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Lettuce Wraps

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

While Ree’s in NYC, she and I wanted to share this blast from the past, which just happens to be the first Tasty Recipe she posted. Cool, crisp lettuce wrapped around flavorful meat and veggies make a great summertime appetizer or light meal. Enjoy!


I’m excited about the new Tasty Kitchen Blog! Lots of fun new things planned.
Among the shiny new features is a weekly step-by-step of a carefully chosen Tasty Kitchen recipe—one that’s been neither “Featured” nor “Recommended” on the main page. One that might be otherwise overlooked. One that has scrumptious potential.
Today’s step-by-step is what looks to be a lovely, straightforward recipe for Lettuce Wraps, submitted by Tasty Kitchen member tfenger. Ahh, Lettuce Wraps—the wonderfully popular (deliciously so) restaurant appetizer item. I’ve loved them for years. Who knew wrapping a meat and veggie mixture in a lettuce leaf could be such a spiritual experience?
Here’s how you make them.

TPW_5029Here are the ingredients you’ll need. Ground turkey, onion, garlic, fresh ginger, red pepper, water chestnuts, chinese cooking wine (substitutions below), soy sauce, oyster sauce, peanut chili/satay sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and iceberg lettuce. And peanut oil if you have it.

TPW_5030This is ground turkey, but you can use ground chicken or beef, too.

TPW_5034First thing you need to do is dice up the onion, red bell pepper, and garlic.

TPW_5047Then mince some fresh ginger. I used my handy microplane zester, and it works wonders! (Oh, and I store my ginger in the freezer so I always have it available since my grocery store doesn’t carry it.)

TPW_5037Drain a can of water chestnuts…

TPW_5038And dice them up.

TPW_5035Now, cut the core out of a head of iceberg lettuce, then rinse the lettuce under cold water.

TPW_5036Turn over the lettuce and let it drain on a towel.

TPW_5042Combine the remaining ingredients—excluding the wine and peanut oil—in a bowl. Note that all of these ingredients were found at my little grocery store in town, in the Asian Foods section, which is about a two-foot span of shelf in the middle of the store. They didn’t have oyster sauce, so I just used Teriyaki sauce…and it was fine! (I think you could easily just add a little more of all the other ingredients to make up for the oyster sauce (or other ingredient) if you can’t find it.

TPW_5046Stir it around with a fork until combined. Lots of flavor in here!

TPW_5048Now, heat a skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add peanut oil and swirl it around the pan.

TPW_5051Add the onions to the pan and toss them around a bit. Cook them for 4 or 5 minutes, or until translucent.

TPW_5053Add the minced ginger and garlic, and stir it around for a minute or two.

TPW_5056Throw in the ground turkey…

TPW_5057And cook it until it’s all browned.

TPW_5058Add the diced red pepper and water chestnuts…

TPW_5059Stir it around and cook it for a few more minutes…

TPW_5060Then dump in the Chinese cooking wine. I didn’t have this, so I just used regular white wine. Cooking sherry would be okay, too. Stir it around until the wine evaporates just a bit.

TPW_5063Next, pour in the yummy sauce!

TPW_5065I will say that I misread the instructions and initially added the cooking wine to the sauce. It turned out to be just fine; this sauce is very forgiving!

TPW_5071Stir it around to combine, and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

And that’s it!

TPW_5073Now separate the lettuce leaves.

TPW_5074And spoon the warm mixture…

TPW_5089Into the cold leaves. I threw in a little cilantro for extra flavor. Yum!

TPW_5085Then you just roll ‘em up into a tight little wrap, lean over your plate (important) and chow down!

They’re a little messy, but wonderfully so. The flavors are really, really nice and balanced, and you can easily add things like diced cashews, red pepper flakes…whatever floats your boat.

VERDICT: I’ll make these again. They’re perfectly delicious, and can be easily adapted and enhanced with whatever extras—or extra spice—suit your taste. Major yum.

Here’s a link to the recipe:

Lettuce Wraps by tfenger

Thanks, tfenger, for sharing!


Comments are closed for this recipe.

Dawn-Renée on 8.15.2010

Am I the only one that thinks this recipe is pretty different than the original by tfenger? I made it, took some from Ree’s and some from tfenger’s and it was yummy, but they were fairly different. Just sayin’!

Debra Cannon on 8.13.2010

These are FANTASTIC! Definitely went straight into the keeper pile!

