This chicken and mushroom lettuce wraps recipe makes for the perfect weeknight dinner. The entire family will love it, and you’ll love knowing that it’s packed with delicious vegetables. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
One of my favorite dishes to order at Asian restaurants is chicken lettuce wraps. They always taste light and fresh, and I love them as my main meal vs. appetizer.
PF Chang’s offers gluten-free lettuce wraps, and I order them every time I visit. I can’t say PF Chang’s makes the “best” lettuce wraps, but they do scratch that itch if you know what I mean.
Because I love lettuce wraps so much, I’ve come up with my own version of chicken and mushroom lettuce wraps, and I can’t wait to share this health-forward recipe with you.
Why I Created this Recipe
As you probably know, organic chicken is very expensive these days and my grocery bills are sky-high due in part to having to eat gluten free, and due in part that I’m feeding four hungry meat eaters. I’m always on the lookout for ways to eat more frugally without sacrificing taste. By filling these lettuce wraps with more mushrooms and less chicken, I’m able to save quite a bit of money.
I also want to eat less meat. Chicken is a highly acidic food and can be tough for a damaged digestive system to comfortably digest. I’ve always found that when I eat less meat, my digestive system works optimally. In other words, I just feel better when I eat less meat.
It’s also not a secret that chicken is not a sustainable food, especially in the quantities our society consumes it today. I want to do my part for the planet by eating less meat.
I created this recipe to be veggie-forward, meaning the vegetables are at the center of this dish, not the chicken. However, because they still contain some chicken, they still offer up that savory taste I love.
To make my chicken and mushroom lettuce wraps, you’ll need the following ingredients:
Chicken: You can use either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Regardless, you’ll want to use your food processor to pulse the chicken into small pieces. Do not overgrind. You want the chicken to be in small bits but not pulverized. You can, alternatively, use store-bought ground chicken instead.
I used two chicken thighs or breasts (about 6-8 ounces total) to feed my family of four. Usually I would dedicate one or more piece of chicken per person, but because this is a veggie-forward recipe, I used less meat.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms almost mimic the texture and taste of the chicken in this dish. I used 16 ounces of portobello mushrooms which I finely chopped up with a knife.
To complete the filling, you’ll also need:
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 8-ounce can of water chestnuts
- 2-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
For the marinade and sauce, you’ll need:
- Tamari sauce (or gluten-free soy sauce)
- Rice wine vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Chili garlic sauce
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Red pepper flakes
Finally, you’ll need lettuce wraps or cups. You can use a head of iceberg lettuce, but I find it hard to keep the large lettuce pieces intact. I now prefer butter lettuce cups or baby romaine lettuce cups.
If you don’t want to use lettuce, you could also serve this dish over rice. And yes, rice is gluten free.
Marinate the Chicken
I find these lettuce wraps taste best when marinated. Add your chicken to a small bowl and mix with:
- 2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2-6 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
Cover the bowl and place the chicken mixture in your fridge to marinate for 1-2 hours.
Prepare the Filling
Heat 1-2 tbsp of avocado oil in a pan, then add your onion. Cook the onion for 2-4 minutes and then add the marinated chicken and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
Next, add the ground mushrooms and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms cooks off, about 5-7 minutes.
Then add the red pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Finally, add the chopped water chestnuts.
While the mixture is cooking, you can multitask to prepare your sauce.
Combine 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth, 3 tbsp of tamari and 1 tbsp of cornstarch to a bowl and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the sauce to the mixture and mix well. The sauce will thicken. Add the red pepper flakes and additional tamari (optional) until seasoned to taste.
Assemble the Chicken and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps
When you’re ready to assemble your chicken and mushroom lettuce wraps, simply add a scoop of the filling mixture to the center of each lettuce cup. Top with chopped scallions (optional) and sesame seeds (optional). Easy, right?
Flavor: If the sauce isn’t flavorful enough, add more tamari or red pepper flakes. Season as desired, you can’t go wrong.
Sauce too Liquidy: If the sauce is too liquidy, add a cornstarch slurry (1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water). Turn the heat up and mix, mix, mix.
Sauce too Thick: If the sauce is too thick or not to your liking, add more chicken broth and/or tamari, to taste.
Alternative Ways to Serve the Filling: If you don’t like lettuce cups or don’t have lettuce wraps, you can use a corn or cassava flour tortilla, or serve the filling over rice.
Got Other Veggies? Add vegetables you like, delete any you don’t. You really can’t go wrong. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Chicken and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil or other vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 16 ounces portobello mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 16 ounce can of water chestnuts finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes or more to taste
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce separated into cups
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds optional
- 1 green onion chopped, optional
- Combine all the "Marinade" ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Heat avocado oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 2-4 minutes until softened. Add ground chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add mushrooms to mixture and cook for 5-6 minutes until the mushroom liquid cooks off. Add red bell pepper and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the water chestnuts and cooking for another minute.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour mixture of filling and allow the mixture to boil and bubble a little to thicken the sauce. Mix well and remove from heat.
- Add a scoop of the filling to your lettuce cups and top with sesame seeds (optional) and/or chopped green onions (optional).