Sam Turnbull's "Oh Mommy Umami Lettuce Wraps"
It's always cool meeting other vegan bloggers. And I fully admit that I'm not nearly as "in the know" on cool vegan food blogs as I should or could be. And why is that? Because I'm a meathead! I don't want to look at decadent vegan food porn that will only sway me from my good ol' high-protein, bland and boring vegan bodybuilder meals.
But there are certain vegan peeps whose name you don't forget. And Sam Turnbull is one of 'em.
I'm sure the fact that we both have the same name has something to do with it. It is, after all, one of THE most beautiful names in the English language with the most variations: Samantha, Sam, Sammy...
But it was actually her blog name "It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken" that always stood out to me. And the fact that she was one of the very first peeps to buy MY own e-Cookbook (way back in 2014 mind you) probably helped too. ;)
Well fast-forward four years to 2018 and we finally get to meet each other in the "real world" c/o Veg Expo 2018 in Vancouver, BC where we were both speaking.
Apparently Sam T. has become quite the little celeb in the vegan cooking space!
Together we laughed, we dined, we gloated, we did it all for the gram! ;) Then we exchanged my JOTB t-shirt for her "Fuss Free Vegan" cookbook.
Now I won't lie. I receive complimentary vegan cookbooks from time to time and will skim through upon receipt, whip something up on occasion then usually toss it into my cabinet of vegan cookbooks only to sit there for months collecting dust.
But Sam T's "Fuss Free Vegan" was a different case. Its' pages have all been dog-eared to shit and basically hasn't left my kitchen counter all month.
It's not to say that Sam T's recipes are even "healthy" by my meatless meathead / vegan coaching standards. But what I love is that they can all be substituted both easily and effortlessly into something that would appease the healthiest of health freaks.
One recipe that's become a JOTB staple is Sam's Umami lettuce wraps which she describes as her "favourite lettuce filler combo. Asian-inspired seasoning with added texture from the walnuts, all wrapped in crunchy fresh lettuce."
I loved these lettuce wraps so damned much, I asked her if I could share the recipe (including my adjustments) with my blog readers. Thankfully she said "yes" and even provided me with a high-res photo (putting my shitty iPhone recipe pics to shame of course.)
And speaking of "putting mine to shame," I fully admit that Sam T's beautifully-printed, 222-page cookbook puts my ghetto eBook to shame. And makes me laugh knowing that a published author and talented babe like her bought MY crappy eCookbook way back in the day. Nevertheless, I'm grateful for the vegan blogger support and I highly recommend that everyone reading this blog post of mine grab their own copy of "Fuss Free Vegan" ASAP!
(After you whip these lettuce wraps up of course...) And with that, here is the recipe:
Sam Turnbull's Famous "Oh Mommy Umami Lettuce Wraps"
Prep Time: 30 minutes or less. Cook time: 10 mins. Serves: 4
Ingredients for the Sauce:
¼ cup Bragg's liquid aminos (healthy soy sauce)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (Sam Turnbull recommends rice vinegar)
2 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (Sam Shorkey omitted this altogether)
2 tsp sesame oil (Sam Shorkey used tahini instead)
½ tsp your favorite hot sauce
Ingredients for the Lentils:
1 Tbsp light oil, like peanut or
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup red lentils
2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1 head of butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce, leaves separated but kept whole
1 medium carrot, cut into match- sticks or grated
2 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (Sam Shorkey did not add these)
1. For the sauce, in a small bowl, mix the ingredients together and set aside.
2. For the lentils, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens and begins to brown.
3. Stir in the lentils and then the vegetable broth. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until all the broth is absorbed and the lentils are cooked. Stir in the walnuts and about half of the sauce mixture, or to taste.
4. To serve, take a leaf of lettuce, fill it with the lentil-walnut mixture, top with carrot, green onions, and sesame seeds, and spoon as much sauce as desired over it all. Fold it like a taco and munch away!
Sam (or Sammy or Samantha) Shorkey + Sam (or Sammy or Samantha) Turnbull
** Excerpted from Fuss Free Vegan: 101 Everyday Comfort Food Favorites, Veganized. Copyright © 2017 Samantha Turnbull. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.**