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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!

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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. WOW _ these look amazing. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

  2. Kalyn, I’ve been reading your blog and using your recipes for a few years now. I’ve always had good success. This is the year for me to get serious about losing weight and doing it right, so I’m eating the South Beach way, and your blog is a lifesaver. I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was a big hit. My husband sat down, took one look and said “cilantro makes me happy.” My one change was to shred some iceberg lettuce and top it with the turkey, instead of wrapping the filling up in whole leaves. I’m so glad there are leftovers for tomorrow!

  3. Preparednesspro, I know lots of recipes for lettuce wraps use Hoisin sauce, but it’s loaded with sugar so not something I’d put in a recipe.

  4. Your lettuce wraps look absolutely delectable! Can’t wait to give them a try. I have an employee who is Asian that swears by putting Hoisin sauce (a sweet, plum like sauce) on her lettuce wraps. You can find hoisin sauce at specialty ethnic stores around time. To die for!

  5. Chuck, glad I could inspire that lettuce-wrap craving!

    Muraski, I always love to get positive reinforcement about my cilantro addiction!

    Anonymous and Lora, so glad you liked them. I love hearing from people who have actually tried the recipe.

  6. These were amazing! All of the flavors were needed and really make the meat have a multi-faceted flavor.
    Great job Kalyn!

  7. I made these last night and they were awesome! Thanks for posting this.

  8. I have been doing this with a taboulleh + ground meat, but when I first did this I was thinking more of something like you have made that my mother used to make ( a recipe she got from our Chinese neighbors). 🙂

    I think I might try your version out as it's quick & easy…and did I forget to mention that I love your abundant use of cilantro? 😉

  9. Lettuce wraps are so simple to make and delicious. Every once in awhile I get a urge for one. Looking at your photo of the lettuce wrap it’s bring that urge back lol

  10. Jimmy, great post about the different kinds of chile garlic sauce.

    Bee, thanks. Your chicken lettuce wraps looked awesome!

    Zesty, could not be simpler to make and really delicious!

    Maria, laughing because I have plenty of less-than-perfect photos! I do try to keep learning what makes the photos look good, and I’m improving, but I’m still in awe of a lot of the great food photographers out there.

  11. Your pictures are always perfect!! I love lettuce wraps, haven’t had them in awhile!

  12. Kalyn, these look really fantastic!! They seem so very simple to make as well. Great post.


  13. Love this Kalyn, it’s so refreshing and healty. I made some recently too…love the spicy twist in yours.

  14. These look very good, I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time. Thanks for the link to my chile sauces post!

  15. Recipe Girl, how cool! It’s a great book with so many recipes that look good.

  16. I love this recipe. I can actually get my son to eat lettuce when I serve these!

    If you look in the fine print in the beginning of the CA Sol Food cookbook, you’ll find my name. I was one of the recipe testers and contributors for this San Diego Jr. League cookbook! It was fun to do.

  17. Sheila, thanks for the support on the Splenda issue. I think iceberg is a great substitute for more expensive lettuce in this. Actually I think some people might even prefer it! Thanks for the nice feedback on the blog too, so glad you like it.

    ThoughtfulHedonist, you are so welcome and thanks to you for taking the time to let me know you are enjoying the blog. Comments like that keep me going!

    Alexandra, haven’t even had the lettuce wraps at PF Changs, but I hear they are good! I did like the idea of ground turkey in this.

  18. These sound fabulous. I rarely go to PF Changs, but when I do, the lettuce wraps are a must! These look better … healthy and delicious. yum!

  19. Kalyn, thank you so much for all of your recipes. I’m a busy full-time parent, working a full-time job and going to grad school (yeah, crazy). Your recipes fill such a need since I don’t have time to tinker with my own recipes and I’m a South Beach groupie. My daughter and I thank you much!

  20. Amen Kalyn! I’m with you on that. Sometimes I use splenda and sometimes I’ll use agave nectar. Just depends on the recipe.

    I really like that you suggested using plain old iceberg lettuce for this. I love lettuce wraps but my small town grocery store only cares the basic lettuce. I can’t believe I never thought to use iceberg. DUH! I’ve been trying your recipes and loving them! Your site is AWESOME!