Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps made with a tasty sweet and spicy ground turkey filling and topped with carrots, cilantro, and peanuts are a restaurant style meal that's easy to make at home.
These quick and easy Lettuce Wraps filled with a Thai inspired ground turkey filling couldn't be more delicious. The homemade sweet and spicy sauce adds so much flavor to the ground turkey and it all comes wrapped up in a fresh piece of butter lettuce with all the crunchy veggie toppings. It's healthy, full of flavor, and tastes like takeout.
There is nothing better than a good lettuce wrap in my opinion. There is just something about the crunch of the lettuce with the flavorful filling and crunchy toppings that is hard to beat. This version with Thai inspired flavors and crunchy peanuts is just as good as any restaurant version.
The other thing I love about making turkey lettuce wraps is that they are so quick and easy. In less than 15 minutes, you can have dinner on the table. This is also one of those meals that work great if you have picky eaters. Simply serve everything separate and let each person build their own dinner. It's quick, it's easy, and it's a healthy meal that can work for just about anyone.
How to make Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps?
This is one of those recipes that may look slightly complicated based on the ingredient list, but it is actually super easy to prepare.
Start by browning the turkey in a hot skillet. While the turkey is browning, get the sauce ready by mixing together all the ingredients in a small bowl. If you dont' want to spend time mincing garlic and ginger, grab the squeeze tubes in the produce section. They are a great shortcut.
Once you have the sauce ready, start prepping your toppings. Here is another place you can let the supermarket do some of the prep work for you. Grab a bag of shredded carrots instead of chopping your own and get some pre-washed butter lettuce leaves. Most stores also sell chopped peanuts.
Then simply add the sauce to the ground turkey and let it cook for a couple of minutes for the flavors to deepen and mix. Taste and season if needed with an extra splash of soy sauce.
That's it! Dinner is ready in less than 15 minutes.
What's the best lettuce for lettuce wraps?
Most lettuce wraps that are served in restaurants come with butter lettuce. The soft, circular leaves and mild flavor make them perfect for wrapping up almost any filling. With that said, you can use lots of different types of lettuce depending on what you have on hand or what you like. If you like something crunchy, consider using Romaine lettuce or iceberg. Just be aware that the lettuce will be more of a cup than a wrap since that lettuce break when folded.
If you want something heartier, consider using kale or collard greens. To make them more wrap friendly, start by blanching them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes to soften them. Then you can roll the filling right inside of the green.
Recipe Ideas and Variations
There are so many different ways to customize this lettuce wrap recipe and make it your own. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Protein: If you prefer a different protein, this will work with ground turkey, beef, chicken, pork, or a vegetarian ground "meat." It would also work with sliced chicken breast or thighs, pork tenderloin, tofu, or shrimp.
- Sauce: for a less spicy sauce, leave out the red pepper flakes or reduce the amount used. If you like a sweeter sauce, add some extra brown sugar or honey to your sauce. Like things extra garlicky, throw in a few extra cloves. There are lots of simple ways to switch up the sauce to make it exactly what you want.
- Peanut version: If you love Thai peanut sauce, think about adding a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter to the sauce to create a delicious peanut sauce for your lettuce wraps.
- Toppings: Although carrots, green onions, and peanuts make great toppings for these turkey lettuce wraps, there are tons of other options. Think about using bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos, cucumbers, fresh herbs like basil or mint, shredded cabbage, or chopped almonds.
- Bulk them up: Sometimes you may want something to make your lettuce wraps a bit more filling. In those times, I will add a whole grain like quinoa or brown rice to my filling. Other options include cooked rice noodles, edamame, or soba noodles.
- Serving Ideas: Another option is serving this filling in different ways. Lettuce wraps are delicious but you could also make a yummy salad, rice bowls, or even some Thai style tacos.
How to Meal Prep Lettuce Wraps
These are a great recipe to cook and prep for quick and easy meals during the week. There are some tricks to packing lettuce wraps for meal prep to make sure they are just as tasty a few days later.
- Always pack the filling separate from the toppings and the lettuce wraps. When they are packed together, the lettuce and toppings will become soggy.
- Reheat the filling on its own in the microwave or a skillet. Then make the lettuce wraps with the heated filling as you are eating.
- If you are using fresh butter lettuce, leave it attached to the stem until you are ready to pack your meal or eat. The longer it is attached and stays as "living" lettuce, the better it will taste. This also prevents wilting.
- When choosing toppings for meal prep, reach for things that stay crunchy for a few days after being prepped. Choose things like carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, edamame, and other items that can be prepped in advance without losing their texture and crunch.
- Pack the peanuts separate from the vegetables so that they maintain their texture and crunch. Peanuts kept in the fridge will lose their crunch.
Ideas for Picky Eaters
This is one of those meals that may look impossible for picky eaters at first glance, but is actually so easy to make work.
First, decide whether you can include the sauce on the turkey or need to serve the sauce on the side. In our house, I make the sauce (minus the red pepper flakes) and then just serve some Sriracha on the side.
Then I set up everything else on the table and let everyone build their own dinner. I'll also include a bowl of cooked rice or noodles. My pickiest eater usually will end up eating a rice bowl with cooked brown rice, ground turkey, and a few pieces of shredded carrot. She'll eat some edamame on the side as well, most days.
Everyone else just builds their own wraps based on what they like. I love mine with fresh herbs and bean sprouts, but another family member may opt to add some rice to their lettuce wrap and just added carrots, peanuts, and cilantro. Everyone chooses their own meal and everyone is happy.
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Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps
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- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 pound 99% lean ground turkey
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (or honey)
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste, these are spicy)
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
- 4 U cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 U head butter lettuce
- 1/4 U red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 U carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 U green onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped
- 1 U lime, cut into wedges
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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