5:2 Diet and Weight Watchers
Today’s recipe has been a huge hit ever since I made it a few weeks ago – Spicy Beef Larb Lettuce Wraps that are only 220 calories per serving, and that taste amazing. Perfect midday fodder for anyone following the 5:2 diet (for a Fast day) as well as all Weight Watchers dieters too, as each serving is a very low 5 Smart Points. Larb is an Asian dish, usually associated as originating from Laos and Thailand – it’s basically minced (ground) meat or poultry, such as beef, pork, duck or chicken (and sometimes fish and mushrooms) that is cooked with fish sauce, lime juice, toasted rice, chilli paste and fresh coriander (cilantro) and mint; the mixture is then served at room temperature with sticky rice and raw vegetables.
My recipe today suggests that the mixture is served in lettuce wraps with extra lime juice to serve, and some extra spring onions too. In place of lemongrass, I decided to make the dish my own by adding some salty, sharp preserved lemons to the mixture, which worked like a dream. I was recently sent a wonderful hamper of preserved goods from Bettina, a lady I met on the beautiful island of Astypalea, where she has a small-holding, and grows all sorts of herbs, flowers and vegetables; she also organises a co-operative ladies group on the island, who get regularly together to make preserves , using only produce that grows on the island. The group call themselves Rodia 12, and the jams, mustard, chutneys and preserved fruit they make is both imaginative and delicious.
My low-calorie but high-taste recipe is shared below, and in place of minced beef you can use minced turkey, minced chicken or minced pork if you wish – I suspect that the spicy mixture is fabulous when served with sticky rice too, why not try that on a normal “feast” day or for a fabulous Friday “take away” meal for the family. If you have lemongrass available, and no preserved lemons, then by all means use that, finely diced. For vegetarians, use some minced Quorn in place of meat, or even some meaty mushrooms. That’s all for today, for more tasty diet recipes, why not pop over to see all my healthy recipes here: Lavender and Lovage Diet Day Recipes. See you soon, Karen
Spicy Beef Larb Lettuce Wraps
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||20 minutes|
|Total time||30 minutes|
|Meal type||Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Starter|
|Occasion||Barbecue, Casual Party|
|By author||Karen Burns-Booth|
- Calorie controlled cooking spray
- 1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 quarters of preserved lemons, very finely diced
- 450g very lean minced beef
- juice of 1 lime, plus extra lime wedges to serve
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar or jaggery
- 1 hot red chilli, finely diced
- 6 to 8 spring onions, sliced
- fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 12 baby gem lettuce leaves
These Spicy Beef Larb Lettuce Wraps are full on flavour but low in calories, and are the perfect meal for anyone on a low calorie diet, such as the 5:2 diet, as they are only 220 calories per serving, or 5 Smart points per serving for those following the Weight Watchers diet. You can use minced turkey, chicken or pork too.
|Step 1||Spray a large frying pan or wok with the calorie controlled cooking spray and cook the shallot and garlic over a low heat, stirring all the time, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the diced preserved lemons and continue to cook for a further minute, before adding the minced beef.|
|Step 2||Cook the beef for 5 minutes, over a medium heat, until it is well browned, then add the lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar and chopped red chillies, mix well and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the spring onions. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more before adding the chopped coriander and mint leaves, mix well.|
|Step 3||Spoon the beef larb mixture into the baby gem lettuce leaves, and serve immediately with extra lime wedges.|
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Made an perpetual lemon pickle to use up leftover pieces of lemon that would be good with this I think.
Karen Burns-Booth says
Yes Liz! I have suggested that very thing in the ingredients list! Great minds think alike! Karen
adorable low-carb fabulousness from you karen. I adore food like this, i’m definitely taking this inspiration this weekend. divine!
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thanks Dom – this can me made veggie very easily for The Viking too! Karen
Sounds and looks amazing, Karen! I am very keen on bold flavours and that’s certainly what’s called for on a 5:2 day, that’s for sure. Really enticing.
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thanks Kellie, it’s just the sort of food I love to cook and eat on a fast day, as it’s not just healthy, but packed with flavour too! Karen