Gingery Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Red Quinoa and Cilantro Peanut Sauce

I have always had a thing for peanut sauce (seriously, I will ask for extra at Thai restaurants).

At first, the only peanut butter I knew was smashed between two pieces of bread (I didn’t care for jelly), so the concept of a savory sauce took some getting used to. My first peanut sauce experience as a child involved Thai chicken satay & lettuce wraps, and it’s been a favorite ever since.

This dish is a hybrid of the classic Thai interpretation, and is inspired by an unforgettable peanut sauce, which can be found in the Real Food Daily cookbook.

Gingery Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Red Quinoa 


3/4 lb large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

About 1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 orange bell pepper, julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned

2 carrots, shaved into ribbons using a potato peeler

1 head of butter lettuce, washed and dried

1 cup of organic red quinoa, cook according to directions on package

1 bunch of cilantro for garnish and peanut sauce

1 cup of cilantro peanut sauce recipe (listed below)

1. Marinate shrimp ahead of time – at least 30 minutes in advance. Place shrimp in a large bowl, add a few dashes of soy sauce and freshly ground pepper. Stir. Make sure each shrimp is coated in soy sauce mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator.

2. Heat a large heavy bottomed sauté pan with extra virgin olive oil

3.. Add half of the diced onion and cook until soft, using medium heat, about 5-7 minutes.

4. Add peppers, season with salt & pepper, and continue to cook until peppers are soft, another 15-20 minutes. Turn heat to low, and simmer the peppers and onions while shrimp are prepared. 

5. Heat a second medium sized sauté pan with extra virgin olive oil, and add remaining diced onions. Cook until soft, using medium heat, about 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and cook  for another minute.

6. Add marinated shrimp, and cook until shrimp are fully cooked – look for opaque skin and bright pink color.

7. Assemble lettuce wraps with layers of quinoa, peppers, onions, gingery shrimp, and garnish with carrot ribbon and cilantro. Top with freshly made peanut sauce. Yes, that just happened.

Cilantro Peanut Sauce (also known as Peanut-Sesame Dressing, according to RFD)


2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup brown rice vinegar

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 tbsp water

2 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves

1. Blend the peanut butter, vinegar, maple syrup, water, tamari, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

2. Add the cilantro and blend just until it’s finally chopped.

The dressing will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.


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