I’m always looking for new ways to serve chicken and I bet you are too.
While chicken lettuce wraps might not be new way to eat chicken, I’m guessing they’re more of a dine-in or take-out thing and that most of us haven’t tried to make them at home.
Well, that changed in my house!
It was time to steer away from the boring chicken and rice or chicken and pasta that we all turn to because we’re stuck in a recipe rut.
So, why not try something new?
With not a whole lot of effort, you can surprise your family with something they may have enjoyed from a restaurant but haven’t eaten at home. And for a whole lot less money, by the way.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Simple to Make−Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Source: Spoon Fork Bacon
Lettuce wraps offer a filling and gratifying low-carb option for those of you who are watching your carb intake.
But don’t worry. There’s no chance you’ll go hungry just because your chicken is delivered to your stomach via a lettuce wrap. These wraps are pumped full of flavor and heft with not just the chicken, but also a healthy dose of shiitake mushrooms.
For those of you not as concerned about carbs, lettuce wraps are just a delicious option!
In fact, using the lettuce adds a satisfying crunch and texture that’s missing from many chicken dishes.
Don’t get me wrong. I love chicken and rice. In fact, I had it last night. But having an option for another way to enjoy chicken keeps me out of that recipe rut we all tend to get stuck in.
Keep reading for all the real-kitchen insights on making these “restaurant only” wraps at home.
Ten things to know about the Chicken Lettuce Wraps recipe:
- Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list! The ingredients are conveniently separated into four different groups (chicken, sauce, assembly, and garnish), but there isn’t anything out of the ordinary (except two elusive ingredients…keep reading). You most likely have most of these ingredients in your house right now.
- The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but we used chicken breast. My family has a strong (probably unfounded) dislike of chicken thighs, so I never have them in the house. What do we have? Chicken breast. All the time. So that’s what I used.
- You could substitute ground chicken or ground beef in this recipe. Either would be great and, if your family has a strong preference, why not? It’s not always about making the recipe exactly as it’s written. Sometimes it’s about using what you prefer and what you have on hand. Be creative and daring!
- I couldn’t find bamboo shoots or water chestnuts, so I didn’t include those. Did we miss out on some crunch and flavor? Yes. Did I miss the ingredients themselves? I have to say no. I would have liked the bamboo shoots, but water chestnuts fall on my no-go list, so I may have omitted them anyway. My husband is a fan of water chestnuts so I did make the effort to find them, but was not disappointed when they were AWOL at the grocery store. What we really missed without these two ingredients was the crunch they offer. Keep reading to see how we added in our own crunch.
- Be very careful when you sauté your garlic. The recipe instructs you to heat your skillet over high heat and then sauté your ginger, garlic, and shiitake mushrooms for 5 minutes. Garlic is temperamental and can burn very quickly, especially over high heat. Either sauté the garlic over medium-high heat and then add in the ginger and mushrooms before you crank the heat to high OR go ahead and sauté the ginger and mushrooms then add the garlic toward the end of the 5 minutes. Just don’t burn the garlic. That’s a taste no one wants in their Chicken Lettuce Wraps!
- Feel free to adapt this recipe to your family’s taste. It’s ok to forego an ingredient like I did with the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. We lost the crunch from these (keep reading to see how we replaced that crunch), but did I really lose something when I’m not a fan of the taste of water chestnuts? I don’t think so.
- Toasting your sesame seeds is critical to the flavor, but don’t leave them unattended while they toast. Be patient and toast them over a medium-high heat. Never leave them alone. Shake the pan the entire time you’re toasting the sesame seeds. These things can burn in a heartbeat, so watch them closely.
- What did I add for crunch? Cashews! When I omitted the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts because I couldn’t find them at the grocery store, I knew I would need to add a crunch to this dish beyond the lettuce. The lettuce provides a necessary crunch, but this dish calls for more crunch. Enter cashews. They pair well with the Asian flavor profile of this dish and add a slightly salty, crunchy goodness. If you don’t have cashews, lightly salted peanuts would work well too.
- Spoon Fork Bacon offers make-ahead and freezing options for this recipe. If you’re looking to prep for a party or want to double-batch this recipe and freeze half (which would be simple to do), be sure to check out their recommendations.
- Double layer the lettuce! We used butter lettuce and the heft of the chicken mixture was too heavy for one leaf of lettuce. It’s a lot like when you get double tortillas on street tacos. Just like you need that second tortilla to support all the yumminess in the taco, you need that second lettuce leaf to support all the weight of the chicken and mushrooms in these lettuce wraps.
Next time you’re thinking you want take out, think again and try these Chicken Lettuce Wraps. You’ll be amazed not only that they’re Simple to Make, but that they’re a delicious and less expensive alternative to the ones you’ll find on the restaurant menu. Shoot us a note and let us know what you think!