Kalyn's Kitchen

Thai-Inspired Turkey Mini-Meatball Lettuce Wraps

This is the printer-friendly page for an old recipe that is no longer on the blog; I am saving it here for anyone who may have been a fan of the recipe. Click the link to check out the updated version of Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps.

(Makes 8 small lettuce wraps, depending on how many meatballs you put in each, recipe adapted slightly from The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook.)

Dressing:
4 T fish sauce (I like Three Crabs Fish Sauce, if you’re not that used to fish sauce you might decrease it a little)
4 T rice vinegar (don’t use seasoned vinegar, which contains sugar)
2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to taste, this was moderately spicy with this amount)

Meatballs:
1 lb. ground turkey (use turkey with not more than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 T grated fresh ginger root
1 T Asian sesame oil
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce (regular or low sodium)
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. peanut oil or grapeseed oil (for frying meatballs)

Lettuce and Garnishes:
1 small cucumber, cut in thin slices, then sliced into matchstick pieces
3/4 cup mint leaves (or use chopped cilantro if you prefer or when fresh mint isn’t available)
8 lettuce leaves (I used romaine lettuce, but you could use other types, especially butter lettuce)

Instructions:
Mix together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes and let the dressing flavors blend while you make and cook the meatballs.

Chop garlic and grate fresh ginger root, then add sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Put ground turkey in a bowl, then use a large spoon to mix in the seasoning mixture. (The meat mixture is very soft. If you’re not rushed for time I would chill the turkey mixture for 20-30 minutes before making the meatballs, or just make small patties instead of meatballs.)

Heat 2 tsp. peanut or grapeseed oil in a large heavy frying pan, then use a tablespoon-sized measuring cup to scoop out turkey to make meatballs (or small patties), adding each one to the hot pan as you make them. Cook the meatballs in two batches so you don’t crowd the pan, cooking each batch until the outside is lightly browned and they’re cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. (I added the other tsp. of oil when I cooked the second batch.)

While meatballs cook, wash and dry mint leaves (or chop cilantro) and cut the cucumber into thin slices, then slice into matchstick pieces. (You can also just chop the cucumber if you don’t want to be that fancy.) Wash and dry lettuce leaves. (I used just the tender sweet inside leaves and saved the rest for salad.)

When meatballs are done, make lettuce wraps by putting about 3 meatballs inside a piece of lettuce, drizzling on sauce, and topping with cucumber and mint or cilantro. If you make this for a dinner party, it would be fun to let guests assemble their own, and I’m betting you won’t have any leftovers!

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