Weekend Menu Planning: Lettuce Wraps are Easy and Fun to Eat!

7 years ago

It was sometime in the 90's when lettuce wraps first started appearing on the U.S. culinary scene, made popular by Chinese-American restaurants, especially PF Chang's China Bistro, which has introduced many people to this dish. I remember the first time I tried them, with a friend named Mike who requested lettuce wraps at a restaurant where they weren't actually listed on the menu (but if you were in the know you could get them). The first lettuce wraps I had featured spicy ground chicken, seasoned with hoisin sauce and garlic and served with butter lettuce leaves that you filled with the chicken mixture. I thought they were some of the best things I'd ever tasted, but at that time it never occurred to me how easy they would be to make at home.

Fast forward about 15 years, and recipes for different varieties of lettuce wraps (also called lettuce cups) are turning up in cookbooks and on your favorite food blogs everywhere. They're perfect for people wanting gluten-free or lower-carb eating options, and there are endless options for fillings that taste good folded inside a lettuce leaf. Any type of mild-flavored lettuce that has leaves large enough to fold around the filling can be used, but popular choices include butter lettuce, romaine, and iceberg. For fillings, ground chicken and turkey are popular options, but I also found lettuce wraps made with beef, shrimp, tofu, and even dried beans. If you've never tried making lettuce wraps at home, here are some tasty variations from BlogHer food blogs to tempt you into trying them.

Photo of Asian Lettuce Cups with Ground Turkey and Green Apple
from Steamy Kitchen

Lettuce wraps are often made with ground turkey, and the Asian Lettuce Cups with Ground Turkey and Green Apple from Steamy Kitchen look pretty tempting. Mung bean noodles are an interesting addition to this recipe.

More Lettuce Wraps with Turkey
Quick Weeknight Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Picky Palate
Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps from Shrinking Sisters
Turkey Larb in Napa Cabbage from What We're Eating
Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos with Chiles, Cumin, Cilantro, Lime, and Tomato-Avocado Salsa from Kalyn's Kitchen

Photo of These Asian Lettuce Wraps with Beef
from Dianne's Dishes

These Asian Lettuce Wraps with Beef from Dianne's Dishes also have strips of portobella mushrooms, bell peppers, and rice. You could probably skip the beef and use more mushrooms if you wanted to make this a vegetarian dish.

More Lettuce Wraps with Beef
Thai-Style Beef Lettuce Wraps from Leite's Culinaria
Beef Lettuce Wraps with Kimchi from Playgroups {are no place for} Children
Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Photo of Chicken Lettuce Wraps
from Life's Ambrosia

Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Life's Ambrosia also have water chestnuts and bean sprouts, with a bit of spice and lots of other Asian flavors.

More Lettuce Wraps with Chicken
Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Your HomeBased Mom
Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps with Chicken from Sweetnicks
Chicken Lettuce Wraps Crockpot Recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking
PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps from Wasabimon
Chinese Chicken and Persimmon Lettuce Wraps from Somewhere in the Sun

Photo of Salsa Chickpea Lettuce Wraps
from Happy Herbivore

Salsa Chickpea Lettuce Wraps from Happy Herbivore are vegan, nutritious, and easy to make. If you're looking for a quick dinner, this recipe has only five ingredients.

More Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
Soba Noodle and Vegetable Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin and Chili Sauce from Cookin' Canuck
Roasted Vegetable Lettuce Wraps from A Life Less Sweet
Easy Curried Chickpeas and Quinoa (lettuce or pita wrap) from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Photo of Asian Tofu Lettuce Wraps
from Fab Frugal Food

One thing I hadn't thought of using in lettuce wraps is tofu, but the Asian Tofu Lettuce Wraps from Fab Frugal Food look delicious, and I love the addition of cashews for some crunch!

Even more Interesting Options for Lettuce Wraps:
Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps from 28 Cooks
Lettuce Wraps with Coconut from Wednesday Food Blogging
Jicama Tofu Lettuce Wraps from Book of Yum
Lots of Lettuce Wrap Options from Gluten Free Goddess

Have you tried making lettuce wraps? If you have a good lettuce wrap suggestion or recipe link, we'd love to hear about it in the comments.

(Every week on BlogHer, we spotlight five recipes with a common theme for a feature called Weekend Menu Planning, hoping one of them might make it onto the menu at your house. You can find previous recipes shared by clicking the tag Weekend Menu Planning.)

Kalyn Denny also blogs at Kalyn's Kitchen where she's focused on creating low-glycemic recipes using fresh ingredients. Kalyn never tried a lettuce wrap she didn't like, but her favorite is probably Asian Lettuce Cups (or wraps) with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling.

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