Kalyn's Kitchen

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos are a perfect low-carb dinner; you can serve the tacos with a purchased Pico de Gallo or Guacamole to make it easier!

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Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos close-up photo of two tacos on plate

This recipe for Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos started on Twitter when Marisa from Food in Jars was talking about about a turkey lettuce wrap taco years ago, and when I checked the recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it. Then what makes the turkey tacos story especially fun is that a few years later I met Marisa at SXSW, and had a great time chatting with her in person. We’re still friends on social media, and fast forward quite a few years later and I’ve made these turkey tacos over and over. Through the years I’ve switched to eating the turkey mixture with crispy iceberg lettuce, although you can certainly use any type of lettuce you prefer.

And of course I never seem to make a recipe just like it’s written, so I added some green onions (and a lot more cilantro) to the turkey mixture, and I used a very generous amount of tomato-avocado salsa. It’s the seasonings with chiles, cumin, and chopped cilantro that seasons the turkey that makes these tacos so delicious, and believe me, these turkey tacos are a complete keeper, something you’ll make over and over.

The recipe makes a generous amount of the turkey mixture, but you won’t mind having a bit of this taco meat mixture left over to eat the next day. It will keep a day or two days pretty well in the fridge, or cut the recipe in half if you want a smaller amount. And you can definitely make these tacos with ground beef if you’re not a ground turkey fan.

I love the tomato-avocado salsa I used here, but when I had leftover turkey and the salsa mixture was gone I enjoyed this served with Pico de Gallo from a jar, and I think the tacos would be amazing with purchased guacamole as well, so that’s definitely an option if you want a version that’s a bit easier!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos process shots collage

How to make this recipe:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Heat olive oil in large frying pan and cook the chiles and spices for a few minutes.
  2. Then add the ground turkey and cook over medium-high heat, until all the liquid evaporates and the turkey is nicely browned. (Most turkey has quite a bit of water, so be patient; this may take a few minutes.)
  3. While the turkey cooks, chop up the cilantro and slice the green onions.
  4. When the turkey is browned to your liking, stir in the chopped green onions and cook for a minute or so. Then turn off the heat and stir in the rest of the chopped cilantro and 2 T lime juice.
  5. While turkey cooks, peel and dice the avocado and mix with lime juice. Chop tomatoes, and then mix avocado, tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the chopped cilantro, and olive oil to make the salsa. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Cut the lettuce in half and cut out the core, then cut into quarters. If it needs it I would use a salad spinner (affiliate link) to crisp the lettuce (or make sure it’s clean.) Just skip that step if your lettuce doesn’t need washing.
  7. I like to use Kitchen Shears (affiliate link) to make cups to fill with taco meat, but trimming the lettuce is definitely optional! 
  8. Fill the lettuce cups with the turkey mixture and top with a generous amount of tomato-avocado salsa; YUM!

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos thumbnail image of two tacos on plate

Make it a Low-Carb Meal:

These tacos would be delicious with Marisa’s Cumin Cabbage Slaw or Spicy Mexican Slaw if you want a side dish for a low-carb meal.

More Tasty 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

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos thumbnail image of two tacos on plate

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos

Yield 10 tacos
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes

These Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos are a perfect Low-Carb dinner; serve with tomato-avocado salsa or toppings of your choice.

Ingredients

For Tacos:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (see notes)
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chiles (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground Chipotle or Cayenne pepper
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (see notes)
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 2 heads iceberg lettuce (see notes)

For Salsa:

  • 2 medium avocados, diced
  • 1 cup finely chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 2 T olive oil (optional)
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan over medium-high heat and then add minced garlic and diced green chiles and cook about 1 minute.
  2. Add cumin and ground chipotle or cayenne and cook about 1 minute more.
  3. Then add turkey and salt and cook until all the water has evaporated and the turkey is starting to lightly brown, breaking apart with the back of the turner as it cooks. This can take a few minutes, but don’t rush the browning step.
  4. While turkey cooks, thinly slice green onions and set aside, then wash cilantro, spin dry or dry with paper towels, and finely chop cilantro.
  5. Peel and dice avocado, place in glass or plastic bowl and toss with lime juice.
  6. Stir in chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, and olive oil, season to taste with salt.
  7. Cut off root end of lettuce and cut away the core. Discard tough outer leaves, then cut the lettuce into quarters to create “cups” to fill with taco meat. (Save the small inner pieces for another use.)
  8. When turkey is lightly browned, add sliced green onions and cook another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Turn off heat, then stir in 1 cup chopped cilantro and 2 T lime juice.

