Easy Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps are served Thai Style with ground chicken, crisp vegetables, fresh herbs, roasted peanuts and the zing from our famous Prik Nam Pla dipping sauce. Larb Gai is traditional Thai and Laotian dish, a fun interactive appetizer or light main to serve with family and friends. (Low carb, gluten-free and vegan options too)
What’s your favorite cuisine? We know it’s difficult narrowing it down to just one. However, if we were stranded on a dessert island, Thailand cuisine would be on the top of our list. Super fresh and delicious flavors that are fun for sharing, like our Turmeric Pork Skewers and Thai Basil Dipping Sauce, Thai Shrimp Mango Salad, Thai Firecracker Shrimp Party Appetizer and our Gluten-Free Thai Shrimp Pancakes. We hope these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps will go to the top of your favorites list too.
Imagine this… First, your tongue picks up the savory, sour, spicy and sweet prik nam pla sauce. Then, you get the crunch from the fresh veggies, herbs and roasted peanuts. Once you get a mouthful of Thai infused ground stir fried chicken you are hit with fresh lemongrass, shallots, garlic, Thai Bird Chilis, lime and gluten-free fish sauce. Your mouth will be singing. Come along and we’ll show you how to make this quick and easy Thai family favorite.
Table of contents
- Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps vs PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps
- How to Serve?
- What is Lahb Gkai or Laab Gai or Larb Gai?
- Great Recipe for Entertaining
- Ground Chicken (some of you may refer to this as minced chicken)
- Fresh Lemongrass, shallots, garlic, ginger, Thai Bird Chilis.
- Fish Sauce
- Sugar or Sugar Alternative of choice
- Lime zest and Lime Juice
- Fresh Crisp Vegetables
- Fresh Herbs
- Roasted Chopped Peanuts
- Prik Nam Pla- The Incredible Thai Table Condiment
- How to Make Thai Lettuce Wraps?
- Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
- More Delicious Thai Recipes
Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps vs PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps
Have you ever tried a crisp lettuce wrap? We are not referring to the high-sugar ones from the strip mall pseudo-Asian fusion American restaurant chain between the pharmacy and the bank. Those are factory made to be very heavy with chemicals that taste like thick sweet hoisin and soy sauce. For the calories you just used into trying to eat light, you could have eaten a whole bowl of our Speedy Speedy Spinach Pasta. They both have about 300 calories and about 20 carbs for serving.
Instead, why not try our super light low carb fresh Thai chicken lettuce wraps? Our fresh ingredients won’t weigh you down. You can even make Whole30 lettuce wraps with a couple of suggestions we list in the ingredients below.
The interesting textures and the traditional flavors from the ingredients used in Thailand are going to make this your favorite appetizer or light meal. We bet you can’t eat just one lettuce wrap! These are much lighter and have fewer carbs than the PF Chang’s version.
How to Serve?
Generally speaking, lettuce wraps (sometimes also called lettuce cups) are served family style. Just lay out the lettuce leaves, chopped vegetables, fresh herbs, cooked Thai minced chicken, crushed roasted peanuts and dipping sauce in individual plates or bowls and let everyone help themselves to create their own healthy lettuce wrap masterpiece. This way your family and/or guests can make it exactly the way they like it. Lettuce wraps are meant to be eaten with your hands, just like a taco. If you like lettuce wraps be sure to try our How to Make The Best Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps and our Parsley Lemon Pesto Shrimp Wraps.
What is Lahb Gkai or Laab Gai or Larb Gai?
Larb (ລາບ) is a popular meat salad recipe in Laos and also in the bordering Isan region of Thailand (ลาบ). It can be made with minced (ground) chicken, beef, pork, mushrooms, etc. Larb Gai is flavored with fish sauce, lime juice and padaek. Roasted rice powder is a very traditional ingredient that is used in larb. However, we chose to leave out the toasted rice powder and padaek in our lettuce wraps to cut down on the carbohydrates. Northeastern-Style Spicy Minced Chicken Salad is generally served with cut up vegetables, fresh herbs and a side of sticky rice.
Great Recipe for Entertaining
Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a fun and interactive recipe for a gathering. Most everything can be done in advance. Literally, all we did was cut up some veggies and herbs and placed them on a platter and made a quick and easy prik nam pla dipping sauce. When your guests arrive, stir fry your marinated Thai infused minced chicken while you enjoy a Tropical Fruit Rambutan Cocktail or a Blue Elephant Chili Cocktail. You can be ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. Easy Peasy!
Ground Chicken (some of you may refer to this as minced chicken)
You could also use ground turkey, pork, beef or even chopped mushrooms. We chose ground chicken as this is more traditional. However, you could also use marinate chicken breast and grill, if you are hosting and outdoors gathering. Then, just slice thinly so they fit easily in a lettuce wrap.
Fresh Lemongrass, shallots, garlic, ginger, Thai Bird Chilis.
Do you have access to an Asian market near you? Then, fresh is the way to go. We only use the white portion of the fresh lemongrass and keep the green section for Thai Hot and Sour Prawn Soup. Galangal is preferred to ginger as this is more authentic. However, we used fresh ginger to demonstrate another good option that is readily available in most grocery stores.
