+ Asian lettuce cups - a simple, healthy, gluten and dairy free meal

Asian lettuce cups

This is such an easy to make,  healthy dish with lots of fresh Asian flavours.  Children also love putting it together so let them choose a lettuce cup, fill and roll it themselves.  I’ve even had children over who generally refuse to eat salad, happily eat this, lettuce and all!

Why is it so nutritious?
Well, the mince or quinoa is a great source of protein.  The garlic, ginger and shitake are great for immune support.  The lettuce and vegetables add valuable nutrients and fibre.

Try it for lunch or dinner.  It’s a real favourite in our household.

Serves 4-6

1 iceberg or butter leaf lettuce, washed and leaves separated
500gram turkey or chicken mince
1 red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chilli
1 tablespoon tamari
¼ cup cashew nuts toasted
1 lime, juiced
Optional extras
I often add all of these, but feel free to adjust to suit your taste:
1-2 cm ginger, peeled and grated
1 cup mushrooms, shitake (best), button or Swiss brown, sliced
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced or julienned
1 red capsicum, julienned
1 red chilli, seeded and diced
Handful Thai basil, leaves picked (or finely chopped for fussy kids)
Handful Vietnamese or regular mint, leaves picked (or finely chopped for fussy kids)
Handful of coriander leaves, leaves picked (or finely chopped for fussy kids)
1 kaffir lime leave, finely chopped


  1. In a wok or large pan, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil.
  2. Add the mince, onion, garlic and ginger.  Increase the heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mince is cooked (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the mushrooms, carrot, capsicum and chilli.  Continue to stir for a few more minutes, add the fish sauce, sweet chilli and tamari.
  4. Stir through to coat the mince well, then turn off the heat.
  5.  Stir in the cashews, lime juice and fresh herbs.
  6. Place the wok or pan on the table to self-serve.
  7. Break the leaves away from an iceberg or butter leaf lettuce and arrange on a plate.
  8. To serve simply place the mince into the lettuce cup, fold it in and enjoy.

Substitute the mince with quinoa.

Nut free
Swap the cashews for toasted sesame seeds.

For kids (or adults) who just won’t eat lettuce
Serve the mince mix on rice or quinoa.

Make it go further
I often have a little left over mince from this meal.  So I use it to make another meal the next day.  These are ways I stretch it:

  • Mix through some shredded cabbage or lettuce, add more lime juice and use it as a filling for fresh spring rolls (my kids favourite lunch).
  • Stir through cooked quinoa and make more lettuce cups.
  • Mix it through salad leaves, more fresh herbs, cabbage and the juice of a lime to make an Asian inspired salad.

Time saving tip
I always prepare all of my ingredients in advance and just throw this together at the last minute as the cooking time is very minimal.  I also have a julienne peeler (from a kitchen appliance shop), which I love as it juliennes perfectly and quickly.

 Love this? Why not post a comment below.


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  • Debbie

    I have just cooked this for the second time for dinner. Both times have been a big hit with the adults and the kids (served with rice for one who isn’t big on lettuce). Easy to prepare and cook and lots of yummy flavours. Thanks for the recipe Georgia. I can see this becoming a regular meal over summer in our house.

    • Glad you and your family like it Debbie. A favourite in our house too and an easy make. Thanks for your feedback, G x

  • Jodie

    Just wondering if you have a TMX version of this recipe. I know it seems simple but I am a novice cook and TMX user and would prefer instructions if possible!! TIA

    • Hi Jodie, personally I like to make this in my wok. But to make in the TMX first chop your garlic, onion, ginger, chilli 10 sec, speed 5. Add oil and sauté temp 100/ 2 minutes/speed 1. Add your mince, set to reverse, temp100, 7-10 mins, speed 1 (you may need to break the mince apart a little) – this is the hardest part as if it is on too high speed it breaks the mince apart too much and makes it mushy. Add the fish sauce, sweet chilli and tamari (and any additional veggies) and cook 100/speed 1/ reverse for 2 minutes. top with herbs and serve G x

  • Jodie

    I have found chicken mince bland and dry in the past, but obviously I wasn’t using the right recipe. These are so delicious! I love your ability to combine tasty flavours! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us!

  • Claire

    This meal won over my lettuce resistant boys. My youngest needed a little encouragement, but I found that wrapping up the lettuce parcels and saying “special delivery for Owen” as I ferried them onto his plate did the trick. You have made this tired and worn out mum very happy, Georgia. Thanks again.

    • That’s just awesome Claire, so glad they got on board and enjoy this yummy and nourishing meal Gx

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