Skip to main content

Herby Asian-Style Lettuce Wraps

Published: 5/25/18
By Catherine Newman

By Catherine Newman 

Makes: 2-3 servings

Total carbohydrates: 2-6 grams per serving, depending on accompaniments

Hands-on time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

This is such an insanely delicious dinner that my family can identify it by smell from outside of our house. Plus, it’s lots of fun for each person to assemble their own wraps with all their favorite herbs and accompaniments. Even the herb-suspicious tend to feel friendly towards fresh mint, if you can get your hands on some. The only problem is the deliciousness itself, which makes it so that you kind of have to double this recipe to feed a family of four.


3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon Sriracha or sambal oelek (or something else spicy)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil      

2 scallions, slivered

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound ground beef (yes, you can use turkey)

For serving

  • 1 head of butter lettuce or Boston bibb lettuce, whole leaves washed and dried

  • 2 cups fresh herb leaves, ideally mint, basil, and cilantro (or pick 1 or 2)

  • Carrots (grated) and/or radishes (sliced), and/or cucumber (sliced or cut into thin strips), sprinkled with salt and white or rice vinegar

  • Pickled jalapeno slices (from a jar)

  • Slivered scallions

  • Hot sauce


1. In a small bowl or mug, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot sauce.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, then add the ground beef, raise the heat to high, and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks.

3. Stir in soy sauce mixture and simmer until it’s heated through, about 2 minutes.

4. Let folks at the table help themselves to lettuce leaves, which they should think of as a kind of leafy taco shell and fill with meat, herbs, veggies, and other accompaniments.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

What do you think?

About the authors

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop... Read the full bio »