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Kalyn's Kitchen

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling (Video)

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling are a delicious low-carb meal that’s also dairy-free, low-glycemic, and can easily gluten-free! Use Lettuce Wraps to see more recipes like this one!

Click here to PIN Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling!

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Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling!

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling found on KalynsKitchen.com

I vividly remember when I first had lettuce wraps, at a Chinese restaurant in Salt Lake where a friend named Mike was hip enough to order them even though they weren’t on the menu. This was about 20 years ago; now lettuce wraps like these Asian Lettuce Cups (or wraps) with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling are somewhat mainstream, and made with lean ground turkey like this, they make a wonderfully low-carb and low-glycemic dinner option. And you can easily adapt them to use ground beef for Keto or use gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos for gluten-free or Paleo.

This dish with spicy meat eaten inside pieces of lettuce can be called lettuce wraps or lettuce cups, but I like to pile up the lettuce cup with lots of filling rather than wrapping it, so I’m calling them lettuce cups.

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling found on KalynsKitchen.com

Steps for Making Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling:

  1. Start with finely minced red onion (or shallots), garlic, and ginger, which are sauteed in oil before the meat is added.
  2. Then add ground turkey, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and a touch of fish sauce and saute until the meat is well done and infused with all the other flavors.
  3. While the ground turkey was cooking, I used the bowl attachment of my immersion blender to finely chop about half a bunch of fresh cilantro. If it was summer and I had herbs from my garden, I might have chopped some fresh mint to garnish the lettuce cups.
  4. Add the chopped cilantro to the cooked meat mixture and cook a few minutes more.
  5. Cut out the core from a head of Boston lettuce, butter lettuce, or even iceberg lettuce, wash the lettuce and spin dry, and you’re ready to eat!

You could make a meal out of these lettuce wraps, but if you want a heartier dinner, Chinese Cucumber Salad would be a good side dish for a low-carb meal.

More Tasty Recipes for Lettuce Wraps:

The BEST Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Lettuce Wraps ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
15+ Low-Carb and Keto Wraps with Lettuce, Collards, and Cabbage ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
The BEST Instant Pot Lettuce Wraps ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

Weekend Food Prep:

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling have been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling would make a delicious summertime meal!


  • 1 T peanut oil or vegetable oil (or slightly more, depending on the pan you have)
  • 3 T minced red onion or shallots
  • 2 T minced garlic (I used minced garlic from a jar but fresh garlic would be even better)
  • 2 T grated ginger root
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 4 T soy sauce (I used Tamari; use gluten-free soy sauce if needed. For Paleo use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.)
  • 1 T Chile Garlic Sauce (or slightly more if you like spicy foods; look for a version without sugar for Paleo)
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce (probably optional, although I like fish sauce!)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (about 1/2 large bunch)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts (optional, especially for braces wearers!)
  • 1 large head or 2 small heads Boston Lettuce or butter lettuce, or substitute 1 head iceberg lettuce


  1. Chop onion and set aside.
  2. Peel ginger root, then grate with the large side of a cheese grater.
  3. Then chop garlic if using fresh garlic.
  4. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
  5. Add onion and saute about 2 minutes.
  6. Then add garlic and ginger root and saute about one minute more.
  7. Add ground turkey to frying pan (with a bit more oil if needed) and break apart and spread out with turner.
  8. Then add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and fish sauce.
  9. Cook until the turkey is brown and crumbling apart, and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  10.  While turkey cooks, wash and chop fresh cilantro to make 1 cup.
  11.  Remove the core end from lettuce, separate leaves, and wash in salad spinner and spin dry (or wash under running water and dry with paper towels.)
  12.  Chop peanuts and put in small bowl to serve at the table.
  13.  When turkey is done, add chopped cilantro and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  14.  Serve filling and lettuce leaves in separate bowls, with chopped peanuts in another small bowl.
  15.  Each person takes a lettuce leaf, fills with desired amount of turkey mixture, adds chopped peanuts, and then eats the mixture from the lettuce cup. I fold the lettuce cup over when I eat it,   so it’s kind of taco-shaped, but some people like to wrap the lettuce clear around the filling.


Recipe adapted from California Sol Food.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
With lean ground turkey and other low-carb ingredients, Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling are a perfect dinner option for any phase of the South Beach Diet or other low-carb eating plans. If you use gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce this can easily be suitable for gluten-free or Paleo/Whole 30 eaters. For Keto, you might want to use higher-fat ground beef, which will still be delicious in this recipe.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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143 comments on “Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling (Video)”

  1. This is one of our favorite family recipes. We usually eat the turkey in cabbage leaves and it is so delicious. I love all of your recipes. Thank you Kalyn!

  2. Pingback: Sriracha Shrimp and Hummus Lettuce Wraps - Aggie's Kitchen

  3. I must have done something wrong. These were really salty and I couldn’t eat them. ?

    • I’ve probably made them close to 50 times, always delicious. Maybe you put soy sauce in twice, that would make it salty. But I know the recipe is good the way it’s written.

  4. Is this a Phase 1 or Phase 2 South Beach recipe? Thanks!!!

    • If you look immediately after the recipe where it says "South Beach Diet Suggestions" every recipe on my site will tell which phases I think it's suitable for. When it works for any phase (like this one) I put all phases.

  5. I made these last night after finding your recipe on Pinterest. I had to come back on here and let you know how amazing these were. Our whole family loved them. FANTASTIC RECIPE!!

