Asian Lettuce Cups Recipe with Ground Turkey & Green Apple

Asian Lettuce Cups

What you’ll learn:

  • How to make a vegetarian version of this Asian Lettuce Cups Recipe
  • How to properly “cook” the apples
  • How long you should fry the mung bean noodles

Don’t you feel like this dish should just ::wink:: and do a little sexy twirl?  Such a flirty little thing!

“Asian Lettuce Wraps” or “Asian Lettuce Cups” is the most requested recipe on my site.  I’ve updated this Asian Lettuce Cups Recipe to be lighter, more refreshing and healthier.  No goopy cornstarchy sauce!  Sorry, P.F. Chang!  You can make a vegetarian version – just substitute crumbed tofu, more vegetables or even plain rice for the ground turkey. Traditionally, the recipe includes canned water chestnuts, which honestly taste like crunchy styrofoam.  Instead, I’ve used crisp diced green apples – which is much tastier.

The mung bean noodles look clear and transparent when dried and puff up in just a few seconds time when fried. They are NOT “rice noodles” – when in doubt, look at the ingredient list on the back. It should say “mung beans.”

Hey…who’s stealing my apples?


Asian Lettuce Cups Recipe

Servings: Prep Time: Cook Time:
Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 3.59.12 PM


The Sauce:
1-1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 stalks, scallions
1 pound ground turkey or chicken
2 cups mixed vegetables (frozen pea/carrots, finely diced bell peppers, etc.)
1/2 green apple, finely diced
1 head boston bibb lettuce, leaves washed and separated
2 skeins, Mung Bean Noodles
2 medium carrots, Use vegetable peeler to peel cut carrot into paper thin strips.  Use knife to further cut into super duper thin strands. Or, use the handy kitchen gadget <- I like this gadget


1. To fry the mung bean noodles, heat a wok or small sauce pan (something not too wide at its base. the smaller the base width, the less oil you will need to use) with about 2 inches of cooking oil. While oil is heating to 375F, use your hands to separate the strands of the mung bean noodle into small clumps. When oil hot, fry one batch at a time. It should only take 10 seconds to fry. Remove, drain on paper towels.

2. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

3. To make the filling, heat wok on high heat with cooking oil. When oil is hot, add scallions, ginger and garlic and fry a few seconds until fragrant. Add turkey or chicken and fry until almost cooked through. Add the vegetables  and cook 1 minute. Add sauce ingredients. Let simmer for 1 minute to thicken slightly.

4. Add the apples. Toss to coat. Immediately remove from heat. You don't want to "cook" the apples - keep them nice and crunchy. Serve with lettuce cups, carrot shavings and fried mung bean noodles.


Kitt’s comment below just reminded me of the great weekend we just had with my baby birds.

Fighting for “THE BITE.”

Andrew is taller, he has the advantage.

But Nathan has sharp teeth

And swoops in for the kill

Did I scold him? Hell no. Smart strategy I say!

More recipes to explore:

Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cups with Tropical Fruit Salsa (Steamy Kitchen)

15 Minute Asian Light Meals (Steamy Kitchen)

Fried Noodles with Garlic Shrimp (Steamy Kitchen)

Asian Slaw with Ponzu Dressing (Steamy Kitchen)

Chicken Lettuce Cups (Epicurious)


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Comments 83

  1. Steamy Kitchen

    Terry- my eyes are watering just thinking about those potatoes!

    Nora- I like water chestnuts + shrimp in dumplings too. And you are right – it stays crunchy. Too bad it doesn’t have much taste.

    Chris- Thank you!

    Coffee- Can you believe these two little guys already have girlfriends???

    W&S- watch out….Nathan really does have sharp teeth

    Lemongrass- yes! I will try that next time

  2. Joanna Dyckhoff

    These totally beat my wraps, I’m trying your recipe!

    Hey hot stuff, I’m TAGGING you! Post 8 random facts/habits about yourself and then tag 8 other bloggers to do the same by listing their names in your post and then leaving them a comment on their blog! Looking forward to learning more about you!

  3. Christine

    Awww sweet photos!! Your little boys are adorable, I could have sworn they were twins too. 🙂 And I love the lettuce cups – turkey with green apple? Sounds like my kind of meal! 🙂

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  5. Sea

    Ohh… *blush* The above is the link from my blog. Thanks so much for including gluten free modifications for your recipe- I modify recipes all the time but it’s nice to have that step taken out for me. I also LOVE the rooster sauce. I don’t actually eat meat, but I bet this would be tasty with tofu as well.

    Have you tried fresh water chestnuts? I know the canned ones taste like something that have been sitting in grandma’s basement stewing for a few years, but fresh, peeled ones kick some major patootie. They’re darned tasty. Jicama is also a surprisingly good substitute, although apple also sounds yummy.

    I discovered your blog recently and am really enjoying it- you actually had me giggling over my computer screen with recent posts, so you can bet I’ll be back. Thanks!


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  7. firex4icex

    Okay your kids could not get any cute.

    Also, my husband LOVES that rooster sauce.

    My gosh golly gee – I thought he was only insane enough to use that.

    When you say a squirt amount you do not lie.

    That stuff will light up your life.

  8. House Spouse

    I made your lettuce cups last night for my husband, a friend and me, and WOW, what a success! My friend and I had just been running, and was the perfect post-run dinner! SO satisfying! I put my husband on mung bean frying duty and he was thrilled with how cool that was.

    I love rooster sauce, but I usually have the garlic and chili sauce around (the kind you spoon out) instead of the plain chili sauce in the squeeze bottle, so I used that instead. I’m probably making this dish again next week.

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  10. ka_woman

    i just had to tell you that the flavor of this dish was soooooooo good… but unfortunately, i didn’t have a thermometer handy and totally burned the heck out of the noodles and caused a smoky mess!!! it was delicious nonetheless!!

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  14. Cigars Online

    Yes sir! These look amazing. I can’t wait to try them.. nothing like little lettuce wraps with meat and the fixins. My husband and I are hooked on the texture of these! So awesome. Kudos. Great pictures too!

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  25. Melissa

    Love this recipe! Have made it a few times in past few weeks & as a chicken variation, so good!! Yummy! Love the pictures of your kids, it’s hilarious!!

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