Kung Pao Lettuce Cups recipe and cookbook review: The Primal Gourmet Cookbook by Ronny Joseph Lvovski

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The Primal Gourmet Cookbook. He is not overpromising with that title! This is a fun new Whole30 book. He has a great range to suit your mood. There are easy, casual and loose recipes when you’d like to keep it simple and those that are more interesting and involved when you feel like it. The food is fresh, delicious, and nutritious. Perfect!

I’d love to share his recipe for Kung Pao Lettuce Cups with you! I’m making you concerned because it’s a health book? Don’t be! You won’t make them because they’re good for you. Make them because they’re awesome! He says this serves 4 as an appetizer. Double it and serve 4 for dinner. Or breakfast. You do you! A quick note on two ingredients you might not be familiar with: coconut aminos and arrowroot starch. Coconut aminos function like soy sauce and arrowroot starch functions like cornstarch.


Excerpted from THE PRIMAL GOURMET COOKBOOK: Whole30 Endorsed: It’s Not a Diet If It’s Delicious © 2020 by Ronny Joseph Lvovski. Photography © 2020 by Donna Griffith. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Kung Pao Lettuce Cups

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Whole30 Keto-Friendly Paleo Grain-Free Sugar-Free

Serves 4 as an appetizer Time: 25 Minutes

Iceberg lettuce is my preferred vessel here. It’s crisp and holds up well as you handle the little bundles of delicious, saucy chicken. Boston or butter lettuce is also a good option because of the size and shape of its leaves, but it lacks crunch. Then again, you can just as easily serve this as a main course over some Cauliflower Rice (page 205) or steamed rice, if you’re living your Food Freedom. I’ll let you decide how to eat them. You’re the boss, applesauce.

2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 pound ground chicken
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
¼ cup raw cashews
1 recipe Teriyaki Sauce (below)
Kosher salt
8 iceberg lettuce leaves, for serving

Heat a large cast-iron or carbon- steel wok or skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and pour in the avocado oil. Heat until shimmering, then add the ground chicken. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the chicken is browned and all the moisture has evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, the scallion whites, and the cashews and cook, stirring, until the peppers have softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the teriyaki sauce and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by about one-quarter, 2 to 3 minutes.

Sprinkle in the scallion greens and stir. Taste and season with salt as desired.

Transfer the chicken to a serving bowl and serve with the iceberg lettuce leaves on a plate alongside.

Teriyaki Sauce

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Whole30 Paleo Grain-Free Sugar-Free

Makes about ½ cup Time: 5 Minutes

This Paleo and Whole30-compliant Asian-inspired sauce works perfectly with chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and vegetable stir- fries. Simply combine all the ingredients in a mason jar, shake it like it owes you money, and pour it into the pan with the protein and veggies.

¼ cup coconut aminos
1 tablespoon grated garlic (about 3 cloves)
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fish sauce

In a mason jar, combine the coconut aminos, garlic, arrowroot starch, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, and ¼ cup water. Cover tightly with a lid and shake vigorously until completely smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


My thoughts and pics of some of the dishes we tried:

Grilled Shrimp Cobb. Grilled shrimp, bacon, and jammy eggs with greens, tomatoes, onions, and dill with a classic vinaigrette.

Steak Oscar. It’s very easy despite its fancy appearance. Totally recommend. It’d be very doable to entertain with.

Marcela’s Paleo Pancakes with Strawberry Coulis. We’re thrilled with this one. I buy paleo pancake mixes all the time. These are mostly fruit and protein, so they’re even better. They’re super easy and cheap to make.

Kung Pao Lettuce Cups. Holy yum! It says serves 4 as an appetizer, so I doubled it to serve 4 for breakfast! Delicious, easy, and oh-so-pretty.

Chicken Shawarma with Bootleg Garlic Sauce. This is terrific shawarma, and the sauce is a lovely lemony garlic aioli.

Chopped Salad. This is a lovely, super simple refreshing cucumber, tomato, onion and parsley salad, finished with lemon and sumac.

Mici. Romanian meatballs. Plan ahead because the mixture has to rest for 6 hours after you combine it. He says you can do them on the grill or in a skillet. We had 25 mph winds that day, so I had to make them inside. I want a do over on the grill. We loved them, but I imagine they’d be over the top with a little charcoal kiss.

Beef Stroganoff. I doubled this for 4 people. Fabulous dinner. The coconut cream makes it super rich. I served it over mashed potatoes as he suggested.

Chicken with Spinach and Artichoke Cream Sauce. This is divine. I think I used a pound of spinach instead of the 1/3rd cup, so my sauce looks green. Total keeper.

Fauxttoush. The name cracked me up. It’s a Fattoush salad without the bread. Yummy quick side dish that can rest on the counter in its dressing while you finish dinner up.

*I received a copy to explore and share my thoughts.


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