It’s that time again, friends, where we forego all utensils and just stuff lettuce wraps with mountains of crumbled-crisp ground chicken, fluffy quinoa, and/or rice for added satisfaction, and some other garlicky gingery sauteed veggies into crisp butter lettuce leaves and have at it with our hands.
Then we absolutely d-r-e-n-c-h these wraps with a flavor-packed sweet/punchy/limey sauce, maybe a thwap of spicy mayo, and make A REAL NIGHT OF IT.
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These lettuce wraps are the perfect way to use up any veg you have hanging around or any CSA or home garden abundance you may have later this summer so we wanted to put it at the top of your noggin. Oh, and you might just start a personal contest to see how many things you can cover in lime drench.
Our favorite combo for the filling was:
ground chicken (could use ground pork, too!)
carrot + zucchini (but feel free to swap out/add other veggies you may have!)
quinoa/rice blend for a little more oomph (we kept it easy here with a pre-cooked packet of it)
All of it gets sautéed and zuzhed around with a bunch of garlic and ginger and green onion, a little swizzle of soy sauce, so it really packs a flavor punch!
The dreamy lime drench is only a jar-shake away! Like all great sauciness. The lime drench inspo came from a cookbook called The Perfect Blend by Tess Masters (affiliate link). And a drench it is – you’ll need the juice of about 5-6 limes! Then some other yums, like, soy sauce, sesame oil, a little brown sugar, and let’s just keep that garlic/ginger party going, shall we?
Endless Options For Fillings
Okay, there is definitely room for fun and flexibility here if your fridge/pantry/heart is telling a different story than the ingredients listed here. You can mix up the meat choice, give ground pork or ground turkey a whirl. The added veggies can obviously be swipped and swapped as you please.
We love a grain add-in just so everything feels a little more satisfying, but if you’re not feeling the quinoa/rice blend, you could certainly add in just white or brown rice only, or omit completely!
We’ve also tried a mushroom & walnut version that made for a really good for a vegetarian option. You could try a tofu crumble as well, which we’ve use in other yummeroo lettuce wraps like these guys.
Lettuce For Lettuce Wraps: Let’s Talk
Not all lettuce is created equal when it comes to lettuce wraps. You definitely want something that will keep a little crunch for A+ texture benefit and not just wilt when the warm ingredients hit it. You also want something a little more sturdy that will hold its shape, so you don’t pile all that deliciousness in, drench it on up, and then it all just kinda plops out the bottom. You also don’t want it to have too strong or a naturally bitter taste.
Some lettuces that work best:
Butter Lettuce. Our absolute fave! Especially if you can find a head of living butter lettuce. Also known as Boston or bibb lettuce, it has big rounded leaves that are sturdy but still pliable, making it ideal for filling and wrapping. The taste is also mild and well…buttery! A perfect compliment.
Leaf lettuce. Also a great option and either green or red would work. It’s fairly easy to find and it has broad leaves that will still hold a little crunch once filled. Trim the stems off to get nice rounded leaves for wraps.
Romaine. The leaves are more narrow so it’s really more of a boat situation, less of a wrap, but they have a nice crunch! But because that crunch is so nice, it also means these leaves can snap more easily on you. Oh no, filling-plop!
Maybe you want to get a little adventurous and do some swiss chard or savoy cabbage or collard greens? The world is yours!
How To Make Spicy Mayo
If you are not already a part of Club Spicy Mayo, please consider becoming a member today! Here’s how you apply:
mix half a cup of mayo with a few tablespoons of sriracha
There! You’re in! Now proceed to make everything you eat even better by using it.
It’s of course not *required* on these lettuce wraps, but it is very appreciated, you know? Really gives it a special bit of heat and creaminess that is unbeatable. Here are some other fave uses for spicy mayo:
AN ACTUAL VERB. Which means you must go forth and do this. We’ve definitely given it a whirl as a super tangy salad dressing for a simple spring mix. But maybe you want to brush it over some grilled chicken or fish or veggies? Could this be a great taco sprinkle? Will it up your rice or noodle bowl game?! Do you just need to add a little tang to whatever you’re eating? So much flavor, it seems a shame to not start dreaming and scheming with it.
Comment or tag us over on instagram to let us know what you are lime drenching! We really, really want to know. #operationlimedrench
Here’s to a summer full of sun on our faces, joy in our bones, and plenty of handheld eats.
Lettuce Wraps: Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make these vegetarian?
Replace the chicken/pork with crumbled tofu! You can see this recipe for how to do it. Another option is to just do rice and veggies, and a crumbled mushroom-walnut texture is great, too.
What kind of lettuce is best for lettuce wraps?
Our recommendation is butter lettuce – preferably buying it as a head of lettuce. It has large leaves, is pliable, and has the perfect buttery flavor. This is often called “Living Lettuce” with the root still attached. Remove the leaves, give them a quick rinse, pat dry, and you’re ready to wrap.
How spicy is spicy mayo?
It’s a choose your own adventure! We usually do 1/2 cup mayo with 2-3 tablespoons of sriracha, but if you prefer more or less heat, all you have to do is increase or decrease the amount of sriracha to taste. And if you add too much, just add more mayo until you find your perfect level of spice.
Source Notes: The lime drench portion of this recipe was inspired by some very delicious lettuce wraps featured in The Perfect Blend by Tess Masters (affiliate link). Thank you Tess for teaching us to lime drench! A dream!
These lettuce wraps are a SUMMER DREAM. Mountains of crumbled-crisp ground chicken, fluffy quinoa, and/or rice for added satisfaction, and garlicky gingery sautéed veggies in crisp butter lettuce leaves.
Lettuce Wraps and Filling
1lb. ground chicken or pork(I prefer chicken)
1 inch piece ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, grated
3green onions, sliced (white and green parts)
1zucchini, diced (optional)
1carrot, diced (optional)
1/2 to 1cup cooked brown rice and/or quinoa(see notes)
lettuce(leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, or romaine can all work)
spicy mayo(1/2 cup mayo + 2-3 tablespoons sriracha)
juice of 5–6limes(totaling 1/3 to 1/2 cup lime juice)
2 tablespoonssoy sauce
1 tablespoonsesame oil
1–2 tablespoon brown sugar(more lime juice = more sugar)
a teeny bit of your grated garlic and ginger from the filling prep
In a large skillet, brown the chicken with a little bit of olive oil until fully cooked and crumbled.
Set aside a little of your grated garlic and ginger for the lime drench. While the chicken is cooking, shake your lime drench ingredients in a jar.
Add the remaining garlic and ginger, green onions, zucchini, and carrots to the chicken in the skillet. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and are very aromatic. (The chicken doesn’t have a lot of fat, so I often add an extra drizzle of oil, or soy sauce or even a bit of water to pull the flavor from the bottom of the pan.)
Add the rice and quinoa to the filling. Cook until softened and heated through. Season to taste.
Fill your lettuce cups with the filling, pour the lime drench over it, and top with a little thwap of spicy mayo. Voila! So many vegetables and SO MUCH FLAVOR.
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Cooked rice and quinoa: I often use just a cup or so of the precooked packages like Seeds of Change(affiliate link) – and it’s optional to add this in, but I like it because it makes the lettuce wraps feel more satisfying since it adds a carb element to the mix.