Chicken lime lettuce wraps are a quick and easy weeknight meal or fun appetizer, made in 10 minutes using precooked rotisserie style chicken. Check out more great Quick Healthy Recipes like this one!
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So, you've got just an hour in between dance class for one child and basketball for another. Or you've just gotten home from a day of shopping and errands and have 45 minutes before you need to leave for an evening engagement. We've all been there, and it's tempting at these times to just go through a drive-through or slap together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Here's where having a couple of go-to 10 to 15 minute recipes can save your sanity, help you eat healthier, and enjoy your meals even in limited time.
Menu planning is your friend here too, since you can mark the days where you'll have limited time and plan your quickest, easiest meals. Keep packets of cooked chicken, beans, and ground meat in the freezer, and keep the fridge stocked with vegetables and you can quickly plan lots of meals, even if you don't have 'freezer meals' all ready to go.
One of our favorite ways to use cooked chicken and vegetables, in particular, is making chicken lime lettuce wraps. I love the ease, freshness, and flavor of lettuce wraps - they are a quick meal that can be changed up fairly easily.
Plus if you've got lots of garden to use up (it's either feast or famine with garden lettuce!) it's a great alternative to salads, since you can only eat so much, right?
Why Chicken Lime Lettuce Wraps
I've tried all kinds of lettuce wraps over the years and this quickly became our favorite for a couple of reasons:
- We use precooked chicken, either leftover or from a rotisserie chicken, so they're done fast.
- Lime in the chicken filling makes them even more fresh tasting and a bit different.
- It's easy to use what you have - shredded carrots, cabbage, zucchini or diced broccoli or sweet peppers.
You can serve lettuce wraps as an appetizer as well as a main dish - they're a good healthy option among all the cheesy dips.
When serving as a main dish you can add sides of fried or plain rice, plus a few cut vegetables with a dip, or serve them with Spicy Vegetable Noodle Salad.
Chicken Lime Lettuce Wraps Ingredients
The key ingredients that give the dish it's essence are chicken, of course, lime, garlic, onion, and carrot. Though I suppose carrot is not so key, since I just said that you could use what you have and replace it with other vegetables.
So: any shredded or diced vegetable is a "key" ingredient. You get to choose what kind! I love these just as much with diced sweet red peppers, for example.
Wondering what kind of lettuce is "best" for wraps?
The lettuce pictured here are leaves of "Tom Thumb," a small butterhead lettuce I grow in our garden, but romaine and crisphead lettuces like iceberg or summertime work just as well.
Or basically any lettuce you have on hand in the 30 minutes before you have to head out the door again!
And while these are terrific on their own, they are scrumptious drizzled with a bit of honey-sweetened Sweet Chili Sauce or Sriracha for a bit more heat.
I have no doubt that after trying these, they will become a menu planning staple like they have for me!
Chicken Lime Lettuce Wraps
- 1/3 cup lime juice about 3 small or 2 large limes
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1-2 tablespoons peanut coconut, or olive oil
- 1 small onion cut in half and sliced thinly
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Thai chile or serrano or jalapeno chili minced (optional - 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce can be substituted)
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (or use about 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey, cooked with onion in step 2)
- 2 large carrots peeled and shredded (or shredded cabbage, broccoli, snow peas, etc. and diced red sweet pepper)
- 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 head lettuce separated into leaves (butterhead, romaine or rotisserie)
- 1 tablespoon minced lemon verbena or lemon balm leaves optional
- sweet chili sauce and/or Sriracha optional for serving
- Combine lime juice, honey, fish sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over med-high heat, add the onions and cook for a couple minutes. Lower heat to medium and add garlic and chile or red pepper flakes and stir together.
- Add chicken and shredded carrots or vegetables and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the lime juice mixture and mint, stirring together just until heated through.
- Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Spoon heaping tablespoons of chicken-lime mixture onto lettuce leaves and serve with optional lemon verbena and sweet chili sauce.
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Note: this article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated with new photos, formatting and printable recipe. Enjoy!
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