Healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

So it turns out that strong black coffee is not meant to be had at 9:30 at night.

Granted, I did have a long-ish lab report to do and had an ochem midterm today so I needed some liquid energy, but two cups was probably overdoing it. Just know that at the moment, I’m practically bouncing off the walls.

One good thing about being so hyped up on caffeine? I have the energy to get up this here tasty post at 1:30 a.m. :shock: .

ANYWAYS. Let’s bounce towards the main point of this post: Healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

When it comes to different cuisines, asian food has always held a special place in my heart. Maybe it stems from all those weekly family gatherings at my obachan’s house, or maybe it comes from the delicious sweet and salty flavors that are characteristic of a lot of asian dishes (sugar+soy sauce on everything, please), but I just plain luuuuuuuuurrrrrve Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese/Korean dishes.

Healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

I know I’ve said this before, but growing up with a Japanese mom and Norwegian dad lends itself to a pretty weird culture mix. Holidays involved Japanese festivals and dressing up in traditional Japanese clothing along with marching in my little bunard dress waving Norsk flags around for syttende mai (the Norwegian national day). Weekly dinners involved copious amounts of steak and potatoes, as well as hot sukiyaki, curry, and sashimi topped with raw salmon eggs and octopus at my obachan’s house. I don’t think I even tried more all-American fare like meatloaf or baked beans until I started dating Kyle and eating over at his house, even though I’ve lived in the US almost all my life.

NorwegianJapanese collage

Even Christmas was celebrated differently. Unlike most families that get together on Christmas day, the festivities for my extended family start on Christmas Eve. We all fit into one house that’s practically bursting at its seams with all the people and love in it and open presents after a fantastic dinner. It wasn’t till I got older that I realized that most kids had to wait till the next morning to open presents and have the traditional Christmas celebrations (muhahah).

Since Christmas day is always left open, we have a family tradition of going out to a nice Chinese restaurant for a big lunch. One of my favorite dishes have always been their delicious lettuce wraps which include a mouthwatering sweet and salty ground beef that’s filled with crunchy water chestnuts. As soon as the waiter would bring the dish to the table, my cousins and I would make a beeline to serve ourselves a heaping pile on a crisp piece of lettuce and spoon a little extra sauce on top. <—— –the BEST.

These are a spin off of those taste lettuce wraps, only they’re much more pimped out thanks to the addition of toppings like roughly chopped peanuts and crunchy carrots for extra texture. AND they’re healthified. Lean ground beef (or your choice of meat, pork and chicken would work great as well) cooked with a little olive oil for healthy fats and, if you’re looking for a dinner that’s low in carbs, the lettuce wraps make the dish come out with only 7g of carbs per wrap naturally. I made a big batch for dinner tonight and Kyle and I inhaled all of it within a day.

I’m telling you, these wraps are that good!

Healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

5.0 from 10 reviews
Healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10 wraps
  • 1¼ lb 96% lean ground beef (or any ground meat you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, diced
  • ¾ cup water chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 5 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Bibb lettuce
  • Optional toppings:
  • shredded carrots
  • roughly chopped peanuts
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • chopped green onion
  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Add in the ground beef and break it apart with a cooking spoon into smaller pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook till no longer pink. Set aside on a separate plate.
  2. In the same pan, cook the onion, garlic, and ginger for 3-4 minutes. Add the meat and water chestnuts into the pan.
  3. Stir in the hoisin sauce and soy sauce and cook everything together for a few minutes.
  4. To serve, place the meat mixture in the lettuce cups and top with shredded carrots, peanuts, sesame seeds, green onion, and extra hoisin sauce.
*Makes 10 lettuce wraps
*Extra toppings not included in nutritional data
*Hoisin sauce can be found in the asian section in most grocery stores. It's not too exotic- I promise!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 lettuce wrap (recipe makes 10) Calories: 120 Fat: 5.8g Saturated fat: 2.1g Carbohydrates: 7.3g Sugar: 1g Sodium: 253mg Fiber: 0.8g Protein: 10.4g Cholesterol: 28mg

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  1. says

    These look amazing! Sometimes I drink coffee late at night without even realizing it. I’ll be drinking coffee and then I’m like oh shit…what time is it?! Then I’m like, welp, guess I’ll be staying up for a little while now!
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  2. Autumn Wieland says

    Ohhh yes I LOVE asian food!! Id take that over a hamburger any day! The sweet/soy sauce “syrup” on asian food has got to be one of my favorites! Could drink that stuff with a straw!
    Absolutely no coffee for me after supper or I will be awake till the sun rises (jk). But that stuff can mess me up!
  3. says

    I honestly thought that the asian lettuce wraps at restaurants were healthy for SO long! I got a little sad when I realized they were quite the opposite.

    I had no idea you were Norwegian! This European mutt is very very jealous. And just you wait – drink coffee at night enough and soon you’ll be tired fifteen minutes later…although that may not be a good thing. ;)
    Emma @ Life’s A Runner recently posted…Thinking Out Loud – Killer Bumblebees.My Profile

  4. says

    My family has a HUGE Christmas Eve party, so your little Christmas references brought back some lovely memories. At PF Changs they have these Asian lettuce wraps that I love! This is like a healthier (and much cheaper!) version! Your pictures are also gorgeous! xx

  5. says

    Girl… your pictures!! WHOA! That new camera is doing some good :) These look incredible. I made copycat PF Changs lettuce wraps once and they were freaking amazing. I’d like the leftovers for these, please!
    • says

      Hahah thanks girl! This comment totally made me smile. The new camera + better lighting + taking more time to stage pictures right have been making a big difference lately. Mhmm I bet your version was delicious!
  6. Autumn Wieland says

    Yessss! Just made this for lunch! It was really really good, Christine!! And your pictures are fabulous! :

    • Autumn Wieland says

      Oh and I really appreciate you adding the nutrition info for your recipes! Very helpful!
      • says

        You’re so welcome! I try to for most of my recipes. Buttttt for food that’s good for the soul (brownies, cakes, etc), I usually don’t include it because no one wants that sort of bad news haha ;).
      • Autumn Wieland says

        Well thank you! Its my honor! :) easiest. job. ever.
        Nooo kidding! I don’t want to be seeing no calorie count on my brownieS!
  7. says

    Is it weird that I can drink coffee and go to sleep like 30 minutes later? :lol: And I’m so jealous of your huge family gatherings! It’s only me and my mom and dad on this side of the ocean, so holidays have always been pretty small for us.

    These look amazing, lady! But that’s pretty much a given ;)
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  8. says

    You are ALWAYS in school girl! I hope you are not overworking herself, but I also commend you for taking on such a hefty course load throughout this year.

    Thank you for shedding some light on your unique upbringing. I loved reading about your Christmases. :)

    & YUM!

  9. says

    I just made these using your recipe and they were so delicious! I had to go to a specialty Thai food store to get the water chestnuts and hoisin as they are apparently exotic items in Switzerland. I had to stop myself from eating the entire thing! :)

  10. Michele Russell says

    This was an incredibly flavorful meal and so simple and quick. Thank you for posting this. I made with ground beef, but look forward to trying many different meats – perhaps duck next time.

    • says

      YAY! So glad you liked it :). Mhmm, duck would be absolutely delicious in this! Let me know how it turns out if you ever get the chance to make this recipe with it :).
  11. says

    Just made these for my hubs and I…they were yummy! A keeper for sure! I thought I had sesame seeds and peanuts on hand but didn’t and made steamed carrots for our side and they were delicious as is. Thank you for sharing!!!

  12. Jennifer says

    Yum. I made these tonight and they were so good. I will definitely make them again. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Janelle says

    These are amazing! We tried them with extra lean ground beef and added bean sprouts. Definitely a go-to recipe from now on. Thanks for sharing!

  14. susan says

    My daughter forwarded me your recipe, and it sounded so good that l had to make it for dinner that night. Well, it was such a hit with the family that I make it once a week. We’re trying, as a family, to exercise and eat better, and this recipe certainly helps. Thanks!!!