Asian Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are not part of our regular repertoire. In fact, I’ve only had them a couple of times at restaurants. I do always enjoy them though. So when I was trying to come up with some new meals to add to our summertime dinner rotation, the idea of lettuce wraps was very intriguing to me.

We all always enjoy Asian-inspired flavors, and the kids have been really enjoying salads lately, so I figured Asian Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps would be a winner.

And that’s true. The filling was a definite hit. I combined things that I thought would work well as I remembered my few experiences with lettuce wraps as well as flavors that I know always go over well with the kids. The only thing I didn’t count on was my inability to roll lettuce around a filling. I don’t know – maybe it gets easier with practice, but my first attempt didn’t go over very good.

At least I redeemed myself with the very tasty filling. No one seemed to mind that the lettuce wraps fell apart before they were even picked up for the first time. In fact, we all happily enjoyed seconds of the filling. And as we ate, we discussed all the other ways we could eat the filling. Some of our thoughts were in tortillas, in wonton or egg roll wrappers, or even just served over rice. It’s definitely a versatile filling and it will definitely be making a regular appearance at our dinner table.

Asian Ground Beef Lettuce Wrap Filling

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 c. shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • Lettuce for wraps, if desired (I used Boston lettuce, but maybe that was my problem??)
  • Hoisin sauce for dipping, if desired

1. Cook ground beef with garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in a large skillet. Drain when meat is browned.

2. Add shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, green onions and water chestnuts to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, until cabbage is just crisp-tender.

3. Stir in soy sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes.

4. If using as lettuce wrap filling, proceed with caution and scoop some filling into each lettuce leaf and roll up. Dip in hoisin sauce, if desired.

I would definitely love to try the whole lettuce wrap process again. If you’ve had success with rolling up lettuce wraps, please share your method and tips with me. I’d really appreciate it!!

If you haven’t tried lettuce wraps and you have no desire to try now, I definitely still encourage you to make this filling and use it in one of the other ways I mentioned. You won’t regret it!

19 thoughts on “Asian Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps

  1. The filling does sound really tasty, I’m going to have to try that soon. I love lettuce wraps and I think the lettuce you used was the problem. Every time I’ve had lettuce wraps it’s been with iceberg lettuce. Make sure it’s nice and crisp so that it’ll hold it’s natural bowl shape when you fill it up with your hot mixture. Loose leaf lettuce of any kind wouldn’t work very well since it’s inherently floppy instead of crisp and firm like plain old iceberg.

    Good luck with your next attempt!

  2. I’ve only made them one time, but I used romaine because it’s what I had. Most recipes I’ve seen call for iceburg cut into bowls (cut ends off and seperate into bowls).
    Boston is hard to find and way to expensive in this neck of the woods.
    But romaine worked pretty well and it has so much more flavor than iceburg, but it no nearly as crunchy. It’s my go to for tuna salad instead of bread.

  3. My attempts at lettuce wraps usually turn into more of a filling over lettuce/salad kind of thing. But still yummy. I see above folks recommending iceberg but I really dislike iceberg so I guess we’ll stick with our unwrapped wraps 🙂

  4. I have used boston before with ok success… if the leaf was too small it was a mess so I would double up the leaf. I have used iceberg before … just make sure you cut the tough white ends /rib out of each leaf at the end (like in a triangle shape) so it doesnt cause the leaf to split as you roll… but mainly I just set out the lettuce leaves and the filling and let everyone just get it in the leaf and roll it how ever they want.

  5. I know at PF Chang’s and Pei Wei they do serve their lettuce wraps with iceberg–maybe because it holds the shape better? I’ve never had an issue with a falling-apart wrap there! (And they are TASTY!)

    This sounds great! MMM. Love Asian food.

  6. i made lettuce wraps last night — ground beef, shredded carrot and green onion. the sauce sealed the deal. it was delicious. felt like i was eating at pf chang’s.
    (the recipe was from a southern living cookbook)

  7. These look delicious! I’m not sure my little miss picky pants would eat them, but my husband and I are going to try these soon!

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  9. This looks so delicious. Another way my family likes to eat this type of filling is to make FOLDOVERS with large canned biscuits. I flatten the biscuits, add the filling, fold over and seal the edges with a fork and bake.

    1. Make a wrap with pie pastry, fold them over & seal with a fork. This is an excellent empanada filling. I have a little plastic gadget that you can make empanadas with & it crimps the edges for you. It’s made by the same home party company that makes the cut-n-seal which is the same principle, just use soft bread. Back to the lettuce wraps……I’ve had them with red leaf lettuce and bibb lettuce and both turned out great. A serving platter with both red & green lettuce wraps is very colorful & pretty.

  10. Made these tonight and my husband and I both LOVED them! We used iceberg lettuce as our wrappers and that worked out great. Thanks so much for posting such a great recipe.

  11. I steam in a zip lock bag some of the larger cabbage anf we. Fill them with lettuce inside holds up great works well! Yummy

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