No. 67: Chicken and Cashews in Lettuce Wraps

We're busy!

Work + packing + moving carloads of stuff in the evenings is showing me just how productive I can really be in life. Apparently I have been really slacking from 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.

With all that 'productivity,' meals have been more about efficiency and cleaning out the fridge than about taste.

Chicken & Cashew Lettuce Wraps

This recipe from Real Simple is part of their terrific What's for Dinner Tonight? collection.

Full disclosure, we were missing several of the key ingredients last night when we made this. But I'm not going to go buy fresh ginger before I move. No way.


3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger*
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained*
1/4 cup roasted unsalted cashews
1 small head Boston or Bibb lettuce, leaves separated*

*Skipped the ginger and water chestnuts. And we only had romaine in the house.

To make

Combine the soy sauce and honey in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium and stir in the garlic and ginger. Add the scallions and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the water chestnuts and half the soy sauce mixture. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the cashews.

With cashews

Divide the lettuce leaves among plates and spoon the chicken over the top. Serve with the remaining soy sauce mixture for drizzling.

The results

We had dinner on the table (read: sofa) in 20 minutes. Goal accomplished!


The romaine was admitedly not as good as Bibb lettuce would be, but was perfectly functional as a delivery system for the chicken and cashews.

While I liked this sauce and the honey/soy balance, I would probably add a bit of cornstarch to thicken it. Or you could let it simmer a few minutes longer to work it's way into the chicken. A spoonful of peanut butter would also be such a yummy addition for more flavor.

If you're looking for a super easy and efficient meal, this is definitely it. Also, not too spicy or complicated for the palates of little ones.

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina