Stir-Fried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Grapefruit and Avocado
Whelp, it’s still winter. Snow is gently falling in NYC, and I’m currently watching people scurry along the street below in their finest Arctic ensembles. Not gonna lie, I’m dreading venturing into the tundra this afternoon.
I’m generally not a winter hater. In fact, I love me some winter. As I’ve discussed at length before, I have a knitwear fetish, finally found a beanie that doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a condom on my head (only took roughly 29 years!), and enjoy cozy comfort foods like casseroles and stews. I am also a die-hard fan of drunk bath season. So, winter is pretty chill (literally and figuratively) for me…
Until early March. I’m now very much over it and am in the midst of my annual existential crisis. The lack of Vitamin D, constant bundling, and spending so much time inside makes me go a little stir crazy, and I’m gripped with a deep-seated urge to make some sort of drastic change in myself/my life. This is historically the time of year that I’d decide I wanted to go blonde (or Angelina Jolie dark), debate it for weeks on my group text, then promptly forget about it when spring arrived and instantly cured my aesthetic ennui.
But last year, I actually DID go blonde, and I’m still into it. So agonizing over my hair color can no longer be my late winter dilemma. Instead, I’ve been racking my brain for other things I could shake up in my life. I’m not coming up with much other than taking up figure skating à la Jonathan Van Ness.
Possibly too much. If you have any other interesting ideas for my winter life change, let a weird blog lady know. In the meantime, I’ll just be here making some fresher, spring-ier food like these Stir-Fried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Grapefruit and Avocado while anxiously awaiting Birthday Princess Week warmer weather.
These lettuce wraps are handheld flavor explosions that are guaranteed to put a little extra spring in your step. They’ve got a killer sweet and savory thing going on, and the layers of texture are straight up insanity. Also, if you’ve never tried shrimp, grapefruit, and avocado together, they’re an unexpectedly harmonious trio. (Sort of like Bradley Cooper, Irina, and Gaga?)
I’m also very excited to report that these beauties come together in roughly 20 minutes from start to finish, are super easy to make, and require very little cleanup. But it’s the you do you options that are their true selling point…
First of all, I know that lettuce wraps are controversial—they’re extremely messy, sometimes tear, and are not nearly as substantial as a tortilla. I personally love lettuce wraps because I think they allow their fillings’ flavors to shine, but I do think these shrimp wraps would be equally delightful in warm tortillas (the Siete foods coconut and cassava tortillas would be particularly amazing). The shrimp are very saucy, so you may want to skip the “wrap element” altogether and take advantage of the sauciness by serving everything over your favorite whole grain or cauliflower rice. Do what feels right.
Paleo? Feel free to sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce and skip the honey in the shrimp sauce. Don’t do shrimp? Try this with ground chicken or turkey, or stir-fry diced boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Spice lovers may wish to up the sriracha, and spice babies can omit it. Use any type of nuts you like (I just as into roasted cashews or almonds for this), and don’t hesitate to add some fresh herbs like cilantro or basil to the grapefruit-avocado mix when you’re feeling fresh. Should you not be into Asian flavors, you can always season the shrimp with some chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and lime juice for Mexican flair.
Oh, and leftovers are great chilled, so keep them in mind for sassy desk lunching.
Fingers crossed spring is on its way, friends! But for now, please make the lettuce wraps.
Stir-Fried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Grapefruit and Avocado (Serves 2-4, depending on hunger levels and side dish situation)
1 pink or ruby red grapefruit
1 avocado, pitted peeled and diced
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
Juice of 1 lime, divided
Pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or Tamari
1 large garlic clove, grated or finely minced
2 teaspoons sriracha
1½ teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1½ teaspoons light sesame oil (olive oil is also fine)
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled (including tail shells) and deveined
Bibb lettuce leaves or Romaine hearts
Chopped roasted peanuts
-Segment the grapefruit. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the top and bottom from the grapefruit. Slice the peel and white pith from all around the fruit. (Don’t worry if it’s not perfect!) Cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments. Slice the segments crosswise into ½-inch pieces and transfer them to a medium bowl. Add the avocado, scallions, half the lime juice, and a tiny pinch of salt to the bowl. Gently toss to combine. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and briefly set aside. (You can also pop this in the refrigerator if making ahead, or if you prefer a chilled topping.)
-In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, garlic, sriracha, honey, toasted sesame oil, and the remaining lime juice. Place this mixture by the stove along with an empty medium bowl.
-Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, and chop them into small (roughly ½-inch) pieces.
-Heat the light sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the shrimp in an even layer and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until lightly pink and turning opaque. Add the sauce and cook for about 2 minutes more or until the shrimp is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly. Immediately transfer the shrimp and sauce to the waiting bowl.
-Assemble the lettuce wraps! Add a little bit of shrimp and sauce to each lettuce wrap. (I like to double layer Bibb leaves for extra security.) Top with some of the grapefruit-avocado mixture and sprinkle with peanuts. Serve immediately.
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