These healthy Asian lettuce wraps are one of our very favorite weeknight meals. It’s a hands-on, soul-satisfying and nutritious one-bowl dinner that your whole family will love!
I’m so excited to be featuring these healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps from my book, Build-a-Bowl this week (new VIDEO below)! These are one of Ella’s very favorite meals (which says a lot coming from a child who could eat pasta every single day for every single meal). But while it’s kid-friendly, it’s far from your average kid food. Naturally lean ground bison (or you could use lean ground beef or turkey), gets simmered with in a flavor-packed sauce and is served with rice and lettuce leaves for wrapping. It’s sophisticated but fun, and I think you’re going to love it.
The meal is easy to make, especially if you break it down into steps. First, you whisk up a quick sauce of chicken broth, tamari (or soy sauce), garlic, ginger, fish sauce (just a touch for umami complexity), brown sugar and cornstarch (which will thicken the sauce). Next, you brown a pound of ground bison (or you could use lean ground beef or turkey), pour in the sauce, and bring it to a simmer. The meat is finished with fresh lime zest and juice, which are like a spotlight brightening all of the flavors.
We serve the meat over brown rice with lettuce leaves for wrapping, along with peanuts, cilantro and sriracha for topping. I love to serve a few cucumbers alongside for crunch. Ella, James and I pile everything onto lettuce leaves like wraps, whereas Juni prefers to eat everything separately with a spoon (I make little piles of each component on a plate for her).
Tips for making Asian lettuce wraps
- You can use ground bison, lean ground beef or ground turkey in the wraps. If using turkey, I prefer dark meat since it’s juicier.
- You can cook the meat in any large skillet you have, but I prefer to use an enameled cast iron skillet, which provides even heat and a natural non-stick surface.
- I serve the meat over brown rice (you could use white instead), which provides substance and helps the meal stretch further. I couldn’t live without my rice cooker, which I use to cook a slew of different grains (Build-a-Bowl features rice cooker instructions for several different whole grains—just be sure to buy a model with a brown rice setting). When cooking brown rice, I always make a double batch and freeze half for down the line (white rice can get mushy once defrosted, so I usually make that fresh).
- The cooked meat can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, meaning you can make it ahead! Reheat it gently in a skillet, adding a few splashes of water to moisten, if needed.
- Go for Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves for these wraps. They’re sweet and tender yet hold their shape fairly well.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to get your hands messy! That’s half the fun. 🙂
You can get a slew of other vibrant one-bowl meals in Build-a-Bowl! (P.s. Can I just tell you how blown away I’ve been with all your support over the book? I have LOVED, LOVED, LOVED seeing all of the dishes you are making from the book—seriously, it makes me so stinking happy! Keep them coming, and don’t forget to tag @fromscratchfast so that I can share!)
Watch the video!
Get the recipe!
Healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps: A One-Bowl Dinner!
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce, as desired
- 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar or honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- ½ medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pound ground bison or lean ground beef
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sriracha or hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon lime zest
- Juice of ½ lime
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- Cooked rice or quinoa
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped peanuts or cashews
- 1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves separated
Make the sauce
- Whisk together the chicken broth, tamari, fish sauce (I use 2 teaspoons of Red Boat brand, which is milder than others), sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch.
Make the meat
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, gingerroot, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the bison and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth mixture, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add a dash or two (or three or four . . . ) of sriracha. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro. Taste and season with additional sriracha and/or lime juice, if desired.
- Spoon the grains into bowls. Top with the meat mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts, and drizzle with sriracha, if you’d like. Serve with lettuce leaves for wrapping.
- The meat mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a skillet, adding a splash or two of water if needed to moisten.
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I’d love to hear what you’re cooking, and I’m happy to answer any questions! #FromScratchFast