Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps are 30 minute low carb appetizer or lighter main dish. Serve healthy lettuce wraps alone or over a bed of rice or cauliflower rice.
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Once upon a time, I ordered chicken lettuce wraps every time I saw them on a menu. However, after educating myself more on their ingredients, I now skip those entirely and make my own delicious healthy chicken lettuce wraps at home.
They’re fun to make and easy to customize for a quick healthy dinner.
These Asian lettuce wraps combine meat with cashews, firm veggies, and a fair amount of delicious homemade teriyaki sauce. Not only do they rival the flavor of any restaurant’s version, but they’re so much healthier too.
Ingredients for Chicken Lettuce Wraps
All you need for these healthy chicken lettuce wraps recipe are a handful of simple ingredients you probably have already in your kitchen.
- Chicken: I tend to use chicken breast or chicken thighs. However, ground chicken or ground turkey would also work.
- Lettuce: I recommend to use iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, or butter lettuce.
- Cashews: These creamy nuts add texture and more healthy fats to these healthy lettuce wraps. You can replace them with toasted almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds. Or omit them entirely.
- Vegetables: Many veggies will work. I recommend to use firm vegetables like zucchini, bell pepper and broccoli.
- Aromatics: Fresh yellow onion, garlic, ginger, and green onion.
- Soy sauce: You can also use low sodium soy sauce, liquid aminos, coconut aminos or tamari.
- Sweetener: I prefer to use maple syrup although agave, honey, or even granulated sugar should work.
- Vinegar: Use a light vinegar like rice vinegar or white wine vinegar. You can also use regular white vinegar although it has more harsh flavor.
- Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce. Arrowroot powder or tapioca flour will be great too.
- Oil: Any neutral cooking oil like avocado oil will work. Sesame oil would help to add extra flavor.
How to Make Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Here is a quick overview how to make healthy chicken lettuce wraps in 4 simple steps. There is also full recipe card below.
- Prepare the ingredients: First, clean and chop all the ingredients as needed. Dice the chicken, finely chop the onion, mince the garlic and ginger, and dice all vegetables. You’ll also need to separate the leaves from your head of lettuce, then give them a rinse, too.
- Toast the cashews: Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the cashews, frying until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly. When ready, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Sauté vegetables and chicken: Return skillet to the heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Then, add the chicken to the pan and cook it for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Make sauce and combine: Create a slurry by whisking cold water, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar and cornstarch. Pour sauce into the skillet, adding the veggies at the same time. Cook for a minute or until the sauce has thickened. Then stir in the cashews and green onion.
- Assemble the wraps: Spoon filling into 2-3 stacked lettuce leaves, depending on their thickness, and enjoy!
Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips for the best healthy chicken lettuce wraps in the world!
- Prep ingredients before you start cooking: Make sure the vegetables and chicken are chopped and diced before you light the stove.
- Keep the lettuce crisp: If your lettuce looks a little wilted, then submerge the leaves in cold water bath for 5-10 minutes to perk up.
- Experiment with proteins and veggies: These healthy lettuce wraps are super versatile. Swap out the meat and vegetables to combine with the teriyaki sauce for a recipe that will never get old!
- Chop vegetables small: To make sure that each bite of the chicken lettuce wrap is bursting with flavor!
Fun Additions and Variations
Below are a few optional mix-ins and seasoning variations for these healthy chicken lettuce wraps.
- Other vegetables: Add broccoli, shredded carrots, baby corn, bean sprouts, bell pepper, snap peas and sliced mushrooms. Water chestnuts also work well.
- Fruit juice: The homemade teriyaki sauce can take on even more flavor with the addition of pineapple juice or orange juice in place of some or all the water.
- Spice: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce for a pop of heat. Alternatively, drizzle chicken lettuce wraps with hot sauce or sriracha.
- Other protein: This recipe could also work well with large shrimp or fried tofu (for vegan lettuce wraps). Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Grains: Instead of serving over a bed of rice, you could also add grains directly into the pan.
What to Serve Healthy Lettuce Wraps with?
You can enjoy healthy chicken lettuce wraps alone as a low-carb dinner or serve it as a light main dish alongside one of several side options:
- Rice: Over a bed of brown rice.
- Cauliflower rice: Alternatively, you can serve lettuce wraps with another low carb side dish like cauliflower fried rice, Thai cauliflower rice, and cilantro lime cauliflower rice.
- Roasted veggies: Serve with roasted asparagus or roasted brussels sprouts. Or over spaghetti squash noodles for extra fiber and healthy carbs.
- With simple lettuce salad
How to Store and Reheat
Store: These healthy chicken lettuce wraps taste best fresh. However, you can keep any leftover chicken wrap filling in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Any unused lettuce leaves can also be wrapped in a linen towel and saved for up to three days.
Freeze: I don’t usually freeze the teriyaki chicken filling since it’s so quick and simple to make. However, you can store it in airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Make sure to only add the cashews right before serving, as they will become soggy in the fridge or freezer.
Reheat: Reheat the chicken filling gently on the stovetop for the best results. Add a splash of water if it’s no longer saucy enough.
Iceberg lettuce is what PF Chang’s serves their chicken lettuce wraps in. While sturdy, the leaves are harder to separate, and the flavor is more watery and tasteless. Romaine lettuce is sturdy, long and easy to separate. However, I’m not a fan of the longboat look.
Butter lettuce, also known as Boston bibb lettuce, has a soft texture paired with a nice subtle-sweet taste and pretty round shape. It’s also easy to separate, though you might need to stack a few leaves on top of each other as they can be fairly thin. It is not always available and can be pricey off-season. It is my preference.
When using butter lettuce in particular, I recommend stacking 2-3 leaves on top of one another for the healthy chicken lettuce wraps. That way, if one breaks, it still won’t fall apart.
Use about 1 pound package of ground chicken in place of the chicken breast.
Yes. While the lettuce itself is very low carb, the filling used will still contain carbs. These healthy chicken lettuce wraps are a great option for someone wanting to enjoy a meal that’s lighter than traditional tortilla wraps.
You sure can. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time so it’s added for just enough time to heat up without overcooking. You can cook chicken breast in air fryer, chicken breast in Instant Pot, or use baked chicken breast. You can even use rotisserie chicken.
More Healthy Chicken Recipes
- Healthy chicken salad
- Thai chicken salad
- Low carb chicken enchiladas
- Healthy orange chicken
- Ground chicken burger
- Ground chicken tacos
Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast diced
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 inch knob ginger minced
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 small bell pepper diced
- 1 cup cashews coarsely chopped
- 2 green onion sprigs finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce I used liquid aminos
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 head butter lettuce, iceberg lettuce or Romaine lettuce leaves separated
- 1 tbsp avocado oil for frying
- Make sure all ingredients are chopped and ready.
- Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and add cashews. Pan fry until toasted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Return skillet to medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion, garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add chicken and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Right before chicken is done cooking, in a small bowl add cold water, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar and cornstarch; whisk with a fork. Add to the chicken along with zucchini and bell pepper; cook for 1 minute or until sauce has thickened. Stir in cashews and green onions.
- Serve chicken lettuce wraps immediately. To assemble, use 2-3 stacked lettuce leaves (depending on its thickness) and spoon desired amount of filling on top.
- Store: Refrigerate filling in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat on a skillet before assembling lettuce wraps.
- Freeze: Store chicken filling only (without cashews) in airtight containers in the freezer for up to three months. Then, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
- Instead of chicken breast you can use diced chicken thighs, and ground chicken or ground turkey.