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Kalyn's Kitchen

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps are a tasty low-carb meal with spicy Thai-inspired flavors! And you can use the lettuce and fresh herbs of your choice for this tasty lettuce-wrap meal! 

PIN Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps to make them later!

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps title photo

I’m crazy over these low-carb Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps that feature Asian-seasoned ground turkey in lettuce leaves with matchstick cucumbers, fresh herbs, and a slightly spicy sauce. This is a recipe that had been hanging out in the archives of the blog for quite a while, with photos that were quite seriously in need of a do-over. And when Kara and I made this to get better photos, we changed a few things about the recipe to make it a bit easier, because doesn’t every one like recipes that are easy?

First, we used minced ginger and minced garlic from a jar to make the tasty sauce, which saved the time of chopping up those ingredients. (Feel free to use chopped fresh ginger root and garlic if you prefer!) Then we decided if you’re going to fry some ground turkey to make Thai lettuce wraps, you might as well cook two pounds of turkey and have enough left for another meal! (We doubled the meat part of the recipe, but just slightly increased the amount of sauce.) We also decided it wasn’t worth the extra fuss to make turkey meatballs like the original recipe, and we just browned the season turkey instead.

Finally, we switched the romaine for butter lettuce and used thinly-sliced basil instead of mint. The lettuce and fresh herbs are definitely just a personal preference for this lettuce wrap recipe so use any type of lettuce you prefer and use chopped mint, basil, or even cilantro for the fresh herbs. And if you’re not keen on making the increased amount that this recipe now calls for, here’s the printer-friendly recipe for the original version that made 4 servings, or about 8 small lettuce wraps.

Do I Have to Use Ground Turkey for This Recipe?

I used ground turkey for this recipe, but you can definitely use ground beef or chicken if you prefer. If you use the ground chicken that’s traditional in Asian lettuce wrap recipes, you might need to add a bit more oil when you cook the chicken.

What is Fish Sauce?

Fish Sauce is a condiment used in most Southeast Asian cuisines, and it adds umami flavor to any dish you use it in. I’m a huge fan of Red Boat Fish Sauce (affiliate link) which is gluten-free and Paleo, and I think Red Boat has amazing flavor, which is why I made a round-up of Low-Carb Recipes with Fish Sauce and recommended it. But for years I used Three Crabs Fish Sauce (affiliate link), which is also really tasty if you can’t find Red Boat.

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps process shots collage

How to Make Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps:

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

  1. Squeeze ground turkey into a bowl and add minced garlic, minced ginger root, Asian sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. 
  2. Use hands to combine seasonings with the ground turkey. 
  3. Heat peanut oil in non-stick frying pan, add seasoned turkey, and cook over medium-high heat until water has evaporated and turkey is lightly browned. 
  4. While turkey cooks, mix the fish sauce, rice vinegar, Asian sesame oil, and red pepper flakes to make the sauce. (Some people like a little sweetener in this sauce; taste and see if you want to add that.)
  5. Cut cucumber into matchstick strips and chop herbs. We used Herb Scissors (affiliate link) to cut basil into thin strips, but for mint or cilantro just chop with a knife.
  6. Cut away the core of the lettuce heads and separate into leaves or cups. (Wash lettuce if needed.)
  7. When turkey is nicely browned, spoon turkey into lettuce pieces, top with some of the spicy sauce, cucumber matchsticks, and fresh herbs, and devour!

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps close-up photo

Make it a Meal:

It’s definitely a mix of cuisines, but I think Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps would taste great with Spicy Mexican Slaw for 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
Low-Carb Lettuce Wraps ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
The BEST Instant Pot Lettuce Wraps ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

These low-carb Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps are amazing for an easy meal with Thai-inspired flavors.

