Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

It’s Taco Tuesday, and this week I’ve taken some poetic license. I always think of lettuce wraps as a form of taco (you know, replace the tortilla with lettuce) but Evan pointed out that you can also replace the bread of a sandwich with lettuce, which results in a very similar product. I suggested that lettuce wraps can be whatever the chef intended them to be, and Evan just raised his eyebrows at me. This is our life…sometimes debating world affairs, sometimes classifying lettuce usage.

Lettuce Wraps 2   For the sake of blogging, at least, I’m proposing that today’s Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps fit the bill for Taco Tuesday. They’re pretty simple (ground meat, some veggies, seasoning) and totally delicious. I know that many lettuce wraps are topped with deep fried rice noodles for the crunch, but I’m sporadically on a health kick (as long as you don’t consider yesterday’s cream pie) so I used julienned carrots and cucumbers, which were just as crunchy and far less deep fried. But hey, this is America, so have all the deep fried noodles you like, if you’re so inspired. Either way, the lettuce wraps are a perfect week night dinner choice, so give them a try!

LEttuce Wraps 3

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

–          1 lb ground chicken
–          2 tbsp olive oil
–          ½ onion
–          1 bell pepper
–          8 oz mushrooms
–          2 cloves garlic
–          2 inch piece of ginger
–          1/4 cup hoisin sauce
–          2 tbsp sriracha sauce
–          2 tbsp soy sauce
–          1 tbsp sesame oil (don’t leave this out or substitute it!)
–          Lettuce
–          2 Carrots
–          1 Cucumber
–          2 Green onions

Prepare the ingredients: dice the onion and pepper, and chop the mushrooms to similar sized pieces, and set aside. Mince the garlic finely, and peel and mince the ginger. (I like to use a microplane for ginger, but many people mince it the same way they would garlic…do whatever feels right for you.) In a separate bowl, make the sauce by mixing the hoisin, sriracha, soy and sesame oil. Separate the lettuce leaves (I used iceberg, because my grocery was completely out of everything else, but bibb lettuce and romaine are great alternatives with solid leaves), rinse and dry. Shred the carrots and the cucumber, and thinly slice the green onion for chopping.

Make the filling: preheat a heavy bottomed pan to high heat. When it’s hot, add olive oil and then add the ground chicken, stirring with a wooden spoon to break it up. In my experience, chicken releases a fair amount of liquid- continue to cook until that liquid has evaporated, and the chicken is slightly browned. At that point, add the vegetables with the garlic and ginger and cook for about three more minutes, until the veggies are softened, and the mixture is fragrant. (Remember to maintain pretty high heat, and keep moving the mixture!) When everything is cooked through, stir in the sauce and continue to stir fry for a minute, so the sauce is mixed in and everything is hot.

Assemble: lay out the lettuce leaves and spoon in the mixture (depending on what lettuce I’m using, I sometimes double the leaves so they’re less flimsy). Top with cucumber, carrots and green onions, and keep some extra sriracha in case you want a bit more spice. Enjoy!Lettuce Wraps

This entry was posted in Food.
  • Ohh I should do lettuce wraps far more often than I do. What a nice, healthy idea. 🙂

  • I absolutely love these posts and I’m thinking of instituting a taco tuesday night at my house! However do you eat anything with the tacos? I have a feeling this might not be enough food for my hubby! (And we debate the same kinds of weird things all the time!)

    • Erin

      You, at first I was going to say that we usually don’t eat anything with them, because I usually don’t. But then I realized that Evan always adds something- either chips and salsa/guac, or rice and beans, or just black beans, or spicy rice. So, for me, no- tacos is plenty of food! But Evan does do some easy sides 🙂

  • I love the little heads of butter lettuce for wraps like these and applaud your use of carrot sticks over fried noodles. Jicama and radishes are also great crunch options, the former lending a nice cooling effect.

    • Erin

      I keep meaning to look into jicama, but it’s so unfamiliar that I never pick one up! That needs to change- maybe this weekend I can try it out 🙂