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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

happy food: wildly good chicken lettuce wraps

Do you ever crave something and you just can't stop thinking about it? I felt this way last week about P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps. I was at the mall walking past the restaurant and I smelled that dizzying scent of these delicious appetizers and from then on I couldn't stop thinking about them but at a whopping 530 calories and 2090 grams of sodium per serving, it wasn't worth ruining the healthy adventure that I am on.

I wondered if I could make something similar at home. I started searching online and there are literally hundreds of recipes for Chicken Lettuce Wraps. On Monday I tried several different versions. They all tasted good but this is the recipe that both L and I loved. With the clear tang of the wine, the creaminess of the peanut butter and the fresh zing of the ginger, these chicken lettuce wraps were even better than the restaurant version. Plus, we both felt good about all the healthy choices we made that day. Delicious + healthy = Happy food!

* This also makes a good gluten-free dinner.

Easy Healthier Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe


2 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 cup chopped onion
1 pound ground chicken 
4 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
2 tablespoon of peanut butter (no sugar added)
2  teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons minced ginger 
1 head of butter lettuce


Carefully peel leaves from Butter Lettuce. Wash gently, pat dry and set aside in refrigerator to keep cool and crisp.

In a small bowl mix wine, hoisin sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce and hot sauce. Set aside.

Add olive oil to a large saute pan. Over medium heat add garlic until golden and add chopped onion. Saute for 3 minutes. Turn stove to medium-high and add ground chicken. Cook thoroughly (roughly 5 minutes). Add minced ginger, stir and add the wine/peanut butter sauce to the saute pan. Cook another 3-5 minutes until sauce is incorporated.

Serve approximately 2 tablespoons per lettuce leaf. This is filling and makes a great dinner in itself.

  • These can be made vegan by using a ground chicken substitute (available in the dairy section of Whole Foods). I tried this version as well and it was wonderful.
  • If you're short of time, instead of mincing ginger and garlic yourself, try using the frozen version made by Dorot. This clever product features spices in mini-cubes. It's a great time saver. Available at Whole Foods and other markets (frozen section).
  • If you like bamboo shoots or water chestnuts, add them to the wine/peanut butter sauce at the beginning. Prepare by draining, rinsing and chopping these two vegetables the sauce and combine.
  • Try using fresh ground peanut butter (available at Whole Foods) or all natural peanut butter without added sugar or palm oil for a taste that really adds depth to this meal.
  • If you are concerned about gluten, this is a gluten-free recipe. I used Kikkoman low-sodium soy sauce which has a <5 ppm of detectable gluten.
  • I use Kame brand Hoisin sauce which is gluten-free as well. 

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