PF Changs Lettuce Wraps~this super easy copycat recipe is unbelievably delicious, healthy and ready in 20 minutes!
I love Copycat recipes.
They’re seriously one of my favorite things out there.
They do so much good for a family. They reduce the cost of eating out, and allow you to make a restaurant dish healthier and oftentimes tastier.
This copycat recipe for PF Chang’s lettuce wraps is one of the best I’ve found out there.
It accomplishes the goal of tasting just like the original, restaurant version, while simultaneously allowing you to experiment and make the dish fresher, healthier, cheaper for sure, and more delicious!
This is an easy dish—you can make it (prep and all) in just 20 minutes.
That makes it a perfect weeknight meal.
Though you’ll find PF Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps in the ‘appetizer’ section of their menu, these delicious little chicken bundles work seamlessly as an entrée. I use them in both capacities.
Sometimes I’ll serve them as hors d’oeuvres at a party or family gathering, other times as full meals in my weeknight meal schedule.
The first time I tried these lettuce wraps (at my local PF Chang’s), I had to ask, “How many calories in PF Chang’s lettuce wraps?” They were so good, and that sticky, sweet sauce was so fantastic, that I assumed they weren’t good for me.
However, after consulting the PF Chang’s lettuce wraps nutrition facts, I was pleasantly surprised. They’re pretty darn healthy.
Yes, something so delicious and easy to make is also healthy! It’s a miracle.
These lettuce wraps are low in sodium, and are a great way to get my family to eat some leafy greens.
And since this PF Chang’s lettuce wrap recipe uses chicken or turkey (as opposed to a red meat like ground beef), it’s already healthier than a typical summer-time meal like grilled burgers.
Did I mention summer?
This lettuce wrap recipe is a perfect summer meal. It is a nice balance between being light enough to serve well in the summer, yet still enough of a meal to be satisfying.
Plus, it won’t heat up the kitchen really badly, which is a huge boon in the summer.
This chicken filling keeps well in the fridge. That gives it some nice benefits as a dish.
The first is the most obvious: leftovers. The chicken and sauce mixture makes amazing—really incredible—leftovers. Often, I’ll make a big batch of it to use for dinner, and save the extra for leftovers for the next day’s lunch.
But there’s another benefit to having the chicken mixture keep so well in the fridge, one that makes PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps a great appetizer dish for parties. Because you can make the chicken ahead and keep it in the fridge, you can serve these lettuce wraps as hors d’oeuvres without having to cook at the last minute.
This is a huge bonus when planning a party.
I’ve never found the chicken mixture to be too dry when reheating it in the microwave, but if that’s the case for you, just add a little chicken broth to moisten it up without diluting the flavor.
Ground chicken is my first choice to use in this recipe. I love the way it tastes in the filling. Fortunately, it’s become relatively easy to find at most supermarkets. If for some reason it’s not available in your area, you can always grind your own or chop very finely chop it.
Try using turkey as a substitute if you want to mix it up. Turkey lettuce wraps will taste significantly different, but really delicious, in another way..
In my ever so humble opinion, chicken and turkey are really the only acceptable meats for this dish. They’re both meats that are light and mild—they’ll absorb the flavor of the sauce nicely. Other meats are just too rich to blend in well.
Truthfully, in this recipe the chicken is really just a method for consuming the amazing sauce. It’s like a delivery truck for delicious. So don’t worry too much about prepping the chicken “just right.” You don’t need to make it fancy or use crazy spices. Just make up solid ground chicken (or turkey), and let the sauce do the rest.
In this dish, sauce is king.
Without the sweet, slightly spicy sauce mixture that makes this dish what it is, you’d just be eating lettuce and chicken. Not so great.
But, with the wonderful sauce you get a delicious, satisfying meal that’s an excellent cure for a boring weeknight meal routine. Here’s the trick, though: don’t skimp on the sauce. Period.
Hoisin is the key to this excellent sauce mixture. For those who don’t know, hoisin a sweet Asian sauce with just a tiny bit of kick. Remember when I said don’t skip on the sauce? Don’t skimp on the hoisin either.
The Mirin is a rice wine that’s similar to sake. It gives the sauce a subtle, clean, sweet and salty gentle flavor and helps to create a nice complexity.
This recipe is really easy to make gluten free (after all, there’s no gluten in chicken or lettuce). To do this, you’ll just need to make sure that all the ingredients you put in the amazing sauce mixture are gluten-free. So, when you’re buying the hoisin sauce, the soy sauce, the rice wine vinegar, (and so on) just make sure they don’t contain gluten as a thickening agent.
Sriracha is an Asian hot sauce that has just a wee bit of sweetness to it. It rounds out the flavor of the sauce, but ironically doesn’t really add any “heat” to the sauce when used in the quantity called for in this recipe.
Because lettuce is such a big part of this dish, you’ll want to use the freshest darn lettuce your local grocery store has. I recommend bib or butter lettuce if you can find it.
However, even something as simple as romaine lettuce will do as long as you buy it really fresh.
Look for small heads of lettuce that have really fresh outer leaves. I found beautiful butter lettuce heads individually packaged at Costco.
Fabulously fresh, delicious lettuce at a really great price. I’m in! (and No this isn’t a paid endorsement 🙂 )
These will give you the best end results. Avoid heads with any—any—signs of wilting.
Don’t use iceberg lettuce. It’s fine for a buffet salad bar, but just not good enough to be highlighted in this recipe.
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PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 1 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
- 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 Pound Ground Chicken
- 1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Mirin
- 1 Tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
- 8 Ounces Water Chestnuts Drained and Diced
Lettuce and Toppings:
- 6 Green Onions Thinly Sliced
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots
- 1 Head Butter Lettuce or Romaine
In a 12 inch skillet, add vegetable oil and saute the onion and garlic until they begin to soften. Add Chicken and cook, crumbling as it cooks, until it's browned. Drain off any excess fat.
Add hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, ginger, Sriracha sauce, and water chestnuts and stir to combines. Continue to cook, until heat through, 2-3 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
When ready to serve, spoon about 1/4 cup of filling into the center of the lettuce leaf. Garnish with green onions and carrots.
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