Saucy Lettuce Wraps with Chicken

Lettuce in my kitchen
Lettuce in my kitchen

The idea of something wrapped in lettuce does not on the face of it always sound like a main meal to me. But lately, I’ve been craving a concoction I first had at PF Chang’s, and made some this weekend.

My husband was pretty dubious about a food wrapped in lettuce. He didn’t say it, but I”m sure he thought: “Isn’t that salad?” But I think I made a convert this weekend.

If you’ve never had one, they’re pretty simple things. Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves are filled with marinated meats, veggies, crunchy things and topped with a savory sauce. You can be pretty flexible about what you put inside. The key is to making a sauce that has a lot of flavor that you like.

Places like PF Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory and others serve these as appetizers, but I thought they worked well as part of a multi-plate meal (I also served up some stir-fry bok choy and a plate of my grandma’s-style fried rice), and would probably be fine eating just these for dinner. Actually, if I was more carefully watching what I ate, I would just have the wraps as meals. They’re relatively filling, and depending on what you put in them, they can be relatively fat-free.

For my lettuce wraps, I included marinated and stir-fried chicken slices, some thin-sliced, marinated shitake, bean sprouts, julienned carrots that I briefly stir-fried, and deep-fried maifun sticks.

So, like I said, the key is in sauce, something blending salty-sweet-savory-spicy. I’ve seen variations on Thai style chili and lime, various soy-based sauces and more. You just have to find what you like. I happen to love big ginger taste and Hoisin sauce, so below I’m offering up one to my tastes. I’m also including the marinade I used for the chicken.

Both are bastardizations of various recipes I’ve found online, so I’m going to claim them as my own. However, as note, I regularly visit and

Lettuce Wraps
Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wrap Sauce

3 Tbs bottled hoisin sauce
1 1/2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (like Sriracha)
squirt of fresh lime juice

Whisk it all up and refrigerate about an hour to let the flavors meld.

Lettuce Wrap Chicken Marinade

2-4 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
dash of salt and pepper

Mix together all ingredients and pour into a plastic bag. Put in chicken breasts, coat well, squeeze out as much air as possible and marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.

In a hot skillet or wok, cook chicken breast , covered, about 4 minutes on each side (turning only once) until cooked through. Let breasts rest for about five minutes, then slice.

4 thoughts on “Saucy Lettuce Wraps with Chicken

  1. The photo “leatuce in my kitchen’ is the best looking leatuce I’ve ever seen…fits with the catchy “Saucy leatuce….”
    thanks for another good recipe…
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. What a good idea! This week is chicken week (I’m a culinary school student), so I’m looking for new ideas and I love the textural aspect of this (crunch of the lettuce against the creamy texture of the chicken).

    And it looks good, too.


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