ExieNez on 8.12.2010

Oh, I have some leftover brisket that would substitute great here I think. Cant wait to serve this to my hubby tonite…ha ha ha. I don’t think he’s ever seen a lettuce wrap before.

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cookincanuck on 8.8.2010

These would be a big hit with my family. I love how easily a meal like this can come together on a busy night.

The Bitch Stopped Cooking on 8.7.2010

These look awesome! Thank you for sharing them, I am always looking for a fresh recipe that is appropriate for summer. Great photos, too! Can’t wait to make them!

MaIrene on 8.7.2010

I made these with beef. They were delicious. I thought that they were as good as the ones that I’ve had at restaurants. They were popular even with a very picky, unadventurous crowd. I was impressed that I was able to get all the ingredients at the small town grocery store, too!

MeMe on 8.7.2010

i see the comments about how wonderful this recipe looks and how everyone wants to make it.
Has anyone tried it? How did it turn out?

Paula on 8.7.2010

looks great and so delicious!

Have a nice time!

Haley C on 8.6.2010

These are so good! I loved this recipe and I put the left over meat mixture in wonton wrappers and fried it up like a normal wonton and it was delicious too!

Diana Dean on 8.6.2010

I made these with lean ground beef and substituted a few ingredients and they were delicious. I liked that I could monitor the fat and calorie content as I heard the lettuce wraps at PF’Changs are outrageous in calories etc.

Great recipe, thanks for sharing!!

mary k on 8.6.2010

just made these for a dinner trade this week. the recipes between the printable and the photo one differ though. carrots/celery vs pepper, and printable doesn’t have the wine and green onions are on one and not the other.

sorta did a mix cuz didn’t notice til half way through. still good! used napa cabbage leaves.

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pattilouwho on 8.6.2010

i make something very similar but I add broccoli slaw to the mix for some added crunch. so yummy!

Kim Warren on 2.26.2010

The Cheesecake Factory’s lettuce wraps are killer – made with chicken breast strips and 3 sauces with great toppings. But these look really easy and I will try them.

Tammy on 2.2.2010

I love your website!

Tammy on 2.2.2010


You do not need to put your recipes on this page….you are published….if they want to find you, let them find you on Pioneer Woman and they will learn to appreciate how you’ve come to age!
I love your story and have tried so many recipes and told my girlfriends your story. When they ask for a new recipe….I say go to!

Please you are way to important to go on to this website…be true to yourself!

I hope you come to Crocker Park at Barnes & Noble in Westlake, OH.

You are the woman…and I am a huge fan.
Mother of a 13 yr old and 10 yr old boys!!

Marlboro Man’s favorite casserole is now my family’s casserole!

Please, they will come…I do need help with photography…
new theme…ABC photo’s – spell ART !!

fellow cook

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Brooke on 2.2.2010

If you whack the head of lettuce core side down off the counter, it will break out easily. Faster than cutting….

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Kelly Steadman on 2.1.2010

Made these over the weekend…SUCCESS!!! Dese are yums!

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farmersfudge on 1.30.2010

Reminds me of PF Changs

Sarah on 1.28.2010

Make a similar version of these all the time. Try adding some celery for a little more crunch, or for an alternate sauce some rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and peanut sauce (home made or from the jar). Add some chow mein noodles, and cook up some jasmine rice using coconut milk (recipies can be found online) and it becomes a whole meal and not just a starter! Works well in a wok too if you have one lying around!

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goodlifeeats on 1.28.2010

I am hungry now!!

Emie on 1.28.2010

These look wonderful! The lettuce in the wraps I’ve had at restaurants is always so crisp… I can’t seem to get them that crisp at home… any suggetions?

Heidi on 1.27.2010

Made this recipe for dinner tonight. I was worried because I got home late from work and I had an unexpected guest and I thought I wouldn’t get dinner on the table before my husband had to leave for an evening meeting. Unlike the experience April (previous commenter) had, this came together in no time flat! I had it on the table in under 20 minutes. And SO tasty!

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cookinmama on 1.27.2010

PF Changs does a fabulous lettuce wrap. I am looking forward to trying these as well.

April on 1.27.2010

I made these last night to rave reviews. They turned out great. I was concerned about the ground turkey – that my husband would complain. Instead he suggested we add this recipe onto our list of routine week night recipes. They took a little longer than I would have liked for a weeknight recipe, but it’s worth it!

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kATieCooKs on 1.27.2010

These sound great!! I would like to try a Mexican version also.

