A full list of studies on soy can be found on the Westin A Price website. The scariest thing is that soy is not just found in items we know are soy like soy milk – it is really everywhere, in nearly every processed food on the shelf. Read labels carefully, or just avoid food with labels!

2. Ferment and then moderate…

Soy is seen by many as a “health” food as it has been a part of the healthy Asian diet for centuries. This is true, but you must understand that ancient Asian cultures used soy in moderation as a condiment, not as the main event in the meal. Further, when they did eat soy, it was usually in fermented forms like miso, natto and tempeh. Take home lesson is that, if you do eat soy, make sure it is in one of these forms as it (at least partially) neutralizes the isolfavones.

3. Isn’t soy sauce fermented?

So, yes, soy sauce, which the coconut animos replaces in this recipe, is technically fermented, so why worry? The main reason is that most soy sauces available in traditional U.S. grocery stores are not made in the traditional way, but instead are made from acid-hydrolyzed soy protein, a processed form of soy which, like all processed foods, you will want to avoid. Coconut animos is a great substitute with the same color and flavor,  although at a slightly higher price. If you can find good quality, traditionally fermented unpasteurized soy sauce you can skip to coconut and indulge in the real thing… in moderation.



Lettuce Wraps
1/4 large yellow onion, sliced – o  $      0.35
1 red bell pepper, sliced  $      1.00
1 medium carrot, shredded – o  $      0.23
1 cloves garlic – o  $      0.09
1 tbs grated fresh ginger – o  $      0.23
1 tbs asian chili garlic sauce  $      0.22
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce  $      0.13
1 tbsp coconut oil – o  $      0.36
1 lb ground pork  $      4.79
salt and pepper  neg
9 leaves butter lettuce – o  $      1.75
1 tbs chopped cilantro – o  $      0.45
“Peanut” Sauce
1/4 cup almond butter  $      0.98
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar – o  $      0.16
1 tbsp coconut animos – o  $      0.32
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger – o  $      0.12
juice of 1 lime (2 tbs) – o  $      0.40
1/4 cup water  n/a
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed  $      3.99
1 tbsp coconut oil – o  $      0.36
1 tbsp coconut animos – o  $      0.32
1/2 orange (zest and juice) – o  $      0.40
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes  $      0.02
salt and pepper  neg
Total  $     16.64
Per Serving (3 servings)  $        5.55

o = orgranic

1. Start by adding all “peanut” sauce to a food processor and pulse until combined. Set aside.

2. Slice the onion and red pepper, shred the carrots, grate the ginger and chop the garlic.

3. Add 1 tbsp. coconut oil to a medium sized pot over medium heat.  Once melted, add the vegetables that you sliced, shredded, grated and chopped in step #2. Saute until the onions being to become translucent  (about 3 minutes)

4. Add the ground pork, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce and salt and pepper to the pot, and cook until browned, stirring frequently.

5. While the pork is working, begin on the asparagus by heating 2 cups of water to a boil in a skillet that is wide enough for the asparagus.

6. When the water is boiling, add the asparagus and boil for approximately 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus and discard the water.

7. Heat the coconut oil in the skillet and once melted, return the asparagus to the pan along with the orange zest and juice, pepper flakes, coconut aminos and salt and pepper. Cook asparagus, turning frequently for about 2-3 minutes, until tender.

8. Serve pork in butter lettuce cups with “peanut sauce” on top, and garnish with cilantro. Serve asparagus on the side.

One thought on “Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps with “Peanut Sauce” and Orange Not Soy Asparagus

  1. Pingback: Paleo “Peanut” Zucchini Noodles with Ginger Tangerine Pork Cutlets | A Skinny Rich Girl ~ Real Food on a Budget

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