by Olena

Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 23 votes

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These Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a low-carb, quick, and easy mid-week appetizer or main combining chicken (or another protein) with veggies, cashews, and a healthy homemade teriyaki sauce spooned over crisp lettuce leaves for a flavor-packed meal! Serve these Asian lettuce wraps alone or over a bed of rice/cauliflower rice for a healthy, wholesome meal!

For more low-carb meals, you might enjoy these chicken burritos, Greek chicken kabobs, or low-carb chicken enchiladas!

Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Once upon a time, I ordered chicken lettuce wraps every time I saw them on a menu. However, after educating myself more on the additional sodium, oil, and sugar used in restaurant versions (not to mention the price), I now skip those entirely; instead, I’ve learnt how to make my own delicious healthy chicken lettuce wraps! They’re fun to make, easy to customize, and so much healthier!

Making healthier versions of my restaurant/take-out favorites has been a bit of a mission for me. I’ve already shared recipes for chicken tacos, tostadas, chicken alfredo, chicken parmesan, and more. However, for those days where I want something lighter- these healthy Asian lettuce wraps with low-fat chicken are perfect! Plus, once you try them, you won’t be tempted to eat out for them again!

These healthy lettuce wraps combine meat (or tofu!) with cashews (always!), firm veggies (also versatile- use what you have!), and a fair amount of delicious healthy homemade teriyaki sauce for a simple low-carb lunch or dinner. Not only do they rival the flavor of any restaurants’ version, but they’re so much healthier too. Especially since we’re making our own sauce.

Whenever it comes to Asian dishes (like this beef stir fry, chicken stir fry, and teriyaki chicken), I always make the sauce from scratch. Unlike store-bought sauces, my versions avoid the over-loading of sodium, sugars, gums, and preservatives! Instead, this sauce uses a simple combination of soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, ginger, and garlic!

Once prepared, these healthy Asian lettuce wraps are perfect for enjoying as an appetizer or light meal on hot summer days or on special occasions – like a Super Bowl party, the holidays, or potlucks!

Why This Healthy Lettuce Wraps Recipe Works?

  • These healthy chicken lettuce wraps require just a handful of ingredients (most are household staples).
  • It is budget-friendly, too – since most ingredients are likely in your kitchen and the veggies and protein are changeable.
  • Mix and match the protein and veggies for a super versatile meal! These are an excellent meal for raiding the back of your fridge for those ‘starting-to-go-wrinkly’ vegetables.
  • Using a homemade teriyaki sauce makes these Asian lettuce wraps far healthier than when using store-bought sauces! You can control the sodium and sugar levels.
  • These healthy lettuce wraps are also quick and easy to prepare.
  • The wraps are hearty and packed with flavor, yet low-carb!

Ingredients for Healthy Chicken Wraps with Lettuce

All you need for these teriyaki chicken lettuce wraps are a handful of simple ingredients probably already in your kitchen, including:

  • Chicken: I tend to use chicken breasts or thighs. However, ground chicken or ground turkey would also work for these healthy chicken wraps.
  • Lettuce: I recommend using iceberg, romaine, or butter lettuce – check the FAQs for more information on the best lettuce for lettuce wraps.
  • Cashews: These creamy nuts are a popular addition to Asian dishes and work wonderfully in these healthy chicken lettuce wraps to add texture and more healthy fats. You could replace these with toasted almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds. Otherwise, omit them entirely.
  • Vegetables: These healthy chicken wraps are versatile in that any number of veggies will work. I recommend using firm veggies like zucchini, bell pepper, broccoli, etc. You could also use pre-cooked veggie leftovers, like grilled zucchini.  
  • Aromatics: These Asian lettuce wraps use a classic combination of onion, garlic, ginger, and green onion (scallions).
  • Oil: Any neutral cooking oil – like avocado oil- will work. Sesame oil would help to add extra flavor.
lettuce wraps with chicken ingredients

The Asian Lettuce Wrap Sauce:

When combining the below ingredients with garlic and ginger, this simple sauce makes for a healthy teriyaki sauce and is wonderfully aromatic and balanced for these healthy lettuce wraps!

  • Soy sauce: You can use reduced-sodium soy if preferred. For a gluten-free option, use liquid aminos/tamari.
  • Sweetener: I prefer to use maple syrup, though agave, honey, or even granulated sugar should work – though the flavor will vary.
  • Vinegar: Use a light vinegar like rice vinegar or white wine vinegar. You could also use regular white vinegar, though it’s ‘harsher’ in flavor.
  • Cornstarch: You’ll need cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Arrowroot powder or tapioca flour would also work. You can even omit it entirely, but the sauce will be very thin.
  • Water: Needed to create a cornstarch slurry to dissolve the cornstarch.

Keep reading below (after the recipe how-to) for more information on healthy chicken lettuce wrap add-ins and recipe variations!

How to Make Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • 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 veggies. 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 the ingredients: Return the 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.
  • Prepare the Asian dressing: When the chicken is almost done, prepare the dressing. Do so by first creating a slurry with the cornstarch and water, then combining it with the remaining sauce ingredients (soy, maple, vinegar). Whisk well and then pour the 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 finely sliced green onion.
  • Assemble the healthy chicken wraps: Assemble the chicken lettuce wraps by spooning filling into 2-3 stacked lettuce leaves (depending on their thickness)- enjoy!

