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Healthy Recipes: Asian Turkey Cabbage Boats

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Asian Turkey Cabbage Boats

from the American Institute for Cancer Research

This week's recipe uses turkey in a creative way for a visually appealing dish rich in nutritional value. These turkey cabbage boats combine a variety of flavors to create a unique Asian taste and presentation.

The ginger imparts an aromatic, pungent and spicy flavor. The ginger plant is a creeping perennial indigenous to tropical Asia and other tropical areas. Ginger generally refers to the fresh or dried, whole or powdered rhizome – not the root – of the plant. In the same family as turmeric, ginger is valued for both its taste and reported medicinal properties.

Fish sauce and the peanut and sesame oils enhance the Asian flavor with brown sugar providing a subtle, yet rich sweetness. The addition of a little jalapeño pepper spices things up. The peanut topping gives a nice crunch and the cool crisp cabbage cradles it all.

You can serve these boats with a nice hot bowl of soup or a fresh salad. Try a salad with romaine lettuce, broccoli flowerets, some thin apple slices and cucumbers all drizzled with an Asian-style vinaigrette made with vegetable oil and rice vinegar. It you want to warm your meal up a bit, you might consider adding a serving of brown rice laced with mushrooms. The result will be meal loaded with flavor and nutrition.

Turkey Cabbage Boats

Asian Turkey Cabbage Boats

  • Canola cooking spray
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (lime may be substituted)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. peanut oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame seed oil
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 Chinese cabbage leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped unsalted peanuts

Coat large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Sauté turkey and ginger, stirring often until turkey is browned and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess liquid from turkey mixture and place in large bowl. Add onions, sugar, mint, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, fish sauce, oils and peppers.

Toss thoroughly. Arrange leaves on serving platter. Spoon about 1/3 cup of mixture onto each leaf. Sprinkle peanuts on top and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 216 calories, 6 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 10 g carbohydrate,
31 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 418 mg sodium.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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