Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

Cutting carbs? ‘Lettuce’ tempt you with this Asian burrito alternative

Recipe: Lettuce wraps with spicy pork or chicken filling

Lettuce wraps
Spiced chicken or pork makes a delicious filling
for lettuce wraps. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)
Lettuce wraps have been part of Chinese cuisine for centuries. Think of a lettuce wrap as a burrito with a leaf instead of a tortilla. They’re fun food that’s also low in carbohydrates.

Any large-leaf lettuce will do, although you may need to double-layer leaves for a better wrap. Iceberg, Boston bibb lettuce and romaine are common wrappers because their leaves are naturally sturdy.

For this recipe, I used home-grown Red Sails loose leaf lettuce. It was as delicious as it was pretty (but extra napkins came in handy).
Meat and veggies cook quickly in a wok.
Lettuce wraps with spicy pork or chicken filling
Makes 4 appetizer servings or 2 main dish servings


2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup celery, diced
2/3 cup mushrooms, diced
½ cup carrots, grated
1 cup cooked pork or chicken, diced
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder*
½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Lettuce leaves
Hoisin sauce

Homegrown Red Sails lettuce makes a colorful, delicious

In a wok or large heavy skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and saute until slightly golden, stirring often. Add onion and celery; stir fry until vegetables start to turn soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; stir fry until mushrooms soften and start to release their juices, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrots, stir fry to blend; about 1 minute.

Add chopped cooked pork or chicken, stirring to blend. Add wine; stir and let simmer, about 2 minutes.

Blend soy sauce with cornstarch, sugar, ginger and five-spice powder. Stir this soy-cornstarch mix into liquid in the pan. Add red pepper flakes to taste. Stir fry until sauce become translucent and coats meat and vegetables, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to bowl and keep warm.

To serve: Gently separate lettuce into large leaves. Smear about 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce on inside of leaf. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on top and roll leaf around filling like a burrito, folding one end to seal the filling inside. Eat immediately, with plenty of napkins.

*Chinese five-spice powder is a traditional blend of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, ginger and pepper; use sparingly.


0 comments have been posted.

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Thanks to our sponsor!

Be Water Smart

Local News

Ad for California Local

Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

Contact Us

Send us a gardening question, a post suggestion or information about an upcoming event.