Optional Add-Ins and Variations

Below are a few optional ‘add-ins’ and seasoning variations for this healthy chicken and rice casserole.  

  • Other vegetables: There are several other vegetables you could add to these healthy chicken lettuce wraps. Broccoli, par-cooked carrot, baby corn, and mushrooms are my favorite extra add-ins. Water chestnuts also work well. However, a stir-fry vegetable pack would also work well (usually containing water chestnuts, bean sprouts, peppers, mushrooms, snap peas, etc.)
  • Fruit juice: The homemade teriyaki sauce can take on even more flavor with the addition of pineapple 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 the Asian lettuce wraps with hot sauce/sriracha.
  • Other protein: This recipe could also work well with large shrimp or tofu – pan fried or air fried (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 for a stir-fried teriyaki chicken rice filling. Though it will no longer be low-carb.

You can also use this filling to wrap up in regularly tortilla wraps or to combine with rice or noodles for a simple stir-fry.

Tips for Best Chicken Lettuce Wrap Results

  • Pre-prepare the ingredients: Make sure the veggies and chicken are pre-chopped, ready when needed.  
  • Keep the lettuce crisp: If your lettuce looks a little wilted, then submerge the leaves in cold/ice water for 5-10 minutes to perk up.
  • Experiment with proteins/veggies: These healthy lettuce wraps are super versatile. Swap out the proteins and veggies to combine with the healthy teriyaki sauce for a recipe that will never get old!
  • Chop the veggies small: To make sure that each bite of the healthy chicken lettuce wrap is bursting with flavor!

FAQs

How much ground turkey would I substitute?

Use a 1lb package of ground turkey in place of the chicken.

How do I keep lettuce from falling apart in wraps?

When using butter lettuce in particular, I recommend stacking 2-3 leaves on top of one another for the healthy lettuce wraps. That way, if one breaks, it still won’t fall apart.

Do lettuce wraps have carbs?

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 lower-carb than traditional tortilla wraps.

Can I used already cooked chicken for lettuce 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 use Air Fryer, Instant Pot, or baked chicken breast, or baked chicken thighs. You can even use rotisserie chicken or Instant Pot whole chicken.

What is the best lettuce for healthy lettuce wraps?

In my opinion, the best lettuce choices for these cashew chicken lettuce wraps are:

Iceberg lettuce – This is what PF Chang’s serves their ground chicken lettuce wraps in. However, while sturdy, it’s not my favorite option. I find the leaves harder to separate, and the flavor is more watery and tasteless than the below varieties. It is also hard to find organic and you know me and my Dirty Dozen.:)
Romaine lettuce – This is my middle option. Romaine lettuce is sturdy and long (for plenty of filling). They’re also super easy to separate and buy organic. However, I’m not a fan of the longboat look.
Butter lettuce – Also known as Boston bibb lettuce, this is my favorite. It 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 but I still buy it for lettuce wraps.:)

I feel like the butter lettuce I used this time (pictured) had leaves that are a bit too small. But hey, it worked and was locally grown.

 Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps served on plates. One plate of lettuce wraps served over brown rice.

Lettuce Wrap Serving Recommendations

You can enjoy these Asian lettuce wraps alone as a low-carb dinner or serve it as a light main alongside one of several side options, like:

You can also add the rice/grains directly into the wraps, so you get all the elements in every bite! This filling also makes for an excellent tortilla filling too!

You can also serve the wraps as an appetizer or as part of a party spread alongside other simple appetizers like parmesan mushrooms or healthy salads like this healthy chicken salad.

Making Asian Lettuce Wraps in Advance and Storing

Storing: These chicken lettuce wraps taste best when freshly made. 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.

I’ll often cook the filling in the skillet earlier in the day, allow it to cool, and transfer the entire thing to the fridge. That way, I can remove it from the fridge straight to the stove at dinner time. It saves time and washing extra dishes!

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 containers in the freezer for up to three 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/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.  

More Healthy Chicken Recipes

You might also want to browse through my complete list of 30-minute meals!

Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps {The BEST!}

These Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a low-carb, quick, and easy mid-week appetizer or main combining chicken (or another protein) with veggies, cashews, and a healthy homemade teriyaki sauce spooned over crisp lettuce leaves for a flavor-packed meal! Serve these Asian lettuce wraps alone or over a bed of rice/cauliflower rice for a healthy, wholesome meal!
4.92 from 23 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 301kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 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 chopped
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce I used aminos
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 head of butter iceberg or Romaine lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 tbsp avocado or any oil for frying

Instructions

  • Make sure all ingredients are chopped and ready.
    Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • 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.
    Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • 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.
    Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • 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.
    Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • 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. If someone is very hungry, serve over a bed of brown rice or quinoa.
    Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Store: Refrigerate filling in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat on a skillet before assembling lettuce wraps. You can also refrigerate washed lettuce leaves wrapped in linen towel for up to 3 days.

    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.

      Notes

      • Instead of chicken breast you can use diced chicken thighs, and ground chicken or ground turkey.
      See recipe post for more notes and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 801mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1660IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 3mg
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