Turkey Lettuce Wrap

by Jen on March 10, 2013

*This Turkey Lettuce Wrap is Paleo- and SCD-friendly, gluten-free, and grain-free*

I’ve put my own spin to the classic Chinese dish, the lettuce wrap. Typically, this is made with minced whole duck (Peking Duck), after the bird’s crispy skin is served first as a hot appetizer with steamed pancakes, scallions (green onions), and hoisin sauce. Yum – but that’s a whole different topic altogether.

My version of the Chinese lettuce wrap is made with minced turkey – a bird rarely seen in Asian cuisine - which I feel is just as delicious as silky minced duck. Plus, it’s more budget-friendly! I used both dark and white turkey meat so there is a good mix of leanness and flavour. If like me, you fret about growth hormones and antibiotics being injected to poultry, just assume that they are, unless labelled otherwise. I know, it’s so sad these days, the state of our food…So, buy wisely, to the best of your knowledge and budget.

As indicated, this recipe is Paleo- and SCD-friendly if you omit the soy sauce and replace with coconut aminos (a natural product that tastes pretty close to soy sauce). As for the oyster sauce, traditional Asian brands almost always contain refined sugar, so that’s a no-go for Paleos. Better for Paleos to substitute oyster sauce with fermented shrimp paste or fish sauce (read labels carefully for additives).

We Chinese (and most Asians) like to dip food in various condiments – the spicier the better! Hence, I served these wraps with a Chili “Soy” (for Paleos, use coconut aminos) and Ginger Scallion Sauce (use coconut oil as the base). Delicious!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Turkey Lettuce Wrap
Recipe Type: Main Course, Poultry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 as main course
This recipe can be made Paleo-friendly with one or two substitutions.
  • 2 pounds (900 grams) hormone-free minced turkey, dark and white meat
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos* (can substitute with soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce (omit if Paleo)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • bell peppers various colours, cut into batons
  • green onions, julienned
  • head lettuce, leaves separated
  1. Place large pan over medium heat and melt the coconut oil.
  2. When pan is hot and oil melted, sauté garlic, onion, and celery until fragrant and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the minced turkey and cook until just done, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Stir in coconut aminos and oyster sauce (if using). Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; cook for another 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Make sure the meat is no longer pink. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside.
  5. Prepare the garnishes: wash the bell peppers and dry well before cutting into batons. Julienne the green onions and set them all in a platter.
  6. To prepare the lettuce wrap, wash the lettuce head and dry with a towel. Gently tear off each outer leaf until they are all separated.
  7. Serve with Chili Soy and Ginger Scallion Sauce. To make Chili Soy the traditional way, mix soy sauce (use coconut aminos, if Paleo) with some water and add sliced Thai red chili peppers. To make Ginger Scallion Sauce, mince scallions and ginger with a little bit of salt and set aside in a heatproof dish. Heat up a light-flavoured oil (use coconut oil, if Paleo) in the pan over medium-high, then remove oil from heat and pour on top of the ginger and scallion mixture.
*coconut aminos look and taste just like soy sauce. It's a soy sauce substitute for Paleo, and it's usually available in health food stores.


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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 10, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I am such a fan of lettuce wraps! These look scrumptious, Jen!


The Café Sucré Farine March 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm

So fresh and delicious looking!


Kiran @ KiranTarun.com March 11, 2013 at 2:05 am

Sumptuous! We love lettuce wraps and always go for it whenever dining out :)


CCU March 11, 2013 at 4:26 am

Your photos leave my tongue hanging out. Too incredible :)



Erin @ Texanerin Baking March 11, 2013 at 7:19 am

There’s a ton of snow outside but this post just made my afternoon a little bit spring-y. Thank you for the happy, spring-y pictures. :)

And this is so amazingly healthy. I don’t think I could ever do a wrap without a tortillas or something else. I’m way too carb dependent. Go, you! :D


Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste March 11, 2013 at 8:20 am

Just stumbled across your blog and I’m so glad to have found it! Your photographs are stunning!


Sandra's Easy Cooking March 11, 2013 at 8:59 am

I think you did marvelous job with these wraps, Jen! I love the lettuce wrap as you know and turkey for duck substitute is I think more affordable for people around here too. Fantastic photos, very tempting and beautiful! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing and Happy Monday to you:)


Coffee and Crumpets March 11, 2013 at 10:05 am

The wraps look fantastic Jen! I am quickly running out of ideas for Paleo! I am not a huge fan of turkey but I can use chicken. Love your colourful photos!



Patty March 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

I’m a fan of lettuce wraps and your turkey filling looks delicious and yes bring on the condiments-spicy is good ;-)
Beautiful pictures Jen ;-)


Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet March 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

All those colors! It makes me happy just to look at this dish! Gorgeous, Jen!


Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic March 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I’m not Paleo but I would gobble these up! :)


Valerie March 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm

How on earth did you know that it just happened to be lunchtime (and that I’m starving!). :D
This looks unbelievably good right now – will definitely keep a look out for coconut amino!


Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} March 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I can’t believe something SO tasty can be really good for you. This is one delicious dish and so worth making ASAP. Love all of your beautiful photos!!!


Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts March 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Lettuce wraps are one of my favorite things, these look so flavorful, and i love the dipping sauce!


kristy @ the wicked noodle March 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm

What a great twist on traditional lettuce wraps! So much healthier and, knowing you, just as delicious!


Suzanne March 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm

So yummy looking! I’ve always loved lettuce wraps I’ve now got a good recipe to use. Thanks for sharing :)


Eha March 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I seem to be using more and more easy-to-get, cheap and healthy turkey meat in all its variations. Lovely substitution here in an old-time favourite :) !


Tina Ong March 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Yummy! But I can’t imagine eating it without the oyster sauce.:) old habits…

Scallion and ginger sauce is one of my all-time fave, will try it with the lettuce wrap the next time I make.:|) Thanks for the inspiration.


Monet March 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Hi Jen! These colors just pop! I love lettuce wraps but I rarely make them at home. This must change! Thank you for sharing such a light and healthy recipe. Perfect for warmer spring days!


Nami | Just One Cookbook March 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm

I love lettuce wraps! I haven’t used ground turkey before but it’s a lot healthy meat choice. You know, I’ve tried using the Chinese plate that you used in my photography but they didn’t come out so well. How amazing yours just blend well with other props!


Liren March 11, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Yum! I’ve been craving lettuce wraps, how did you know? I agree, the spicier the condiments, the better, at least for me!


suzanne Perazzini March 12, 2013 at 12:15 am

This is looks like a great Paleo dish and the dipping sauces make it extra special. I admire how perfectly you have cut up your vege sticks – very neat and colourful.


wok with ray March 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

Love the substitution of ground turkey and it should work well. Well, turkey or no turkey, I can’t promise how many (more) I would. Look so delicious, Jen! :)


a farmer in the dell March 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I love a good lettuce wrap recipe. This sounds delicious and has me dreaming about summer!


Lora @cakeduchess March 12, 2013 at 9:15 pm

I agree about the stated of our food and I’m always checking labels when I buy food. Love, love these lettuce wraps, Jen. I’d take a plate now and another one tomorrow:)


Tessa March 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Looks delish! My kind of lunch!


ashley - baker by nature March 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Um, this looks utterly amazing! I’m doing a 3 week paleo challenge in April, so I KNOW I’ll be making these!


Eva | Adventures in Cooking March 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Your photos are just beautiful. I love how bright and cheery they are! I haven’t made myself a lettuce wrap in ages, looking at these pictures is reminding me of how much I miss them!


Raymund March 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Turkey is a good alternative, it would give it some really nice flavour


joey @ 80 breakfasts March 14, 2013 at 8:11 am

Delicious, healthful, and gorgeous to look at! What more could one want in a dish?? :)


Jean | Lemons & Anchovies March 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I don’t think I can eat one Asian dish without a condiment. They’re a must! :) I want to reach into the screen to take one of these wraps–better yet, I’d grab the whole plate! :)


Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers March 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I am totally dependent on dipping sauces too when I eat Asian food. These lettuce wraps look fantastic!


The Kitchen Boudoir March 15, 2013 at 9:36 pm

I typically start salivating at the title and first photo of your posts, and by the end of them have a craving for whatever is on offer. This post is no exception. Usually, as is the case now, I am reading your posts late at night when I am at work and nowhere near delicious lettuce wraps. Great idea to use turkey!


Sook April 29, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Ooh this is one of my favorites!


homepage September 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm

What’s up, constantly i used to check website posts here in
the early hours in the dawn, since i like to learn more and more.


Kayla Welcher March 3, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Just to clear up the misconceptions that you have about hormones and antibiotics in poultry, there are absolutely no hormones used in conventional poultry production as they are not cost effective and also don’t do anything to benefit the birds or the farmer. So they are not used. As for antibiotic use in poultry (and all animals used in food production) antibiotics are only used when deemed necessary by a veterinarian. When antibiotics are given to an animal, they are taken out of production wether it be a milking line, a laying barn, or a feedlot until the withdrawl time has been met for the specific antibiotic to ensure that no residues are left in the animal. Additionally, the few antibiotics used in poultry are not used by humans, so you don’t have to worry about antibiotic residues creating resistance (even though there would be no residues to begin with).

Aside from that, thanks for the great recipe!


Jen July 25, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Hi, Thanks for the wealth of info you provided. Since you left this comment, I have been reading up and educating myself regarding this issue. So many conflicting opinions out there. But I do believe in what you are saying, so I have no fear of eating poultry that is not labelled organic. Many companies or agribusinesses out there prey on the fears of consumers regarding use of antibiotics and hormones. And it’s working. What a mess the state of our food is in!


Lori Green September 7, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Not a comment as much as a question… These do look wonderful, but I just wanted to ask what kind of lettuce do you recommend? Since there are several varieties and I couldn’t tell based on your pictures alone…


Jen November 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Hi, I just used good old iceberg lettuce


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