We know that sometimes it is difficult to find some of Essential Thai Herbs and Spices. However, we have an easy solution. Have you ever tried Gourmet Garden Thai Seasoning stir in paste? You can find in the refrigerator section of the grocery store and it has all of the Thai aromatics already chopped and in a convenient squeeze container. (However, if you are watching your carbs, following a whole30 diet or are diabetic, please note that this has added dextrose to the mix)
This sauce adds that delicious umami flavor to this light and flavorful Thai appetizer. One of our favorite brands that is both gluten-free and Whole 30 approved is Red Boat Fish Sauce. If you want a vegan substitute, be sure to try these homemade vegan fish sauce recipes from Cooking Light.
Sugar or Sugar Alternative of choice
As you already know, Thai cuisine is built on the framework of having balance between the sour, savory spicy and the sweet. You can use brown sugar, if you wish. However, if you are on low carb diet, you can exchange with your favorite sugar alternative of choice. Are you on a whole30 plan this month? No worries! Just add a little date paste to the marinade.
Lime zest and Lime Juice
Limes are essential sour notes. However, if you can get your hands on fresh kaffir lime leaves, these are preferred over the lime zest. Limes can be found at most grocery markets and are very accessible.
We used romaine lettuce this week as that is what we had on hand. However, healthy chicken lettuce wraps also work well with Boston bibb lettuce. Heck if all you have is iceberg lettuce, go for it. We are all about using whatever you have on hand.
Fresh Crisp Vegetables
Cucumbers, bean sprouts, carrots, peppers are all delicious. Open up your crisper and see what you have and use that.
Cilantro and mint are very traditional. If you like chopped green onions, these are nice too.
Roasted Chopped Peanuts
Nuts add a delicious fun crunch to lettuce cups. If there are allergies with peanuts, exchange with roasted crushed almonds.
Prik Nam Pla- The Incredible Thai Table Condiment
This is one delicious sauce that our family loves to slather on everything from eggs to our Authentic Thai Fish Salad. It is sour, sweet, spicy and savory. However, it is especially delicious on Thai ground chicken lettuce wraps. Are you are following a Whole30 diet this month? If so, exchange the sugar with a teaspoon of date paste or so to reach the flavor profile you are looking for.
How to Make Thai Lettuce Wraps?
- Place a lettuce leaf on your plate.
- Put a couple of tablespoons full of cooked Thai ground chicken on the lettuce leaf.
- Top with julienne cut carrots
- Add sliced peppers
- Put a few julienned cucumber slices on top and roasted crushed peanuts
- Drizzle on a little prik nam pla sauce and enjoy! Pick it up like a taco with your hands to eat.
Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Either romaine lettuce or Boston bibb lettuce work best. However, you can use iceberg, leaf lettuce, endive or even cabbage leaves. We are all about using what you have on hand.
The 2 basic foundational ingredients are lettuce leaves and stir-fried Thai ground chicken. Lettuce wraps are best served topped with all of your favorite crunchy vegetables like julienned cucumbers and carrots, bean sprouts and peppers. Fresh herbs like mint, cilantro and green onions are a nice topping. Roasted crushed peanut add an addictive crunch. Don’t forget about the delicious prik nam pla dipping sauce.
If using Romaine lettuce, place the romaine head of lettuce on its side. Trim off the top two-thirds of the leafy top of the lettuce. Leaving ⅓ of it on closest to the stem. Next, carefully remove the leaves one by one. Do not tear the leaves. Rinse the leaves with cool water and pat dry with toweling. The lettuce leaves are now ready for lettuce wraps.
More Delicious Thai Recipes
Thai Pomelo Crab Salad Avocados
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Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- wok or frying pan
Thai Chicken Marinade
- 1.5 pounds ground chicken minced
- 3 tablespoon lemongrass
chopped finely (white parts only) or 3 tablespoons of Lemongrass paste
- 2-3 shallots peeled and chopped or small onion
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoon ginger root fresh or about 1 inch knob grated (exchange with galangal if you have it)
- 1-2 Thai bird chili or to desired heat level
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce
we used Red Boat fish sauce to keep it gluten-free and Whole30 approved.
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
or finely chopped fresh kaffir lime leaves
- salt and white pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoon sugar or sugar alternative to follow Whole30 diet exchange with date paste.
- 1 tablespoon oil light flavored
Lettuce Wraps veggies
- 1 head romaine lettuce iceberg or Boston bibb lettuce works well
- 2 carrots peeled and cut into thin match sticks about 2 inches long
- 1 cucumber
peeled and cut into thin match sticks about 2 inches long
- 1 red bell peppers deseeded and cut into thin match sticks about 2 inches long
- 1 cup cilantro fresh (stems removed)
- ½ cup mint
optional (stems removed)
- ¾ cup peanuts roasted and crushed (almonds are a great substitute if allergy)
Thai Dipping Sauce
- 6 tablespoon prik nam pla
- Marinate ground chicken: In a bowl, add ground chicken, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, ginger, Thai chili peppers, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar or sugar alternative, white pepper and lime zest. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes while you prepare and chop the vegetables. You may also marinate overnight, if you desire in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Cut your lettuce from the core. We used Romaine lettuce and cut about ¾ down from the leafy end side and left approximately ⅓ of the white section near the core off. Carefully remove each leaf and rinse under cold water and dry with paper towels. Set aside to dry.
