These Chinese Turkey Lettuce Wraps are saucey, flavorful and so satisfying. And unlike all of the predictable thai-inspired versions featuring peanut butter, these healthy lettuce wraps have bold, complex flavors from five-spice powder, orange marmalade, ginger, serranos and more.
Spooned into crunchy savoy cabbage leaves and topped with slices of crisp Asian pears, these wraps are the perfect way to use up leftover turkey! Think that’s it? These healthy wraps come together in just 30 minutes!
What kind of lettuce is best for lettuce wraps?
Depending on what your filling is, there are quite a few options to choose from. Here are some that work the best:
- Butterhead or Bibb lettuce
- Wonderful for lighter fillings like chicken salad.
- Not very flavorful or nutritions, iceberg works well for wrapping up classic sandwich fillings.
- Savoy cabbage
- Great for heartier fillings like this Chinese turkey as well as taco meat and toppings.
- A smaller lettuce that works well for appetizers like these Blue Cheese and Pear bites.
This recipe calls for turkey, can I use chicken?
Of course! This recipe was developed with leftover turkey in mind but it works just as well with cooked chicken. You can cook and shred chicken breasts or thighs or employ rotisserie chicken for an even quicker dinner.
How long does cooked turkey last?
Cooked turkey will last 4–5 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
This recipe calls for pearled sorghum, what is that?
First off, sorghum is a gluten-free whole grain that’s similar in size to couscous. It’s high in protein, like quinoa, as well as fiber which makes it a great addition to salads, soups, fillings and more.
Sorghum itself is a pretty hard grain, so it takes quite a bit of time to cook. For this recipe I opted to use NuLife Market’s pearled variety because it cooks in about half the time (essential for weeknight cooking) and has a wonderful tender, chewy texture. Their pearled sorghum isn’t sold everywhere, so if you’re interested in learning more or getting a few bags, check out NuLife Market’s website for product details.
What are the five spices in five-spice powder?
Also referred to as Chinese five-spice powder, these five spices are always combined to make this classic spice blend.
- Star anise
- Sichuan peppercorns
What goes well with lettuce wraps?
If your lettuce wraps contain some kind of whole-grain then I’ll usually serve them with a fresh fruit salad. If they don’t then I’ll often serve a simple pilaf or grain salad on the side. Easy and healthy!
And if you’re looking for a full menu, check out this Leftover Turkey Menu!
Chinese Turkey Lettuce Wraps
These Chinese Turkey Lettuce Wraps are saucey, flavorful and so satisfying.
Make the most of turkey leftovers in these healthy lettuce wraps that have bold, complex flavors from five-spice powder, orange marmalade, ginger, serranos and more. Plus, they only take 30 minutes to come together!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings (4 cups) 1x
- Category: Lunch/Dinner
- Cuisine: Asian
For the Pilaf:
2 cups cooked pearled sorghum grain (or grain of choice such as brown rice or quinoa)
¼ cup minced cilantro
¼ cup minced fresh scallions
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup minced scallion whites
2 tablespoons minced serrano chiles
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
1 cup low-sodium chicken or bone broth
6 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 cups chopped cooked turkey (about 1 pound) or chicken
2½ cup thinly sliced celery
½ cup sliced scallion greens + more for serving
Salt and pepper
1 savoy cabbage, leaves separated
2 cups sliced asian pears
1 serrano or fresno chile, sliced
For the pilaf, combine sorghum, cilantro, scallions, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
For the filling, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium. Add scallion whites, serranos, ginger, and garlic and cook until softened, 2–3 minutes. Stir in five-spice and cook 30 seconds.
Deglaze pan with broth then stir in marmalade and soy sauce and cook until thickened and syrupy, 6 minutes.
Stir in turkey and celery and cook until heated through, 1–2 minutes. Off heat stir in scallion greens; season with salt and pepper.
Spoon pilaf and filling into cabbage leaves, top with pear slices, scallion greens, and serrano slices; serve.
Make ahead tips:
- You can make the filling up to 2 days ahead. Reheat filling in a sauté pan over medium heat until heated through.
- The pilaf can be made up to 5 days ahead, just reheat in microwave when ready to eat.
What equipment you’ll need for this recipe:
- Sauté pan