Originally posted December 1, 2013. Updated June 2015.
I was a latecomer to the lettuce wrap rave. About five years ago, we were at one of our favorite restaurants and I was the only person at the table who hadn’t tried them. My husband placed our order for this appetizer after he and my mom went on about how fantastic they were. After reading the menu’s description, I loved the concept of using a vegetable as an edible “scoop” for the seasoned chicken filling–something I’d probably use a tortilla shell or chip for.
When the plates arrived, everyone reached for a lettuce leaf and scooped a serving of steamy, garlic and ginger seasoned chicken into it. I followed their lead then rolled the lettuce leaf around the filling–like a burrito. The crispy lettuce gave a fresh balance to the savory, salty chicken mix. I took my first bite and I was hooked. My only complaint was…why wasn’t this served as an entree instead of an appetizer? I could’ve easily eaten the entire plate by myself!
Fast forward a few years later to my cooking class where my clients were requesting a class featuring five-ingredient recipes. Fortunately, Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine had a “Take 5″ section with (you guessed it!) five-ingredient recipes and Teriyaki Turkey Lettuce Wraps was one of them. We followed the easy recipe and everyone loved it! I knew my family would, too, but I made several modifications to make it even better and healthier. I used lean ground turkey, freshly grated carrots and swapped sweet onion in place of scallions (only because I rarely keep scallions on-hand, but I use them when I have them); for a bit more “meatiness,” I added chopped mushrooms and brightened things up with my favorite fresh herb, cilantro (oh yeah!). I’ve served this on both baby romaine hearts and classic, crispy iceberg lettuce leaves.
This recipe is quick, simple and a great way to incorporate lots of colorful and flavorful vegetables into a family meal. If you’re cooking with kids, use this opportunity to talk with them about the vitamin A in carrots that helps with night vision (like a superhero!) and the vitamin D in mushrooms that helps build strong bones (like an athlete!)! Using crispy, low calorie lettuce leaves as a wrap is an excellent way to keep calories controlled while boosting fiber and antioxidants in your meal.
My wraps may not be restaurant quality, but they are devoured by my family every time they’re served. At the end of my day, that’s what matters most:)
Hope you give this recipe for my turkey lettuce wraps a try and enjoy them as much as we do!
*Because previous social media sharing information will not transfer to my updated website, I am proud to note that this recipe was pinned on Pinterest over 400 times! This is my most "shared" recipe to date. Thank you!
Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Recipe by Christy Wilson
Makes about 12 wraps
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cups carrots (about 4-5 medium), shredded
- ¾ cup onion, chopped
- 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup bottled teriyaki sauce
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup (about a handful) cilantro, chopped
- 1 head iceberg lettuce (or baby romaine hearts), leaves separated, rinsed and dried by dabbing them with a clean dishcloth or several paper towels
Directions In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Season ground turkey with ground ginger, garlic powder and pepper then add to skillet. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon as it browns. Cook about 5 minutes or until meat is almost cooked through–but still slightly pink. Remove from skillet and place into a bowl; cover loosely with foil to keep meat warm. Set aside.
Using the same large skillet, add shredded carrots and onions and cook over medium heat until vegetables soften (about 3 minutes). As this cooks, pick up any turkey bits (adds flavor!) with your spatula and combine ingredients.
Add mushrooms and garlic to the skillet and mix to combine ingredients. Cook all vegetables until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add reserved browned turkey to the vegetables. Add teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and cilantro to the meat and vegetable mixture. Combine all ingredients together and cook over medium heat.
Adjust amount of herbs and sauces to taste. Lower heat and simmer, allowing all flavors to meld. Top with cilantro.
While turkey mix is simmering, prepare lettuce leaves. Use a clean dishcloth or paper towels to dry leaves well.
Divide about 1/3 cup of turkey mix among lettuce leaves.
Serve with a side of fresh carrot sticks and garnish with extra cilantro.