  6. This recipes was AMAZING! We couldn't find the Chile Garlic Sauce, so we used Chile Paste and it was out of this world!

  7. I made this recipe this evening (Day 7 of Phase One and desperately in need of some new flavors). WOW! This is incredible whether you are doing SB or not. I will be adding this to our rotation and would double the recipe next time to have more leftovers. Easy lunch or would eat it again later in the week. THank you so much for this website, Kalyn! Phase One would have been so much harder without all of your AWESOME recipes!!!

  8. Taylor, love the idea of eating this in collard greens!

  9. This was soooo good. I ended up using collard greens because the closest grocery store didn't have butter lettuce, and I really didn't want to use iceberg (boring). The collards were very strong and held the filling really well, and didn't provide a too-bitter taste. I did put too much soy sauce in, so be careful of that. Otherwise, I will definitely make this again!

  10. Rose, so glad you have enjoyed the recipe!

  11. Absolutely love your recipe, I don't need the lettuce cups at PF Changs anymore, I prefer these. They are a huge hit every where I go.

  12. Jill, so glad you enjoyed it!

  13. I finally made this recipe last night and it's a definite keeper! My husband loved it. It was a fun sharing meal too, which I always love. Finger foods and family style serving. Thank you Kalyn for all of your creative ideas!

  14. I love that 4 years later people are still raving over this recipe! I'm shopping for the ingredients tonight to make these tomorrow for dinner! I can't wait! My mouth is already salivating! lol

  15. I don't think chili powder will be a very good substitute. Chili Garlic sauce is a hot vinegary sauce, so maybe regular hot sauce or Sriracha would be good. I would add extra garlic if you substitute the sauce.

  16. Hi im making these tonight but dont have any chili garlic sauce. I need a sustitution…chili powder? THANKS

  17. Katharine, so glad you enjoyed it so much!

  18. Made this tonight…. I LOVED IT! I only had a little over a pound of ground turkey breast, but it worked out ok anyway. I added a few tablespoons of chopped water chesnuts. YUM YUM YUM! Thank you!

  19. Kalyn this looks and sounds heavenly.
    I hate to sound like everyone else, but they truly do.
    Printing this out and hopefully will make this week.
    After our trip to PF Changs and having their lettuce cups I'm craving them–daily!

  20. Doren, love the sound of your version. And most foods aren't limited in portion size on South Beach, so no worries!

  21. Oh my goodness! I have done thai cooking, and made larb nua wrapped in romaine for years. But I was stuck today with what to do with my ground turkey, looked to see what you had for me, and found this. Unfortunately, had no lettuce leaves, but a huge tub of spring mix from today's costco run. No peanuts, but some lovely shelled pumpkin seeds. Followed your recipe, but dumped it on the spring mix and used the pumpkin seeds (not very asian, but I liked the idea of them better than the walnuts or almonds that I had on hand) with a bunch of fresh cilantro, of course. This was so incredibly delicious that I just couldn't stop eating it, so I hope portion control isn't crucial to phase one. thank you!

  22. Jan, so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  23. Dear Kalyn – I made the Asian Lettuce Cups for dinner this evening and they were outstanding. So full of flavor … my kind of food! I used LITE soy sauce and put extra Chili Sauce w/Garlic on along with the crushed peanuts. Thank you very much for this tasty, healthy recipe. Jan

  24. I made these with lean ground pork, extra chili garlic sauce, and extra ginger, but otherwise went with the recipe. They were great! I think next time, though, I might add a touch of lime juice, since I've had similar dishes, and lime juice would brighten the flavor.

  25. Kalyn,

    I just made the made the lettuce wraps tonight. My husband didn't talk for about 5 minutes. I finally said you must really be enjoying the wraps? He is loving all the recipes even though I am the one doing SBD.

    Thank you so much! This weekend ham and cauliflower au gratin and baked halibut with dill topping. So excited!


  26. Mary, glad you are enjoying the blog! One reason I chose South Beach to manage my weight is because I didn't want to count carbs, calories, fat grams, or points so I don't have that information.

  27. Kalyn,

    I am new to South Beach and love your website I've referred it to many people. These wraps were delicious! I used sesame oil to cook the meat in and added a can of water chestnuts and a bit of toasted sesame seeds! They turned out great. I know that SBD doesn't require you to count calories but its a hard habit to break, do you list the caloric content anywhere on your site??


  28. Becky, so glad you enjoyed the lettuce cups. This is a big favorite in my family too.

  29. These were soooo good! My husband and I loved them and can't wait to have them again. Thanks for the most delicious SBD recipe, yet!

  30. You're very welcome. Water chestnuts sound like a great addition.

  31. I love this recipe! I added chopped water chestnuts but kept everything else as is… delicious! Thanks for all of your great recipes, Kalyn!

  32. Wow indeed! Thanks for sharing all your variations! Will definitely try some of those.

  33. I LOVE this recipe. I make it at least once a week. Sometimes I use chicken strips! I like to add chopped red bell pepper, shredded carrots, and extra ginger. I don't usually use cilantro. I've also used salsa instead of the chile garlic sauce (when I didn't have it) and it comes out great. I've also used Sriracha, which gives them a real kick. Finally, when it is finished, I like to toss in some broccoli slaw and let it wilt a little. For the nuts, I like to use crushed wasabi and soy sauce almonds. WOW! So many great flavors.

  34. Glad you liked them, but I am wondering why it says "deleted" where your name should be. Or is that really your name?

  35. I just made these for my family and they were AMAZING! Seriously wonderful – so easy and so delicious. Thanks so much for this!

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