Quinoa is an unusual ingredient in these Asian wraps

By Brenda Stanley

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Feb. 18 2013 11:25 a.m. MST

Belle's Asian Quinoa and Chicken Lettuce Wraps are tasty and easy to prepare.

Brenda Stanley

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I love Asian food, and one of my favorite recipes is Asian Chicken and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps. What is quinoa you ask? I’ve recently discovered it, and I love it. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is similar to couscous but is a seed and has more protein and other healthy attributes than other grains. It is gluten free and super easy to prepare.

Now before you stop reading and turn your nose up at something healthy, hear me out. This stuff is really good. The flavor is mild and nutty and it pairs well with other ingredients. It is versatile. You can make it sweet or savory, and it can be prepared for dinner or breakfast. You can find it in the health food aisle or the ethnic aisle of the grocery store. There are white, yellow and red varieties.

These Asian Chicken and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps is a satisfying and flavorful dish that is also high in protein and low in fat and calories. What could be better?

*****

BELLE'S ASIAN CHICKEN AND QUINOA LETTUCE WRAPS

4 chicken thighs

½ cup teriyaki glaze (I like Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze)

1½ cups water

½ cup quinoa

½ teaspoon sesame oil

Pinch of crushed dried red pepper flakes

1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, chopped

¼ cup chopped green onions

8 large romaine lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry

Place the chicken and teriyaki sauce in a slow cooker. Stir to coat the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks while still in the pot and mix well with the sauce. Add the chestnuts and mix well. Turn the slow cooker to warm.

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat. Stir in quinoa, sesame oil and red pepper flakes, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add quinoa to chicken mixture and stir well.

Place a heaping spoonful on lettuce leaf and fold like a taco to eat.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at talesofthedinnerbelle.com.