Entree

Chicken Lettuce Wraps With Peanut Sauce

Thai-inspired with ginger, garlic, and basil. Tasty little chicken meatballs nest in a bed of quinoa and are smothered in a sweet and spicy peanut vinegarette sauce. These healthy and easy chicken lettuce wraps with peanut sauce are an easy, healthy dinner for those hot summer nights.

I’m always rotating through my favorite Thai recipes year-round. In wintertime, it’s soup, stir-fry, and noodle dishes. Summertime is salads, and these chicken lettuce wraps! I love the fresh ingredients, flavors, and how simple Thai recipes are to make.

Once you try these wraps, you’ll be hooked! They are the perfect easy, light, and healthy dinner we crave in the summertime. And while you do have to use the oven, it’s minimal and quick.

Of course, I had to tweak the classic version of the standard lettuce wraps- the addition of the quinoa, which adds a little protein and fiber, not to mention a little more filling. Then the meatballs instead of the ground-up meat mixture. This is the perfect way for a make-ahead option! Make them up, cook what you want, and freeze the rest for an even faster dinner!

Ingredients, Notes, And Substitutions

ingredients for lettuce chicken wraps with peanut sauce

Ground chicken ~ I found ground chicken worked better as far as flavor and tenderness than ground turkey. Ground pork or beef is a great substitute as well.

Quinoa ~ adds extra protein and fiber, plus it soaks up that delicious peanut sauce and holds the chicken nicely in the lettuce.

Lettuce ~ opps! Got left out of the picture. I like to use the “bib” variety; however, remain or a head of lettuce works great, too.

Basil and green onion ~ I love basil, and you gotta use fresh, my friends. You can use as much or as little as you like. The green onion adds a mild onion flavor, but you can substitute any onion or shallot.

Garlic and ginger ~ Freshly grated or if you can find the fresh paste in the tubes, or the fresh frozen ones from Trader Joe’s- those are great!

Sesame oil & chili garlic paste ~ The toasted sesame oil adds a great mild nutty flavor and is used quite often in Thai food. The chile-garlic paste adds a spicy note. These are both optional but recommended.

Peanut sauce being poured over the chicken lettuce wraps

Make Ahead Tips & Storage

Plan ahead and save some time by prepping a few steps!

  • Make the chicken meatballs the day before, or freeze them. If freezing, once rolled into balls, partially freeze by placing them on a baking sheet with parchment paper for a couple of hours, then transfer them to a plastic container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • The peanut vinegarette can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 1 -2 weeks.
  • My fave ~ is making the chicken meatballs, baking up only what I want for dinner, and then freezing the rest. I will make the peanut sauce in the morning, allowing all those yummy flavors to develop.
Platter of chicken lettuce wraps

How To Make Chicken Lettuce Wraps With Peanut Sauce

Here is a quick run-through- for the full recipe and ingredient list, scroll down to the printable recipe card.

  1. Prep the lettuce. You’ll want to choose the best lettuce leaves to hold the filling. Rinse and dry, and set aside or keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Cook the quinoa as instructed, and let it cool.
  3. For the chicken meatballs. Add the chicken, garlic, ginger, green onions,chile-garlic paste, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and egg to a medium-sized mixing bowl- and mix until combined. Don’t over-mix. Add the bread crumbs and mix thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the bread crumbs, then mix again. Using a small cookie scoop or your hands, roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F until bubbly and golden brown, about 12- 15 minutes, turning them halfway through. They are cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Oven temps vary. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Make the peanut sauce while the meatballs are cooking. Add all the ingredients to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Place in a jar and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  5. To assemble. Place the lettuce leaves on a platter, and spoon the quinoa in each, followed by 2 -3 chicken meatballs. Drizzle the peanut sauce and garnish with toppings. Alternatively, set everything out and let people build their own- Enjoy!
Peanut sauce being drizzled over the chicken lettuce wrap.
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Chicken Lettuce Wraps With Peanut Sauce


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  • Author: Teri Wallingford
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

Thai-inspired with ginger, garlic, and basil. Tasty little chicken meatballs nest in a bed of quinoa and are smothered in a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. These healthy and easy chicken lettuce wraps with peanut sauce are an easy healthy dinner for those hot summer nights.


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the chicken meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken. You can substitute turkey, beef, or pork.
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated. (Can use the prepared store-bought fresh paste)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced or grated. (Can use the prepared store-bought fresh paste)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of chopped basil
  • 12 teaspoons of chile-garlic sauce. Can substitute sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil. Optional.
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
  • 12 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

For the peanut sauce ( can use store-bought peanut dressing if desired)

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter or any nut butter you prefer
  • 1 teaspoon EACH chopped garlic & ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili- garlic paste or sriracha

Optional garnishes

  • shredded carrots
  • cilantro
  • finely chopped radishes
  • pickled red onion


Instructions

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, or use a piece of parchment paper

Prep the lettuce.

  1. You’ll want to choose the best lettuce leaves to hold the filling. Rinse and dry, and set aside or keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Cook the quinoa as instructed first so it can cool

For the chicken meatballs

  1. . Add the chicken, garlic, ginger, green onions,chile-garlic paste, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and egg to a medium size mixing bowl- mix until combined. Don’t over-mix.
  2. Add the bread crumbs, and mix until just combined. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the bread crumbs, then mix again.
  3. Using a small cookie scoop, or your hands, roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F until bubbly and golden brown, about 12- 15 minutes, turning them halfway through. They are cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Oven temps vary. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Make the peanut sauce while the meatballs are cooking.

For the peanut sauce

  1. Add all the ingredients to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of water. To thin? add a little more peanut butter. Place in a jar and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

To assemble

  1. Place the lettuce leaves on a platter, and spoon the quinoa in each, followed by 2 -3 chicken meatballs. Drizzle the peanut sauce and garnish with toppings. Alternatively, set everything out and let people build their own- Enjoy!
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Thai

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