One of the biggest challenges I face when cooking dinners is how to satisfy the male “meat lovers” while still adhering to my 99% plant based diet. This dish is one that makes everyone happy, is simple and quick to prepare, full of vegetables, and FUN!
I buy grass-fed, pastured organic meats for my family, as they are nutritionally superior for many reasons, as well as kinder to both the animals and the environment. Adding vegetables and red quinoa to lean ground meat not only saves money by “stretching” the meat mixture (depending on the amount you add, you can double your meal!) but also reduces the fat content, adds important fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients not present in plain ground beef. Plus, red quinoa is a little scary looking to kids on its own, but mixed in beef, it fits right in!
I take the time to dice my vegetables small, so there are no complaints from the crew. This meal I saved the extra time and leg work by using a pre-cut veggie mix from Trader Joe’s. I gave it a few whirls in the food processor to mince the veggies. Although I offer specific amounts of spices, seasonings, and vegetables here, this is really just a blank template to use whatever you have on hand.
If you are plant-based like I am, reserve quinoa and vegetable mix in a separate bowl before adding the meat, or allow older family members to make their own mix. If you consume soy, you could add a soy-based beef crumble, or textured vegetable protein (TVP).
Quinoa Veggie Beef Lettuce Wraps
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 lb lean grass-fed ground beef
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cups mixed vegetables, diced (onion, carrot, red cabbage, radish, leeks, celery, etc)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup unhulled sesame seeds
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp low-sodium worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
- romaine lettuce leaves, washed and de-stemmed
In a fine strainer, rinse quinoa several times. In a medium saucepan combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook about 10 minutes. Remove from stove. You do not want to fully cook the quinoa, rather cook “al dente” for a firmer, chewier texture.
Meanwhile heat coconut oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables and sauté 10 minutes. Stir in dill, sesame seeds, garlic, paprika, worcestershire and soy. Set aside in a large serving bowl.
In the same skillet, add ground beef. Cook over medium high heat until cooked thoroughly.
Combine vegetables, quinoa, and meat in desired portions and serve with large romaine lettuce leaves (remove the bitter white stems).
Spread 2-3 spoonfuls mixture down the center rib, roll, and eat! Ketchup face – optional.