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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. Kalyn, Thanks for another extremely flavorful dish. I made these for dinner last night and they were a HUGE hit. I actually shredded some red cabbage into the mix, because, I, too, am "going steady" with cruciferous vegetables right now.

    Oh! And I wanted to mention something to you…I was not a fan of water chestnuts (the texture – yick!) until my husband and I found some (whole, fresh) in our local Asian market's produce section. We took them home, peeled them, and popped them into a stir fry and they were unlike any canned water chestnut I've ever tasted. They've become one of my favorite fresh foods, never to be eaten from a can again.

    Best wishes and thank you for providing healthy DELICIOUS recipes. I never knew that I could get this much flavor out of my own kitchen – and on a diet, to boot!

  2. These are sooo good. I packed them in my lunch today.

  3. Kim, so glad you liked the recipe! I need to make these again myself.

  4. I made these tonight for a Tasting Dinner (many different foods on the menu) I served these first and out of the the 4 main dishes, these were liked best – I will definitely make them again!


  5. Lisa, I love the idea of using jicama! (I hate water chestnuts too; for me it’s a texture thing. They just seem too squeaky!)

  6. We tried this a few weeks ago and it is outstanding! I had to make a substitution because my partner does not like ginger (or water chestnuts, which are also often in these kinds of dishes), so I added diced jicama along with the cilantro. I don’t even think of these as “healthy” or “diet food,” they’re just really good — and I’d serve them to company.

  7. Deb and January, so glad you liked the recipe. I loved it too. (Carrots sound good. Sorry though, no water chestnuts for me. No idea why not but I’ve never liked them even though I love crunchy foods in general.)

  8. My husband and I loved this recipe! I used 1 lb. turkey and added diced water chestnuts for added crunch. I think water chestnuts are ok for Phase 1 according to the list of “Foods to Enjoy”. Thanks for such awesome recipes and ideas!

  9. Hi. Made the lettuce wraps tonight. Delicious! Easy! Added some (commercially shredded) carrots for color (nor for Phase 1, obviously). Concocted a dipping sauce from things I found in my fridge, plus some tamari and fish sauce. Will make these again. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Lin, great to know it was still good with dried cilantro! Thanks for letting me know you liked it.

  11. Oh my, the de-lish dinner I just had. I’m still floating on the wondeful flavor of this recipe. My rural stores didn’t have fresh cilantro so dried had to do. Now to grow myself some and cook this again then 🙂

    Thank you!

  12. Marie and Lisa, love the idea of using romaine lettuce. In fact right now (right this *very* minute) I’m testing out a recipe for spicy turkey tacos that I’m wrapping in romaine lettuce.

  13. I made this with romaine lettuce and no fish sauce. Definitely good as is and spicy! Thanks for the great recipes. This one is a keeper.

  14. Kalyn, Hi I just made this for dinner tonight minus the fish sauce, I added just a a tiny bit of hoisen sauce instead. It was delicious, I want to eat the leftovers for lunch tomarrow!! Thanks for a great, light recipe!
    xox, Marie

  15. Tina, so glad you liked them!

  16. I made these a few nights ago. My boyfriend and I both loved them. We used iceberg lettuce leaves because I needed some crunch. Worked great. Thanks!

  17. Anonymous, I’ll definitely try it with the romaine lettuce, thanks for that idea.

  18. Made these last night … Wonderful! I used romaine lettuce for the wrap and will continue to do so (bigger holding device!).

  19. Terri, so glad you liked it.

  20. Another great recipe with Big Flavors. The ginger and garlic aroma was heavenly. Adding the soy sauce and the chili sauce to the turkey as it was cooking made a big difference. I will make these often.

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