To assemble tacos:

  1. Spoon 2-3 large spoonfuls of turkey mixture into each piece of lettuce.
  2. Top meat mixture with salsa. (You can also serve the tacos with chunky salsa and/or guacamole from the store if you want an easier version.)
  3. You could also eat this mixture inside whole wheat tortillas or pitas, or even corn tortillas if you’re not watching carbs. If you’re not eating all of this at once I would refrigerate the turkey, lettuce, and salsa mixture separately; then reheat the turkey in a frying pan when you’re ready to eat the leftovers.

Notes

I used minced garlic from a jar, but fresh garlic would be even better. Use diced green chiles, not Jalapenos unless you want it really spicy. I used about 1 1/4 cups chopped cilantro, 1 cup in tacos and 1/4 cup in salsa. Use more or less cilantro to taste. Use any lettuce you prefer like romaine, Boston lettuce, or butter lettuce

Recipe adapted from Molly Watson’s Turkey Tacos, discovered via Twitter from Marisa but that recipe is no longer online.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 6gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 385mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 25g

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:
These tacos made with lean ground turkey and served inside lettuce are a perfect dish for any phase of the original South Beach Diet or any other low-glycemic or low-carb eating plan, even Keto. The tomato-avocado salsa does add some carbs but they both have fiber so the net carbs are pretty low.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Lettuce Wraps to 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.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos with Tomato-Avocado Salsa were first posted in April 2009; the recipe was last updated June 2020.

Pinterest image of Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos

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    75 Comments on “Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos”

  1. Eileen, so glad you liked the recipe, and thanks for telling people about the blog too.

  2. Just had these last night for a Phase 1 meal and they were FANTASTIC! Kayln, I'm telling everyone I know about your blog–I don't think I could have gotten through Phase 1 without you. Thanks!

  3. Linda, glad you liked it and thanks for catching the mistake on the salsa. Will fix right now.

  4. I made this last night pretty much exactly as written, and it was absolutely amazing. Thanks so much, Kalyn!

    I have to admit I did add a little more garlic, and I used the whole little can of diced chiles.

    If folks want to use this in pitas or wraps, I recommend they include the lettuce, either chopped or shredded. The romaine I used was crucial to the overall flavor, IMHO.

    (Minor detail, the 1/4 cup cilantro isn’t mentioned in the salsa directions – don’t want anyone to forget to include that!)

    And congrats and best wishes on your upcoming retirement, Kalyn!

  5. Those tacos look so fresh and tasty and good!

  6. looks yummy! i think i’ll put that on my list for this week.

  7. Your Moments Defined, thanks for letting me know you liked it! Really appreciate the nice feedback!

  8. Made this tonight and it was so delicious! The colors were beautiful, had it been a bit warmer we would have been eating on the patio. We’ll definitely be making this again. All your recipes look so good and I’m making a couple new ones each week. I’m actually looking forward to another day on southbeach! 🙂

  9. Maris, it’s that extreme cilantro addiction of mine! It’s true, I love lime, chiles, cumin, all those southwest flavors.

    Enobytes, they were wonderful. Just made them again today.

  10. Wow, these look mighty tasty! Thanks for sharing the link to the recipe.

  11. These look so good! I love avocado, I love how many of your recipes have a Southwestern twist!

  12. I’m excited that so many people are enthusiastic about this recipe. I’m making it again in a few hours!

    Ivy, thanks to you too, for hosting, the most work of all!

  13. Kalyn, cilantro is my favourite herb as well although not very easy to get in Athens but I have bookmarked the recipe and will definitely make this. Thanks for creating this lovely event and thanks to Haalo for managing it.

  14. Great entry, great recipe from Marisa. Fun that you found it on Twitter.

    I would love these for a weekend lunch. Thanks for the post.

  15. I love the sound of this! All my favorite flavors!

  16. Oh WOw great recipe and great pictures… my stomach is growling 🙂

  17. Cilantro is up there with one of our fave herbs. This sounds great.

  18. That looks so good I’m going to make it for dinner tonight – thank you!

  19. Delicious and not as bad as “real” tacos….I like that idea!!!!

  20. Awesome! Can’t to try this. 😉

    Paz