Thorney on 1.27.2010

Tomorrow night’s dinner.(I am becoming dependent on you for my weekly meni planning . . . I may need a 12-step group:)

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amybossard on 1.26.2010

Made this recipe tonite without the lettuce or onions. The ground turkey released alot of water so I had to let it simmer a bit longer but it came out beautifully! Chinese food on Tuesday night is a treat as our favorite authentic restaurant is closed. Thanks for sharing!

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ashpags on 1.26.2010

Oh my goodness, these look amazing. Thanks for highlighting them…I’ve added ‘em to my TK recipe box.

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alisoncm on 1.26.2010

I think I just figured out what is for dinner tonight! Thank you!

Joy Kennel on 1.26.2010

Photos are GORGEOUS! Makes my mouth water just to see them. Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen on 1.26.2010

thanks for sharing this Ree—there’s no way I’d ever find all the goodness on this website! This looks so yummy!!!

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soufflebombay on 1.26.2010

I love this idea…that you are cooking your way through a members recipe! So cool!!

Jan on 1.26.2010

Did you know you don’t have to cut the core out of a head of lettuce?

All you do is turn it over and whack the stem end of the lettuce hard on the counter. It breaks the core nicely out of the surrounding leaves and all you have to do is remove it.

Much more fun than cutting it out any day…takes care of all kinds of aggression!

I will have to try this recipe…love lettuce wraps at PFChangs, but can’t afford to go there too often!

Michelle on 1.26.2010

Oohhh…this looks so delicious!!! But…how was the salt content? I know oyster sauce is a salty sauce and teriyaki sauce is a sweet sauce…so I just wanted to know the salt content! Thanks~

Lady Cracker on 1.26.2010

The photography was fabulous too. I agree with the Ungourmet that the shot with the steam coming off of the pan was outstanding.

Jennie on 1.26.2010

These look totally yummy… and I would make them for lunch today but there are a lot of ingredients in there I don’t usually have on hand. =( Maybe next week after grocery shopping again? Also, this is a great idea, and I can’t wait to see what you make next week! =D

Torjie Sweeten on 1.26.2010

Oooohhh you just have to add the flash fried asian rice sticks (they look like vermicelli)…It really makes a difference! I fix these all the time. Also I use green onions, with the tops & no red pepper. It will turn out just like PF Changs.

Therese on 1.26.2010

Hey, tfenger, thanks for this great looking recipe! I think I have everything in the house except for the lettuce and fresh ginger. Plus, it gives me a chance to use some of those ingredients that I bought while in a cooking frenzy but that now sit on the shelf, unused.

My plan is to ask my grown son to make these for us.

I’m not as dumb as I look. :)

theUngourmet on 1.26.2010

Love these wraps and the photo with the steam swirling up from the pan is fantastic!!

Kay on 1.26.2010

I got to say I really love the blog with the step by step pictures. It really helps those of us (well me) that are more visual.

These look so yummy, I can’t wait to try them.

Bekka on 1.26.2010

What a great idea to pick out an “unknown” recipe.

These sound wonderful!

Susan Hekimoglu on 1.26.2010

Our favorite appetizer @ PF Changs. Can’t wait to try this recipe with my daughter. We’ve made a 2010 Resolution to cook together trying new recipes more often. Thanks so much for the actual photo instructions for us up-and-coming cooks!

Amy on 1.26.2010

I was planning on making lettuce wraps this week for dinner and wasn’t sure which recipe I wanted to follow…I think I found it! Thanks!

megank on 1.26.2010

I found a recipe online for PF Changs lettuce wraps… so yummy

Janette on 1.26.2010

They look so easy to make, I can’t wait to try them. I always eat them at PF Changs but have never considered making them. Now I will, thanks!

Spruce Hill on 1.26.2010

These look fantastic I have a recipe using peanut sauce and sausage but I like this one! Gonna try it this week

Nancy on 1.26.2010

Looks yummy and healthy but I have to say that uncooked ground turkey is a disturbing shade of pink. I suppose disturbing in a good way. Or maybe my store doesn’t have the freshest ground turkey because it never looks that pink….now there’s a really disturbing thought. Think I’ll discuss ground turkey age with the butcher next time I’m in there.

Madeline St Onge on 1.26.2010


Trudy on 1.26.2010

These sound great. I think my 5 year old daughter would even like them because of the novelty of wrapping something in lettuce.

Side note… on the photo of the water chestnuts and what I believe is the diced red pepper being added? The caption lists it as red onion. Oops!

Judy from Kentucky on 1.26.2010

I will have to make this soon. Sounds so filling and healthy.