This Is What Happens When I Try to Make Lettuce Wraps

I dunno, guys.  I try.  I really do.  I so badly want to be one of those people who “eats clean”, who can lay off the carbs for one goddamn moment just to give my digestive tract a break and feel all grand and springy in my step.  But I just can’t.  And you know what?  Croissants make me springy.  Heaping bowls of penne doused in shavings of parmigiano reggiano make me springy. Buttered toast and warm cookies and bagels smothered in cream cheese make me so springy, I’m like a human daffodil up in here. Simply put, carbs are the friggin’ best.

After a few sheepishly indulgent nights, I decided to head to the grocery store and buy a big old head of lettuce and make myself some Thai chicken lettuce wraps.  All the flavor, half the guilt! or whatever.  But then it started to rain outside, and it could have been the fact I’d worn them all day but I dare say my jeans were feeling rather agreeable, so I nixed that whole rabbit food idea and decided to supe up this dinner I had in mind.  And man, am I full of good ideas.

I figured I wasn’t going to go all crazy and turn this into a Thai-style chicken cheeseburger moment (although that’s, like, Einstein-level brilliance right there and oh my god I want that right NOW), but this Thai chicken was practically crying for some really good fried rice. The best fried rice is made from leftover rice that’s been chilling in the fridge and getting all sticky, so make sure you put aside enough time for that business.  But it’s worth it.  And just because you’re eating carbs doesn’t mean it has to be bad for you– brown rice tastes just as grand as white rice, and it isn’t all bleached to hell, either. This tastes like great guilty take-out, but it’s actually good for you. And it isn’t lettuce.


Thai Chicken Stirfry and Fried Rice, Hold the Lettuce



2 cups of water

1 cup of brown long grain rice

4 tbsp coconut oil (you can use extra virgin olive oil here, but coconut oil is better for you, can be bought at most grocery stores now, and doesn’t taste like a pina colada, I swear)

half a yellow pepper, diced

2 eggs, beaten with about a tbsp of water

1/3 cup frozen green peas

half an onion, diced

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 to 3 tbsp soy sauce

2 scallions, thinly sliced and ends discarded

salt and pepper



3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (although I love me some carbs, I am a psycho about good-quality meat. Try to buy at least grain-fed, if not free-range or organic. It’s going to cost a couple of bucks more, but it’s worth it)

2 tbsp coconut oil (again, sub extra virgin olive oil here if you want)

the other half of that yellow pepper, seeded and sliced thin

the other half of that onion, sliced thin

5 or 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce (don’t be scared, it’s amazing in stirfrys, and I promise you’ve eaten it before if you’ve ever ordered take-out)

the juice of a lime

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I throw this in almost every stirfry I make)

1 tbsp unsalted peanut butter whisked with a little hot water to thin it out (I’m loco, esse! If you’re allergic to peanuts, you can sub cashew or almond butter here)

a handful of chopped basil



Start your rice. Bring the water and the rice to boil in a pot with a lid. Season with a little salt, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Transfer to a bowl and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours. You can use leftover rice, too, if you have any hanging around.

Heat a large pan over medium-high with 1 tbsp of coconut oil.  Scramble the eggs with a little salt and pepper until done, about three minutes. Set aside in a bowl. Heat another tbsp of coconut oil in the pan.  Season the yellow pepper, onion, and garlic with salt and pepper and sautee for about 7 minutes until all the veggies are tender. Add the last tbsp of coconut oil and the rice and stir to combine. Add the peas and the eggs back into the pan, then the sesame oil and soy sauce. Adjust the seasoning and let it all hang out on low heat while you make the chicken.

Heat another large pan over medium-high heat with the coconut oil. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and sautee in the pan with salt and pepper. Once the chicken is just browned, about 2 minutes each side, add in the garlic, yellow pepper, onion, and mushrooms.  Sautee for another five minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine, and simmer on medium-low for a few minutes to let all the flavors develop. Sprinkle with the basil.

Toss the rice with the scallions. Ladle the chicken over top and serve.

Serves 4 but really who are we kidding it serves 2 around here.




21 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt says:

    I would go with a vodka martini with a twist of lemon while making it because … well just because. My question is do you have a wine pairing?

  2. david says:

    sounds good will have to try it. even with the lettuce maybe well more likely not….

  3. Sebastian says:

    Wow, that sounds and looks really delicious! And great idea to come up with that.
    I will try that out next week!

