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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 and gluten-free dinner idea that’s also fun to eat!

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Watch the video to see if you want to make
Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling!



Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling top photo

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 gluten-free 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 process shots collage

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

(Scroll down for complete recipe, including nutritional information.)

  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 (affiliate link) 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!

Make it a Low-Carb Meal:

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

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling would make a delicious and fun-to-eat meal!


  • 1 T peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 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 (see notes)
  • 1 T Chile Garlic Sauce (or slightly more if you like spicy foods)
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce (probably optional, although I like fish sauce!)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts (optional, especially for braces wearers!)
  • 1 large head or 2 small heads lettuce (see notes)


  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, Chile Garlic Sauce (affiliate link), 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.


Use Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link) if needed. If you're not a cilantro fan, I'd use thinly sliced green onion. Boston Lettuce or Butter lettuce, but you can also substitute Iceberg Lettuce for this.Recipe adapted from California Sol Food.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4.4gUnsaturated Fat: 13.3gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 850mgCarbohydrates: 6.7gFiber: 1.6gSugar: 2gProtein: 34g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

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 Lettuce Wraps to see 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.

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    145 Comments on “Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling (Video)”

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

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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!

  7. Jan, so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!


  11. 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.

  12. 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??


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

  14. 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!

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

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

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

  18. 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.

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

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