Healthy Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps are chock full of tender seasoned beef, nutritious veggie faves, and crunchy sesame seeds. These protein-packed pouches are super flavorful thanks to a sesame ginger garlic sauce that can be made to fit multiple diets.
I know that “egg roll in a bowl” is all the rage, but the taco lover in me just wants to scream “There’s a wrap for that!!” And trust me, I get the appeal of bowls. I have written whole treatises on them, and there’s more than half a dozen bowl recipes on this site alone. But unless the bowl is edible, it doesn’t beat wrapping food in other food.
As it stands, wrapping food in other food is one of the best food decisions anyone ever made. Only to be followed, of course, by the bright idea to find alternative, compliant food/wrapping combos when needed. Therefore, it stands to reason that me deciding to cocoon a salty-sweet, Asian-style ground beef filling in lettuce wraps was a stroke of genius. (Spoiler alert: it was!)
Healthy ground beef lettuce wraps are a perfect crave-buster. You know the one… that quasi-umami, MSG-eqsue yearning on the back of your tongue that makes you salivate? Well, these Asian lettuce wraps will satisfy all that and more while being additive free.
This recipe relies on fresh, whole food ingredients and is adaptable for plenty of dietary considerations:
- This recipe is gluten-free as written, as long as you’re using tamari or coconut aminos.
- If you’re grain free altogether, opt for cauliflower rice and arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch.
- For paleo ground beef lettuce wraps, skip the soy and go for coconut aminos; serve with cauliflower rice; and sweeten with real maple syrup.
- To make low carb beef lettuce wraps, skip the thickener; opt for cauliflower rice; and use natural yacon syrup, or a monk fruit or stevia-based sweetener.
Ground Beef Lettuce Wrap Sauce
- Sweetener: maple syrup, brown sugar, or coconut sugar
- Soy Sauce: feel free to substitute tamari (gluten free) or coconut aminos (soy free)
- Toasted Sesame Oil
- Rice Vinegar: substitute white vinegar if needed
- Thickener: cornstarch (gluten free) or arrowroot powder (grain free)
Ground Beef Lettuce Wrap Filling
- Ground Beef: or ground chicken, turkey, pork, or bison!
- Fresh Garlic
- Fresh Ginger: or ginger paste
- Bell Pepper
- Shredded Carrots
- Green Onions
- Boston Bibb Lettuce: separated into “cups”; you can also use romaine lettuce leaves or iceberg lettuce leaves
- Sesame Seeds: for garnish, crunch, and additional healthy fats.
How to Make Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps
When the family comes looking for a handout, give ’em a handful… of Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps. Easy to make and even easier to gobble down. Simply saute your ground beef and veggies until tender, then simmer in the tangy ginger garlic sauce for flavorful Asian Lettuce Wraps. Serve with steamed or cauliflower rice for a more filling… well, filling.
- SAUCE. Whisk together sauce ingredients until well combined. The sauce can be made up to a day in advance.
- COOK. Saute the ground beef in a 12″ skillet until no longer pink; be sure to break it up into small pieces using a wood spoon or spatula.
- AROMATICS. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1-2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
- VEGGIES. Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook 3-4 minutes until tender.
- SAUCE IT. Pour the prepared sauce over the beef mixture and stir. Simmer 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens.
- GARNISH. Stir in sliced green onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- SERVE. Spoon the filling into lettuce wraps (with or without rice) and serve. Enjoy!
- Boston Bibb lettuce leaves make for terrific lettuce wraps, but they can be a bit pricey. For a more economical choice, try romaine or iceberg lettuce cups.
- The sauce for ground beef lettuce wraps can be made up to 24 hours in advanced and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
- If using cauliflower rice, try a bit of sesame oil for more intense flavor! Start with 1 tsp added to the olive oil. Get instructions to cook from fresh or frozen here.
Can I Use Ground Chicken?
Yes, absolutely! You can also use ground pork, bison, or even venison. Just make sure you’re using ground meat.
Make it Your Way
Add Bulk: layer the ground beef lettuce wraps with steamed white rice or cauliflower rice as well as the beef mixture for a more filling meal.
Meal Prep It: these reheat beautifully! Pack the ground beef stuffing and lettuce wraps separately; reheat the stuffing in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, then stuff into the wraps.
Skip the Thickener: we’ve thickened the sauce with just a bit of arrowroot powder. You can absolutely skip this step if you prefer a thinner sauce.
Dipping Sauce: before adding the arrowroot powder or cornstarch, reserve ⅓ of the sauce. Use the reserved sauce as a dipping sauce when serving.
More Veggies: feel free to add more vegetables! Try shredded red or green cabbage and/or shredded zucchini. We also like to garnish with pickled radishes when we have them on hand.
More Healthy Asian-Inspired Favorites
- Mostly Veggie Steak Stir Fry *Most Popular*
- Whole30 Bulgogi Korean Beef BBQ
- Rainbow Glass Noodle Salad
- Cauliflower Fried Rice *Keto Favorite*
- Healthy Chicken Teriyaki Bowls
- Ginger Pork Poppers with Citrus Slaw
Did you make these korean-style lettuce wraps? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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Lettuce Wrap Sauce
- ¼ cup maple syrup, brown sugar, or coconut sugar
- ¼ cup coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- ¼ – ½ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 tsp arrowroot powder, or cornstarch
Ground Beef Filling
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
- ½ c shredded carrots
- 4 whole green onions, sliced into 1” pieces
- kosher salt, to taste
- ground pepper, to taste
- sesame seeds, to taste, for garnish
- Boston Bibb lettuce
- steamed white rice or sauteed cauliflower rice, optional, for serving
- Make the sauce. Combine the maple syrup, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes (if using) in a measuring cup. Whisk until combined. Add the arrowroot powder and whisk until well combined.
- Heat olive oil in a 10” skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring with a wood spoon to break up, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring continuously, until very fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook until bite tender, 3-4 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the skillet contents, then stir. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Stir in the sliced green onions.
- Spoon the filling into lettuce wraps (with or without rice) and garnish with sesame seeds. Makes 8 wraps without rice, or 12 wraps with rice.