Ingredients

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup fish sauce (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar (don’t use seasoned vinegar, which contains sugar)
  • 1 T Asian sesame oil
  • 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (see notes)
  • 1 tsp sweetener (optional)

Turkey Mixture Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. ground turkey (see notes)
  • 2 tsp. finely minced garlic
  • 2 T grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 T Asian sesame oil
  • 4 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce (see notes)
  • 1 T peanut oil

Lettuce and Garnish Ingredients:

  • 2 small cucumbers, cut in thin slices, then sliced into matchstick pieces
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (see notes)
  • 16 small lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Squeeze the ground turkey out of the wrapper into a bowl and add minced garlic, minced ginger root, Asian sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.
  2. Use your clean hands to combine those seasonings with the ground turkey.
  3. Heat the peanut oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the seasoned turkey, and cook over medium-high heat until any released water has completely evaporated and turkey is lightly browned.
  4. While turkey cooks, mix together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, Asian sesame oil, and red pepper flakes to make the sauce. (Some people like a teaspoon or two of sweetener in this sauce; taste and see if you want to add that.)
  5. Cut the cucumber into matchstick strips and chop herbs. We used Herb Scissors (affiliate link) to cut the basil into thin chiffonade strips, but if you're using mint or cilantro you may prefer to just chop with a knife.
  6. Cut out the core of the lettuce heads and separate into leaves or cups. (Wash lettuce if needed.)
  7. When turkey is nicely browned, spoon turkey into lettuce pieces, top with some of the spicy sauce, cucumber matchsticks, and fresh herbs, and devour!

Notes

I like Red Boat Fish Sauce (affiliate link) or Three Crabs Fish Sauce (affiliate link); if you’re not that used to fish sauce you might decrease the amount a little. Use more or less red pepper flakes to taste, the sauce was moderately spicy with this amount.

I used ground turkey; this can also be made with ground beef or ground chicken if you prefer. Use regular or low-sodium soy sauce; use Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link) if needed. We used thinly-sliced fresh basil but you can also use chopped mint or even chopped cilantro for the fresh herbs.

This recipe adapted slightly from The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook (affiliate link).

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 6gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 1111mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 31g

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.

I'd love to see your pictures if you make this recipe. Share on social media with the hashtag #kalynskitchen so I can see how it turned out for you!

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps thumbnail photo

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This recipe for Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps is suitable for any kind of low-carb or low-glycemic diet plan. Made with low-fat ground turkey, this would also be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, and it’s a great alternative to salads. For some low-carb plans you may prefer ground beef instead of turkey for higher fat.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Lettuce Wraps to see more recipes like this one! Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps were first posted in 2010; the recipe was updated and simplified a bit in 2020.

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

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    51 Comments on “Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps”

  1. Great recipe! Indeed fish sauce is one of the high points of Asian cuisine, helpful to make the food taste more complex. Should be an interesting combination with the Thai Turkey Lettuce wraps.

  2. It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

  3. I do think this would be great just cooked as crumbled meat and not bothering with the meatballs.

  4. These were tasty! Mine were a bit dry but the sauce evened it out. Maybe I cooked them too long?

    I also think this would be good crumbled up and just eaten like a salad/bowl. Less juice all over my hands and plate!

    Thanks, as always, for sharing!

  5. Clare, thanks for that nice feedback! So glad you are enjoying the blog.

  6. Made these meatballs for dinner last night and am currently eating leftovers for lunch today- they save very well! Might even freeze. This recipe really embodied why I love this blog- I get great tasting food with so much flavor and so much VARIETY compared to your usual "diet" fare. It makes low carb a real lifestyle instead of a diet.

  7. Well I may just have to step out of my comfort zone on try it. We do love Thai! But I wanted to make these today so maybe I'll just do it without and see what happens. Thanks Kalyn

  8. It's really the fish sauce that makes this have Thai flavors, and I'm not sure what would substitute for that. Maybe a much smaller amount of Worcestershire sauce? Try googling substitutions for fish sauce and see if you find anything. I bet if you like Thai food though, you would like this with the fish sauce.

  9. Kalyn, another yummy sounding recipe. Tell me though, if the thought of fish sauce is a big turn off – is there a substitution?? I tend to shy away from anything 'fishy'!! Thanks Kalyn

  10. Thanks Deborah!

    Suzanne, nothing in this recipe is really a limited food, but 2 or 3 lettuce wraps is probably what I'd eat. (On South Beach only high fat/calorie dense foods are limited in serving size. In general they say to eat until you are full, but not overly full.)

  11. Kalyn, how many lettuce wraps are a serving for this?

    Thanks. I'm new to SB