  4. Famin says:

    Jewel, I know I can always depend on you for a recipe that’s both delicious and idiot-proof! And while you’re answering Matt’s question about the wine pairing, what’s for dessert? I’d suggest lychees with something. But I am eating lychees right now, so I’m a little biased.

    One tiny postscript for any of your readers who’ve never cooked with coconut oil: coconut oil can be very healthy for frying (and tastes great too)…but only if you use the unrefined, virgin coconut oil that you see at health food stores. The hydrogenated coconut oil is full of trans fats and will make your arteries very sad indeed. So, read the label.

  5. Barry says:

    That sounds amazing! I’ll definitely have to make that. Screw healthy lettuce wraps. Someone had commented on your previous blog that you should have a cooking show on Food Network, and I’m inclined to agree wholeheartedly. In addition to your acting career, that is. You truly are hilarious and you love good food.

  6. downwindtracker says:

    Can I have a side of that salad you make with maple syrup with that?

  7. Teri says:

    Just found your blog . Never thought I would read something that echoes my sentiment on food. And made me laugh. Lol

  8. Jim says:

    Have you tried swapping out the rice with either pot barley (if you like the sticky) or Quinoa?

  9. Chris Noakes says:

    Eating healthy all the time is for sissies! And let’s be honest, anything with carbs is going to taste fantastic. Especially fresh breads… or bruschetta… damn it, now I want bruschetta and I’m stuck at work. I blame you…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Shiny meal. Peanut butter thai seared chicken wraps are pretty awesome too. Put a tiny bit of oil on that fresh cold lettuce and sprinkle some garlic salt on it. Bangarang

  11. David Golden says:

    Your blog is making me fat.

  12. Dina Farmer says:

    So going to try this! Wow! When are you going to write a cook book! I can’t eat clean either. I’ve tried, tried, tried and all my friends make me feel guilty for eat “dirty” but my friends are ones that are into growing their own food and try to guilt me into eating like them. I am happy with just knowing where my food comes from and that my son is getting all the dietary requirements a toddler needs. That is all. Kuddos to you Jewel!!

  13. JF Owen says:

    And this is precisely why you are one of my favorite actresses, talented and a good chef. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do in the kitchen.

  14. Corran carpenter says:

    Be springy please !! That’s the way I like you.
    A croissant once per week, it’s the rule here.

    And I definitely have to try that thai chicken recipe… lettuce, tsk, that’s turtle or elf food anyway !

  15. Steve says:

    Umm, Dear One- exactly WHAT was that in the picture? I don’t deny you have some rather erxcellent ideas in the food/nutrition Dept., however, I felt, I don’t know, what’s the word? Oh yes, traumatized by what I saw! LOL! Sorry, just kidding (I think…….)

  16. James says:

    Now see, This is why I eat out. (That and it helps the economy) … Truth is, Homey can’t cook!
    Seriously, I’d burn a pbj.
    I love the sound of many of the ideas you “spring” up with. (Is that English?)
    But I feel so guilty if I don’t support the local restaurants, and of course the servers. (some of my favorite people).
    Keep up with the great ideas … one day, I may actually try to cook!

  17. Tracy says:

    I love using fish sauce in my stir fries, it adds a lot of flavor. I am going to have to look for coconut oil, that really sounds interesting! Love your recipes, you are very creative!!

  18. Kerim says:

    I had a dream about Stir Fry last night….Have you been in my mind again Jewel? As usual you leave me breathless…and famished

  19. Michelle says:

    I don’t think you need to forego carbs to eat “clean”. I try to eat clean 70-90% of the time, but even when I eat clean, I eat carbs, just “whole” carbs and foods, non refined, organic where possible and nothing processed,. There are so many definitions of clean eating, but that is my interpitation. I really enjoy my buckwheat and wholewheat pasta and brown rice, wholeweat pastries and potatoes, but I also endulge myself with foods that I consider to be less healthy as I figure that they are mostly only truly bad when eaten too often. I love this recipe! Yum 🙂

  20. Michelle says:

    Whoops, sorry, wasn’t finished 🙂 this recipe looks yum, really good!
    And eating clean most of the time allows me to imdulge at times in something I consider less healthy as I figure that it’s only truly unhealthy if you do it too often (well mostly!).

  21. Douglas says:

    For bold, savory foods like this, you can’t go wrong with gewürztraminer, which is a snappy white like riesling.

    I planted some Thai basil in my garden this spring; I’m looking forward to using it for curries and stir fries.

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