Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
The weather is quickly warming up and I crave something fresh, light and easy to make! I LOVE these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps because they can be as simple or dressed up as you want and they taste great. Make these on any weeknight or invite friends over for a taco style party where everyone can dress their own wraps however they’d like.
For this lettuce wrap recipe, I used ‘Larb,’ or Laos/Thai style minced meat as the protein style. Traditionally, it is cooked with fish sauce, lime juice, fish paste and ground toasted rice and chili pepper and herbs such as mint or basil are added. I kept it simple and skipped the fish paste and rice.
With this recipe, the ingredient list may seem long but the recipe is very simple and easy. There are a lot of spices and liquids but that’s where all the flavor for your wraps comes from so don’t let yourself miss out. I also used quite a bit of garnish vegetables but you don’t have to add as many if you don’t feel the need. However, I love a healthy serving of colorful vegetables and love a colorful plae so this recipe is practically a rainbow on a plate for me.
Considering the ingredients, the recipe is still super quick! You’ll have dinner on the table in no-time if you stick with the basic idea. There are only three major steps to keep in mind:
PREP THE VEGGIES
MAKE THE SAUCES
COOK THE CHICKEN
If you follow this basic outline, this meal is a no-brainer. Let me show you!
Prep the Veggies:
The main idea is to dress your lettuce wraps with 2-3 hearty sliced veggies and then garnish with a fresh herb or two. You don’t have to take the time to use all of the ingredients pictured here. The typical Thai vegetable garnish mainly consists of red pepper, carrot and/or cucumbers and the herbs almost always consist of cilantro and/or green onions… all of which happen to be some of my absolute favorites. The freshness and crunch are just perfect for spring and summer recipes. Add a lime wedge and you’ve got summer on a plate.
Make the Sauces:
For these wraps you’ll need two sauces… One to cook the chicken in, which gives it flavor, and one that acts as a dressing to top the wrap with. They aren’t complicated and can be made with what’s already in your pantry so just dump all the ingredients into a small bowl, stir and use. These sauces will add so much flavor and richness to this light dish so don’t skip them. They are umami-packed secret weapons!
Cook the Chicken:
You could use larb protein variations such as ground beef, pork, tofu or diced mushrooms for a vegetarian spin or minced vegetables for an ultra healthy option. I chose ground chicken because it’s relatively healthy, hearty and still cooks up in a flash but also soaks up all the flavor of the sauce. Plus, most people love chicken so it’s a win to serve to a group.
Cooking the chicken takes only 15 minutes. You saute the aromatics, add the chicken and when it’s almost finished cooking add in the herbs, spice, and sauce! IT’S THAT EASY.
Let’s get cooking!
Scroll down for the video of this process
Thai Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce
Prep: 20-30 min
Active Cook Time: 15 minutes
16oz ground chicken
4 scallions chopped – whites and greens divided (greens set aside)
3 cloves garlic – crushed
1 tsp ginger – grated
1.5 tbs olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
¼ tsp Thai chili pepper or 1tsp sriracha
1tsp frozen Thai or Italian basil – minced (or 1tbs fresh basil will also work)
Sauce for Chicken:
1 tbs honey
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
1/3 cup low sodium tamari
½ Lime – juiced
2 Tbs peanut butter
1 Tbs honey
½ lime -juiced
2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs tamari
Pinch of sea salt (1/4 tsp)
1 Head Butter Lettuce – washed
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
Optional (choose 2-3 if simplifying):
1 carrot – julienned
½ small daikon – julienned
½ red bell pepper – thinly sliced
¾ cup thinly sliced red cabbage
½ English cucumber – seeded and diced
1 serrano pepper – seeded and thinly sliced
4 stems of scallion greens – thinly sliced
cooked vermicelli rice noodles
crushed chili peanuts
Thai Basil leaves
Prep and chop all the raw vegetables, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
If using, cook vermicelli noodles according to package directions and set aside.
Make the peanut sauce: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the consistency is thin and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients for the chicken sauce and set aside.
Set a large, non-stick sauté pan on medium heat and add ½ tbs olive oil. Add scallion whites and sauté until fragrant. Add garlic and ginger and sauté 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Push garlic, ginger and onions aside and add 1 Tbs olive oil to the empty portion of the pan. Add the ground chicken and break it up with the side of a wooden cooking spoon. Cook chicken until it starts to change color and loses pink. Once the chicken has started to cook, stir all ingredients together to incorporate and turn the heat up to medium high. Add the Thai chili pepper or sriracha and the Thai basil and stir to combine. Add the chicken sauce and sauté until sauce begins to thicken. Once sauce has reduced by half and chicken is fully cooked, turn off the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
Arrange all the cold vegetables on a platter along with the lettuce leaves. Serve with the chicken, noodles and peanut sauce on the side. Garnish with crushed chili peanuts and lime wedges. Let everyone make their own lettuce wraps adding whatever ingredients they choose! Enjoy.