These healthy lettuce wraps are inspired by the PF Changs lettuce wraps recipe but are totally Whole30 compliant and paleo. Loaded with flavor and with lots of veggies, these easy healthy lettuce wraps are made with pork or chicken and are a great Whole30 dinner recipe. They’re filling yet light, totally healthy, and slightly sweet yet nutty and spicy.
We’d pile in the Jeep, the cool car with the windows that unzip, and head down the flat streets with palm trees on either side. Past the rocky hills in the shapes of monks praying or the humps of camels, towards PF Changs, the new Asian place with the funny crunchy noodles and the “lettuce wraps,” which were basically tacos you ate in leaves. We were celebrating a birthday or the first day of school or the last day of school or it was just too hot to cook and we’d already had Taco Bell twice that week.
We had a set order at PF Chang’s when I was little: their healthy lettuce wraps, wonton soup, honey chicken. Back then, I was 10 or so, living in Scottsdale, Arizona where it was hot as hell but still cold when you got out of the pool. It’s a dry heat, I learned later, experiencing the contrast first-hand as we settled into the jungle-like humidity of the American Southeast.
I didn’t know that PF Changs, the local Asian place back then, would expand across the country and take on permanent chain restaurant status. All I knew was that lettuce wraps were too cool and the servers made the dipping sauce and we were eating something so different and funky, and that right there, that might have been the moment I first started falling in love with foods from different cultures, like healthy lettuce wraps and Szechuan chicken, with different tastes and textures than I was used to, with something other than tuna noodle casserole or chicken soup chicken or ground beef and gravy over mashed potatoes.
And while I wouldn’t claim that that food was necessarily authentic back then, certainly not now, I’m still wild about those healthy lettuce wraps. The savory ground meat with crunchy water chestnuts and salty, spicy sauce work perfectly enveloped in the light, crisp lettuce cups. And with hardly any processed carbs to replace, I had to make a Whole30 version!
Why this recipe is so good
- These Whole30 lettuce wraps are loaded with flavor and full of veggies.
- They’re seasoned with naturally sweet coconut aminos, creamy almond butter, and nutty sesame oil. Sautéed with mushrooms, water chestnuts, and shredded carrots, they’re filling but light and will make you feel fantastic.
- These healthy lettuce wraps are totally Whole30 compliant, and they’re perfect to make when you’re tired of meatballs and eggs and chimichurri steak (IF THATS EVEN POSSIBLE).
- This recipe is so easy: sauté some stuff, pour some sauce over the stuff, and boom, done.
- These healthy lettuce wraps can be made easily with ground chicken instead of ground pork.
- Try diced shiitake or even white button mushrooms in place of the baby bellas.
- Make a vegan version: swap the ground meat for vegetarian crumbles. Meatless Monday win!
- Make these as your weekly meal prep: make the healthy lettuce wraps filling and pack them with crisp lettuce leaves. This Whole30 recipe is a reader meal prep fave!
- Make my Whole30 sriracha recipe for the ultimate lettuce wraps. It’s surprisingly easy and the flavor is out of this world.
- If you’re not on a Whole30 or paleo diet, swap the almond butter for peanut butter. This substitution gives these healthy lettuce wraps such a savory twist.
- These would also make an awesome potluck dish when you just happen to be on a Whole30: no one will know these healthy lettuce wraps are compliant. Win-win.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Egg Roll in a Bowl with Creamy Chili Sauce (Keto, Whole30, Paleo)
- Paleo Chinese Chicken Salad (Whole30)
- Whole30 Sriracha
- Breakfast Egg Roll in a Bowl (Whole30, Paleo)
- Whole30 Bang Bang Shrimp
- Creamy Whole30 Tuscan Chicken with Artichokes (Paleo)
- Whole30 “Peanut” Chicken Bowls (Paleo)
- Egg Roll in a Bowl Meal Prep (Whole30, Paleo, Keto)
- Whole30 Marry Me Chicken (Paleo, Dairy Free)
- Creamy Whole30 Bacon Mushroom Chicken Thighs with Thyme (Paleo)
- Whole30 Thai Chicken Zoodle Bowl
For the Lettuce Wraps
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon Whole30-compliant hot sauce see Notes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ of one yellow onion diced
- 1 cup baby bella mushrooms minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound ground pork or ground chicken
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts diced
- 3 green onions thinly sliced, 1 tablespoon reserved
- 1 head bibb lettuce leaves gently removed from stem
For the Sauce
Suggested Garnishes (All Optional)
- sesame seeds
- thinly sliced green onions
- 2 small bowls
- Large skillet
- rubber or silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- In small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup coconut aminos, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger, and 1 tablespoon compliant hot sauce. Whisk vigorously until all ingredients are fully incorporated, then set bowl aside.
- Heat large skillet over medium heat. When warm, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl pan to coat evenly. When oil is hot and shimmering, add diced onion. Cook 3 minutes or until onion begins to soften, then add minced mushrooms. Cook another 3 minutes or until onion is translucent and mushrooms begin to soften. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, or until garlic is fragrant, stirring constantly.
- Add ground pork to skillet. Cook, crumbling with spatula or wooden spoon, until pork is browned. Add shredded carrots and cook, stirring constantly, until carrots begin to soften, approximately 3 minutes.
- Pour prepared coconut amino mixture into skillet with ground pork. Stir until ingredients are incorporated, then add water chestnuts and green onions. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove skillet from heat. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and set aside.
- Add all sauce ingredients to small bowl and whisk vigorously until ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Assemble lettuce wraps by spooning 3 to 4 tablespoons of ground pork mixture into center of lettuce leaves or cups. Garnish with sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions if desired, and serve immediately with prepared sauce.
- Hot Sauce: Use a Whole30-compliant hot sauce, or make your own Whole30-compliant sriracha. If you’re not on a Whole30 round, you can use regular sriracha or sambal oelek instead of hot sauce.
- Coconut Aminos: If you’re not paleo or on a Whole30 round then soy sauce or lite tamari can be used in place of the coconut aminos.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.