Quick Chicken-Asparagus Lettuce Wraps

Brittany Arcand


Spring has sprung here in South Carolina and like everyone else, our house is excited! For me, this is doubly so ever since I found out I can grow asparagus.

When we moved to the south, we decided to stick to our family dream and purchase land.  A parcel of property large enough for the kids to explore, hike on, take four wheeling rides through, and of course, big enough for a large garden.  I want chickens too, but that is another post.  *grin*

Now is the time of year to get our plows moving and start planting, but the red clay, granite boulders, and the abundance of trees has us on pause as to exactly how we are going to execute said garden.  We figured no matter how delayed we were, we would at least get the asparagus planted.  It takes a year or two for asparagus to start really producing so we didn’t want to waste any time!  When I started asking friends in the area how well their asparagus faired, I was unprepared for the blank stares, perplexed looks, and general confusion of the question.  Not one person I knew grew asparagus, knew how to grow asparagus, or had ever seen asparagus growing, much less growing in South Carolina.

Panic set in.

Quick Chicken-Asparagus Lettuce Wraps

Would I ever be able to fulfill my dream of creating my own asparagus field, thereby guaranteeing that I would have a bumper crop of wonderfulness to roast and grill every spring?  Had we moved to the south and built our dream home on our dream land only to live our lives eating asparagus imported from (gulp) Indiana?  Would my children ever know the satisfaction of walking among the tall, bright green fronds of asparagus plants and delight in the knowledge that below them grew stalks of a vegetable so stupendous it could be used as currency in some countries?

It turns out, yes.  Yes we would.

Asparagus grows great in the south and while we will have some adjusting to do with our soil, further research led me to the see that not only is it abundant here, but that clearly my friends haven’t been spending enough time out of doors.

With my future asparagus needs secured, I turned my attention to eating it.  Cold, hot, snappy, or creamed into a soup, I love it in any form.  I often blanch the stalks in boiling water for a bit after I bring them home and then save them, all set to go, to use later in the week.  It was with this in mind that I decided to create these quick lettuce wraps.  So fresh and so full of flavor; I foresee them becoming as much of a favorite in your house as they have in mine.  The bright colors and crisp texture just scream the word ‘spring’ and the quick prep time fits the craziness of our schedule as the school year winds down.  Simply scrumptious.

Now.  Can anyone tell me if rhubarb grows in the South…?

Quick Chicken-Asparagus Lettuce Wraps

 Quick Chicken-Asparagus Lettuce Wraps

If you blanch the asparagus the night before, you bring your prep time down to almost nil.

1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled and shredded, about 3 cups
1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed
2 c grated or julienned carrot
1 head red leaf, green, or bibb lettuce, rinsed
1/4 c soy sauce, preferably low sodium
1 T fresh lime juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
lime wedges for serving

In a shallow pan, simmer enough water to hold the asparagus.  Blanch the asparagus in the water for just a minute, or until crisp tender but not fully cooked.

Remove and shock the veggies in cold water.  Drain and set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice, honey, sesame oil, and pepper flakes.

Pour over cooked chicken and toss to coat.  When ready to eat, take a large lettuce leaf and lay three or so spears of asparagus on the bottom.  Top with carrot, then a spoonful of chicken.  Add one last squeeze of lime to the top before you wrap it (optional, but HIGHLY recommended) and enjoy!  Leftovers are great on a salad the next day!

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Quick Chicken-Asparagus Lettuce Wraps

Brittany Arcand is a food writer, recipe developer, and amateur photographer. Originally from Minnesota, she now resides just north of Columbia, SC, and is loving life in the South! After marrying a handsome sailor, graduating with a degree in Family & Consumer Education and a minor in American Literature, she committed to staying home to be with her three small children. Her love of the written word, coupled with her experience in various commercial and private kitchens fueled a passion for sensible recipes that actually work. The food blog Brittany’s Pantry was born, and with it a following that continues to steadily grow. Her unique voice combines reliable, no fuss recipes with the stories of how they came to be!