Easy Ground Turkey Lettuce Cups Recipe

If you're looking for a recipe to satisfy that Chinese food takeout craving without the fat, sugar, and carbs, these ground turkey lettuce cups are definitely the perfect option for you. They're lighter than most takeout options while remaining so incredibly flavorful and filling. And if you're using gluten-free soy sauce, they're easily made gluten-free, too!

In order to prepare these lettuce cups, recipe developer and private practice registered dietitian Kristen Carli of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness relies on ground turkey which, she notes, "is a leaner protein source than red meat." While ground turkey is also milder in flavor than beef, that's not a problem in this dish, which is seasoned to perfection with a richly flavored sauce made with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce. Garlic and red onion add their lovely classic flavors to the filling as well, which is piled into tender butter lettuce leaves. "Butter lettuce is great, because it is the perfect shape to hold the filling," says Carli. "It also has a nice crunch."

This recipe is so simple to put together, but it truly hits the spot. You can whip up these ground turkey lettuce cups for a tasty summertime lunch or even as an appetizer or side dish to accompany a larger meal. However you decide to enjoy them, you'll want to keep all of the ingredients at the ready so whenever the craving hits, you're totally prepared to satisfy it.

Gather the ingredients to prepare these ground turkey lettuce cups

Before you get started making your ground turkey lettuce cups, you'll first want to make sure you have all of the necessary ingredients lined up and ready to go. To prepare these scrumptious lettuce cups, you'll need to shop for a pound of ground turkey. The rest of the ingredients you may already have in your kitchen, which is the best part, because your shopping list won't be too lengthy.

For this recipe, the ground turkey is cooked in a tablespoon of olive oil, along with diced red onion and minced garlic. Seasoned with salt and pepper, it creates a flavorful and filling base for these lettuce cups, which also feature sliced water chestnuts for even more texture.

To season the filling, you'll make a simple sauce with a combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Piled into butter lettuce leaves and topped off with fresh green onions for color and an extra kick of flavor, it's a delicious option to prepare for lunch or dinner — and expect the whole family to rave about it.

Once you gather all of your ingredients, you're ready to get started cooking your filling.

Prepare the filling

To make the filling for these ground turkey lettuce cups, start by heating up the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant, which should take about 5 minutes. Stir this mixture frequently. Keep in mind that garlic becomes bitter when burned, and it can go fast!

When the aromatics are all cooked up, add to the skillet the ground turkey, and season with salt and pepper. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, so that it forms a nice, even mince that will be easy to spoon into the lettuce cups. Cook it until the ground turkey is longer pink, and then stir in the water chestnuts.

Season the filling

Get excited, because you're one step closer to kicking back and enjoying these tasty delights. To prepare the sauce for these ground turkey lettuce cups, simply combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl. As we mentioned earlier, feel free to sub in gluten-free soy sauce if you'd like to make this dish gluten-free. Pour the mixture over the turkey to season it, and stir until it is well incorporated in the filling. The combination of flavors in the sauce will complement the ground turkey so well, and you'll be so pleased with the end result.

Assemble the lettuce cups

Once the turkey has been seasoned, it's time to assemble the ground turkey lettuce cups. Simply scoop the turkey into the lettuce leaves, and garnish them off with fresh green onions. That's literally it. Whether you're serving the dish to guests or the family, presentation is key, so don't skimp when it comes to displaying your turkey lettuce wraps on a nice platter so everyone can easily grab one. This is an incredible dish to make for a brunch or bridal shower. It will look oh-so professional on everyone's plate! In fact, you can cut up apple and add slices with some dried cranberry on the platter for an extra pop of color. Your dish is sure to be picture-worthy and talked about at your event.

This simple recipe can easily be jazzed up according to your tastes, too. Carli loves adding extra veggies to the filling, such as bell pepper, carrots, and baby corn. Let your inspiration — and seasonality — be your guides!

Easy Ground Turkey Lettuce Cups Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
If you're looking for a recipe to satisfy that Chinese food takeout craving, these ground turkey lettuce cups are definitely the perfect option for you.
Prep Time
Cook Time
ground turkey lettuce cups
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 12 butter lettuce leaves
Optional Ingredients
  • green onions, for topping
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat up the olive oil. Add the diced onion and minced garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the turkey, salt, and pepper. Break up with a wooden spoon, and cook until no longer pink.
  3. Add the water chestnuts. Stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar.
  5. Pour the sauce over the turkey. Stir to combine.
  6. Scoop the turkey mixture into the lettuce leaves. Garnish with green onions.
Calories per Serving 221
Total Fat 12.7 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 52.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 11.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Total Sugars 2.4 g
Sodium 633.9 mg
Protein 16.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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