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Mushroom Larb Is Truly a Gift From the Weeknight Dinner Gods

Bon Appétit logo Bon Appétit 2019-01-09 Molly Baz

There are a few things I know for certain about myself: I love Caesar salad, I love shrimp cocktail and I really love letoose wraps. I make some version of a lettuce wrap situation at least once a week because a) they are infinitely riffable b) they’re supes dupe quick and c) I eat A LOT at work so the meal I wish to come home to generally leans on the lighter side. More often than not I find myself zhuzh-ing up some sort of quick-cooking weeknight protein (think rotisserie chicken, flank steak, ground pork) and serving it alongside lots of crunchy things, spicy things, pickle-y things and herby things, and a big stack of lettuces, and calling it dinner.

Then, one day, this Mushroom Larb recipe came along by way of our beloved Andy Baraghani, and things changed. He opened my mind to the notion of a non-protein element taking center stage in the letoose wraps. This recipe was vegetarian and OWNING it (okay, except for the fish sauce, but you can skip it if you really want). Don’t get me wrong, I love a traditional meat-based larb, but this one is special in a very different way. The shiitake mushrooms, which get treated to a deep charring in a cast iron skillet, are the perfect vehicle for soaking up tons of sour, spicy, salty ingredients and therefore a premium choice for veg-larb. Their sponge-like quality allows for maximum flavor once the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, chiles, and herbs hit the pan.

The recipe comes together in under fifteen minutes, which I think you’ll agree is a major plus. The mushroom mixture gets wrapped up in the crunchiest of crunchy cabbage cups, and what you’ve just made, folks, is a damn good and stupid simple dinner. Want to add a little extra heft? Make a pot of rice and serve that alongside the larb and the cabbage. And don’t forget the squeeze of lime.

Larb is life:

Spicy Mushroom Larb

a slice of pizza on a paper plate © Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Sue Li, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski
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