This is an often-requested meal in my home. It’s filling, but not heavy; it has plenty of power-packed nutrition, colorful antioxidants, and fat burning power. The more brightly colored veggies you add, the more nutrition you get!
There are plenty of variations on this theme, so I will start out with my Thai-style recipe and give you some other ideas at the end of this recipe.
For individually custom-made wraps, serve the vegetable toppings in separate bowls and let everyone make their own healthy creation. This is a great way to serve to children, as each kid will delight in making their own ‘masterpiece’.
This dish has lots of fresh ginger, a great superfood addition. Ginger is well known as an anti-inflammatory, an immune enhancer, a digestive aid, and can actually kill certain types of cancer cells. So, don’t be shy with the ginger, add as much as you like!
The best type of lettuce for lettuce wraps is organic green or red leaf lettuce, Boston, Bibb or Romaine. Many restaurants use iceberg lettuce in this dish, but iceberg lettuce has virtually no nutritional value.
1 lb of ground grass fed beef, free range ground turkey or chicken
2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste (1/2 tsp or so)
1 small onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp of fresh ginger, grated or minced
Juice of one lime or 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2-3 Tbsp of soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
Hot pepper flakes to taste (just a shake or two will do)
6-8 lettuce leaves, washed and dried
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped in 2” pieces, and sliced vertically
1 sweet red bell pepper, sliced in thin slices
1 small zucchini, grated
2-3 carrots, grated
1 firm but ripe avocado, sliced thin
1 or 2 tomatoes, chopped
Lightly brown the meat in a frying pan with the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat with the garlic, onion, ginger, and salt. Add lime juice, soy, pinch of sugar and a sprinkling of hot pepper flakes. Cook on low for another 1-2 minutes.
Scoop a couple of spoonfuls of the meat mixture on a lettuce leaf, add your choice of whatever suits you, and wrap by folding one end over and then wrapping the sides. (It’s probably going to drip, so hold over a plate). Enjoy!! Serves 2-4 or so depending on how hungry everyone is.
As I mentioned, there are a LOTS of variations on this. You can substitute grass fed thinly sliced grass fed meat like tri tip, flank, ribeye or sirloin steaks, etc. A Mexican version could include black beans, onion, tomato, green chili peppers, lettuce or shredded cabbage, salsa, and avocado or guacamole. Omit the ginger and soy and rice wine vinegar and add a couple teaspoons of cumin.
Lettuce wraps are also a great way to avoid the bread of sandwiches. So anything that you would eat in bread or a bun, just wrap with lettuce instead. I love turkey sandwich ingredients wrapped in lettuce instead of bread, or tuna salad. Even hamburgers are great this way. I have also found a lot of restaurants that have sandwiches on the menu are happy to substitute lettuce for the bread. Use your imagination; the possibilities are endless!
Lettuce leaves also make a great substitute for anything you would wrap in a tortilla—especially corn tortillas—avoid corn as much as possible.
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