Year of the Horse: A Lighter Chinese New Year Feast, Cabbage-Wrapped “Pot-Stickers” and Spicy Green Beans with Pork [or other Protein]

A Lighter Chinese New Year

Welcome, Year of the Horse, the Year of the Lean, Mean, Race Horse, that is!

As you probably know by now, we absolutely love Chinese food. Case in point, our Chinese New Year Feast Recipes from 2012.  Heck, we liked our own menu so much that we re-created it in 2013.  This year, we’re creating a Chinese New Year Menu with a bit of a “lighter” take, no grains, no gluten, no starches or sugars, and with a vegan option to boot.  We designed this meal so that, if you’re using ground meat in these recipes, you can easily get away with just 1 lb between the two dishes, using just one regular sized package from the grocery fridge. Better yet, source out some ground protein from a healthy butcher with grass-fed or free-range farmed livestock. Or go meatless this Friday and use mushrooms, mixed veg, or tofu as you see fit!

A Lighter Chinese New Year: Cabbage-Wrapped “Pot-Stickers” and Spicy Green Beans with Pork [or other Protein]

Cabbage Wrapped Potsticker Recipe

Cabbage-Wrapped "Pot-Stickers"

Makes 22-24
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season



  • 10-12 large leaves of Napa Cabbage
  • 1 large pot of lightly salted boiling water
  • Ice bath
  • 250 g/.5 lb ground beef pork or poultry, or about 1 1/2 c crumbled tofu, fine diced mushrooms, or mixed diced veg. of your choice]
  • 1/2 medium carrot fine diced
  • 1/4 bunch green onions 1/4 onion, or 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 6-8 water chestnuts [about 1/2 can] finely diced
  • 2 tbs lower sodium soy sauce [gluten-free] or tamari
  • 1 tbs fish sauce [optional check for gluten-free, omit for vegan/vegetarian]
  • 1 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • pepper to taste
  • For the fry-and-steam version: 2 tbs coconut oil olive oil, or vegetable oil

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/8 c vinegar [Rice vinegar works the best. If you're eliminating all grain sources try red wine vinegar]
  • 1/4 c lower sodium soy sauce [gluten free] or tamari
  • 1 tbs diced shallot or onion or sliced green onions
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger minced [optional]


Make Dipping Sauce

  • Mix together all dipping sauce ingredients and set aside.

Make the "Pot-Sticker" Wraps

  • Put a lightly salted pot of water on to boil.
  • In the boiling water, boil cabbage leaves for a 1-2 minutes until brightly coloured and softened slightly.
  • [You may want to do this in batches.]
  • Immerse boiled cabbage leaves in ice water to curtail the cooking process.
  • Slice each leaf in half along one edge of the central stem.
  • Remove the stem by slicing along the other side of the stem.
  • Slice only the largest leaves into quarters instead of halves.
  • Set the leaves aside on a towel to dry.

Make the Filling

  • Place all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and quickly stir to combine.

Assemble the "Pot-Stickers"

  • Laying each cabbage leaf-section flat, place a generous teaspoonful of filling in the centre of the leaf.
  • Wrap by first drawing the narrow sides in towards the middle of the filling.
  • Fold the top of the leaf down over the filling.
  • And then draw the bottom up over the filled section, rolling so that the flaps are now on the bottom.

Cook the pot-stickers as below

    Pan Fry-and-Steam Method

    • Heat oil in a pan.
    • With the thicker, flapped sides down, fry the pot-stickers for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.
    • Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan, cover, and cook at medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
    • Remove the lid and simmer low for 1-2 more minutes.
    • Drain or dry on a rack or towel if so desired.
    • Serve with dipping sauce.

    Steamer Method

    • Place pot-stickers flat-sides down in a bamboo or metal steamer.
    • Cover and place steamer over boiling water for 8-9 minutes.
    • Serve with dipping sauce.



    Spicy Green Beans with Pork or Other Protein Chinese New Year Recipe

    Spicy Green Beans with Pork [or other Protein]

    makes 4 small servings, recipe may be doubled
    Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season


    • 1/2 lb ground pork beef, poultry, about .5 package firm tofu, crumbled, or about 2 c mushrooms, medium dice.
    • 2-3 tbp gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
    • 4-6 water chestnuts diced [optional]
    • 1/2 sweet onion or 1-2 shallots finely diced
    • 2 tsp fresh minced ginger [optional]
    • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
    • 2 dried red chiles or .5-1 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1-1.5 tbs coconut oil olive oil, or vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp - 2 tbs sriracha or other hot sauce gluten-free
    • 340 g [12 oz] green beans washed and trimmed
    • 1-2 tsp vinegar [optional]
    • Chopped spring onions cilantro, or red pepper flakes [optional]


    • Stir soy sauce into ground protein and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
    • In a metal or bamboo steamer, steam green beans for about 2-3 minutes, until just bright green, but still extremely crisp.
    • [Sometimes we cheat and just microwave one of those plastic bags full of green beans for 2.5 minutes]
    • Remove lid and remove beans from heat.
    • Immerse beans in an ice bath for a minute. [optional]
    • Drain and set aside. [optional]
    • Slice the dried chiles and remove and discard the seeds [or measure out some pepper flakes].
    • In a frying pan or wok, heat oil ad dried pepper skins or pepper flakes.
    • Add onion, ginger and garlic and sauté for about a minute.
    • Add ground protein and sauté on medium until golden and lovely, 3-5 mins.
    • Add the sriracha or other hot sauce in a measure of your liking [we used a whole 2 tbs] stirring and sautéing for another minute.
    • Toss in green beans until just coated and combined.
    • Brighten flavour profile with 1-2 tsp vinegar if so desired.
    • Serve, topping with chopped spring onions or additional red pepper flakes if so desired.


    Now, Horsey, Giddyap!

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