- Wash, chop and prepare your vegetables and herbs. Use what you have on hand. We used carrots, cucumbers, peppers and julienned sliced them. Bean sprouts are nice too. We washed our cilantro and mint and removed the stem. (This can be done the day before as well) Lay your lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, bean sprouts, cilantro and mint on a serving tray, if you plan on serving your lettuce wraps family style.
- Make Prik Nam Pla dipping sauce. https://www.hwcmagazine.com/recipe/prik-nam-pla/
- Add oil to wok or pan and stir fry marinated chicken for about 5 minutes or until the the chicken is no longer pink. Add in sugar, sugar alternatives or date paste to sweeten and salt and white pepper to taste. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes longer or until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
- Assemble your Healthy Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Allow your guest to grab a plate and then start with the lettuce cup in your plate, put some cooked Thai style ground chicken in the lettuce cup, followed by all the delicious crunchy vegetables and fresh cilantro and mint, crushed peanuts and top with a couple of teaspoons full of the delicious zesty prik nam pla sauce. Fold over your lettuce wrap like a taco. Eat and Enjoy and repeat the process until your happy.
Heidi | The Frugal Girls says
Your amazing Thai style chicken adds so much delicious flavor to these lettuce wraps. This is one treat that will satisfy my whole family!
HWC Magazine says
Thank you Heidi. Thai chicken lettuce wraps are a quick and easy meal hen you want something light.
Susan Hargreaves says
These are simply delicious and you can substitute tofu or avocado for chicken and make them vegetarian!
HWC Magazine says
Thanks so much Susan. You certainly can. With a drizzle of prink nam pla sauce on top, its all the flavor you need. Stay well and take care
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
Your lettuce wraps look so good, I haven't had them...well, since covid had me not doing my own grocery shopping. I usually buy the lemongrass paste from Gourmet Garden but am now going to look for the Thai seasoning paste, I'm glad you showed it in your video, thanks.
HWC Magazine says
Thanks so much Karen. It has been difficult getting out and about and the Thai seasoning paste is a real game changer. For a paste, it is quite good and allows us to continue making all of our usual Thai recipes even when we can't get out to the Asian market.
The perfect light meal for warmer weather and to help lose some of the quarantine weight. 🙂 And with the Thai flavors these are irresistible.
HWC Magazine says
Thank you MJ! Could not agree more, quarantine weight is a real thing indeed. Time to get those portion sizes smaller... LOL
The Thai twist sounds terrific!! These beat out the restaurant version by a mile!!!
HWC Magazine says
Thanks so much Liz. Love the savory, sour, spicy and sweet combination of Thai ingredients in our chicken lettuce wraps. Take care
These laarb wraps look so light yet full of flavour! They're great for summer meals when it gets too hot and you don't want to eat too much! 😉
HWC Magazine says
Thank you Michelle. Summer like weather is right around the corner and already here for many. We love how light and fresh lettuce wraps are too.
Lovely reminder of bygone days ! At my two daughters' birthday parties thus was probably the most favourite asked-for dish - the kids could actually make their own without parents bossing them from the background !!! Living in Australia many regularly accompanied their parents to various Far East countries . . . oh, the 'showing off' as to 'how to' 🙂 ! Personally I have 'met' this more in Chinese lands . . . first actually having made them at the 'Mandarin' in Hong Kong - and my favourite SE cuisines are Vietnamese to the north and fusion Malaysian to the south . . . but this is a wonderful lesson . . .
HWC Magazine says
Hiya and thank you Eha! Just like there are different Asian versions of hotpot or suki, there are just as many versions of lettuce wraps or Larb from all over Asia. We also love the fresh flavor of Vietnam and the delicious Malaysian curries and such. Being able to travel the world from the comfort of your own kitchen is so much fun! We also have a tradition in our family that with each international dish we need to be able to say the basic hello and thank you in whatever language the cuisine was from, sometimes more. Stay well and take care
Hannah Kaminsky says
It's been so hot out here lately, light and refreshing lettuce wraps sound like the perfect way to stay cool!
HWC Magazine says
Indeed! Hot and very humid in some places so a refreshing lettuce wrap really hits the spot. Stay well and take care
This is a perfect summer dish! crisp, fresh with a bit of zing. Yum
HWC Magazine says
Thanks so much Raymund. With a little Thai bird chili, it has a little kick. Stay well and take care
[email protected] is How I Cook says
Larb is one of my favorite dishes. I eat it all summer long. So easy to make and so addicting! Good one as usual Bobbie!
HWC Magazine says
Ours too! There is nothing more refreshing than a few lettuce wraps out on the deck with something cold refreshing in the other hand on a nice spring or summer day. Take Care