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Beef Larb with Lettuces

Active Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
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Why we love it:

Larb is a traditional dish from Laos more commonly known to non-Laotian Americans through its popularity on Thai menus. It’s a great take on summer salad that isn’t boring or overly lettuce based. Its fast and doesn’t take much heat, so it’s perfect to cook on a hot day. Southeast Asian cuisine is about balancing sour, hot, salty, and sweet - so you can play with those ingredients to get a final dish you love.


  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds whole (optional)
  • 12 pound Green Beans stem end trimmed
  • 1 head Butter Lettuce washed and dried, leaves separated
  • 112 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 3 Limes zest and juice
  • 1 clove Garlic finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar packed
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Ground Beef lean 90/10 is preferred
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt divided
  • 12 Red Onion thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch Green Onion white and green parts
  • 14 cup Cashews salted, roasted and finely chopped
  • 12 bunch Basil leaves (optional)
  • 1 Heirloom Tomato slicer, heirloom or beefsteak, thickly sliced
  • 1 Carrot small, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons Mint Leaves optional
  • 18 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. Coriander Seeds

    If using whole coriander seeds, place them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and toast them, shaking the skillet back and forth, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool. Place the seeds into a mini food processor or spice grinder and coarsely grind them, or crush them with the flat side of a chef’s knife then chop them. Transfer the pulverized seeds to a small bowl.
    You can absolutely skip this step and used 1 teaspoon of store bought ground coriander seeds.

  • 2. Vegetable Prep

    Place a colander in the sink.
    Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Trim the stem end of the green beans. When the water is boiling and beans are ready, add the green beans to the pan and cook for just 90 seconds. Drain the beans, add a few ice cubes to them and run under cold water for a few seconds to cool completely.

    Pat the beans dry, then thinly slice the beans in to thin rounds. Transfer the beans to a large bowl.

    Wash the carrot well - we prefer using a coconut fiber veggie scrubber and leaving the peel on, but if you think you must, then peel it first. Thinly slice it into rounds. Slice the tomato into thicker rounds or wedges. Add both to the bowl with the beans.

    Slice the scallions, white and green parts. Add half to the veggie bowl and reserve the rest.

    Chop the cashews (if using) very finely. Tear or chop the mint leaves and basil leaves. Set all aside for now.

    Remove the core of the lettuce with a paring knife and separate the head of lettuce into leaves, like little cups or wraps. When you get to the core, you can chiffonade it into ribbons and add to the bowl with the green beans.

  • 3. Lime Dressing

    In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, zest and juice of 2 of the limes, a pinch of salt, finely minced garlic clove, and sugar. Whisk in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.

  • 4. Beef

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the beef and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and to break up the chunks of meat until it’s cooked through, about 4 minutes. Very thinly slice the red onion and add it. Cook for just 1 minute.

    Remove the skillet from the heat and add: the coriander seeds, half of the lime dressing, the rest of the scallions, chopped cashews, mint (if using), and the pinch of cayenne. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can add more of the dressing, or more salt or more fish sauce for balance and to suit your taste buds.

  • 5. Plating

    Drizzle the remaining dressing over the green beans and veggie and gently toss to coat.

    Divide the lettuce cups among plates and top with the meat mixture. Sprinkle with the basil leaves generously over top of the meat. Plate the beans, carrots, tomatoes on the side for diners to add to the lettuce cups as they like. Eat the salad with their hands, rolling up the leaves into wraps. Slice the remaining lime into wedges and serve along side.

    This is also fun to serve on one big family style platter and let everyone assemble their own from the center plate.

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  • Beef:
    traditional and delicious with ground pork. Ground turkey and chicken work also.
  • Nut Free:
    omit the cashews. Use sesame seeds for garnish.
  • Fish Sauce:
    half soy sauce or tamari and half rice vinegar. Or half worcestershire sauce and half rice vinegar.
  • Fish Free:
    you can find vegetarian fish sauces and sub that in evenly
Rate this recipe:
2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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