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. Made this tonight and it was amazing. I only had ground chicken, but it turned out great. Thank you, we will be making this again.

  2. Thanks Alise; glad you like the blog.

  3. Just ran across your site and I am so very impressed! Wow! Can't wait to browse all your recipes like this lettuce wrap!

    Alise

  4. CJ and Sarah, so glad the tacos were a hit!

  5. My husband and I loved these tacos! Really good flavors. We added some cheese on a few, which was great too. This was also the first time I tried ground turkey…tastes the same as ground beef! I was happily surprised, and will probably stick with ground turkey for a LONG time, such a healthier option.

  6. Kalyn, What a hit! Mr. McD ate his with tortillas, I ate mine like the recipe called for. Four thumbs up from both McDs. Delicious.

  7. Michelle, so glad they are working out so well for you!

    Sandy, I think that's one of the best things about this as a dinner option! (Although I almost like them better with lettuce than with tortillas now.)

  8. I love tacos in lettuce wraps! They are a "go to" answer for the times that I am the only one watching my carbs-I put mine in lettuce and the rest of the family can have taco shells if they wish.

  9. Thanks so much Kalyn I LOVE IT!! I made the full recipe yesterday, hoping it would work for a week's worth of lunches. So far so good – it was wonderful the first day and just as great the second.

    I did change it up today to use chopped lettuce instead of trying to eat it as a wrap, mostly because I was lazy and didn't want to have to microwave the turkey in one container and then use another for the meal. Instead I microwaved it, added spring mix (which I had on hand) and salsa on top, stirred and ate it like a salad. YUM.

    Oh, and I also made half the amount of salsa, fearing it would go bad if I tried to use it over the course of a week. Looks like I'll need to make the second half on day 4.

    Thanks again you are the BEST!
    Michelle

  10. Gena, glad you like it!

    Donna, so glad you guys have enjoyed these. Definitely one of my favorites.

    Roz, good to know. I think there is a lot of overlap between the two plans. Thanks for the nice words about the blog.

  11. Hi Kalyn. I'm not on South Beach, I'm on weight watchers, and this recipe would fit beautifully into that plan too. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. I love your blog.

  12. Anne and I make your Spicy Turkey Lettuce Cups all the time. It is easy and so flavorful. What a great recipe for the yew year!

  13. This would be a very easy recipe to make raw vegan. Love it!

  14. Cindi, thanks. Glad it is helpful.

    Ronelle, glad you like the idea. I love this for dinner.

  15. Delicious healthy lettuce wraps!
    Ronelle

  16. Wow! These look so delicious! Thank you, Kalyn, for doing the phase one recipes. It is going to be such a big help as I get started again. How can anyone feel deprived eating things like this while losing weight?

    Cindi

  17. Shannon, I could definitely imagine Feta on this (of course I could eat Feta on everything!)

  18. I think it would be great loaded up with some feta cheese. Yum

  19. Graveflower, so glad you liked the recipe and that the "steak and steak" guy also approved! Glad you're adapting them to your own tastes too, that's the best way to use anyone's recipes, if you ask me.

  20. These were really, really good. My stepdad is having some heart troubles so I've been making him stuff from your blog, and it's gone over with him really well (even though he's a steak n steak kinda guy).

    I made some amendments to the recipe. I'm not big on cilantro so I only put a little bit (was probably an insignificant amount) and, at the end, I thought the mix was a bit bland so I added another 1/4 tsp of chipotle powder. I used an entire can of mild chiles. Instead of using the salsa recipe (I ran out of tomatoes) I just diced up some avocado and used that as a garnish. I also used a little bit of sour cream. I had never used romaine lettuce as tortillas before, but was intrigued by the idea – and I'm so glad I tried it! At 100 calories a piece for flour tortillas, and as I'm not a fan of the whole wheat variety, they're a perfect substitute. I'll never eat tortillas again.
    I think I'll make these again next week, but with the salsa instead.

    I love your blog and have been telling everybody who cooks about it. Everything has been so quick, simple, and delicious.