Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe

4 Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps on counter with a bowl of Cashew Chicken and Carrot filling on left and sauce on right.
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4 Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps on counter with a bowl of Cashew Chicken and Carrot filling on left and sauce on right.

Get ready for your tastebuds to start singing with this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe that’s such a fun and flavorful dinner! Ground Chicken, Carrots, scallions, and cashews give a meaty and crunch texture. The ginger, garlic, sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, and Soy Sauce are a harmonious blend of BIG flavor!  Rice bulks up and rounds out this meal.

MAKE-AHEAD MEALS FOR BUSY FAMILIES

This is one of those fantastic recipes that you can make 100% ahead of time, reheat in just a few minutes, and enjoy quickly on busy weeknights!  Not only that, but it’s a fun dinner that you can eat with your hands.  Dinners that come together in 20-30 minutes on the weekend can save you hours of agony during the weekdays.  That’s because with you are under the gun at the end of a busy day and the kids are screaming they are starving, let’s face it, things take longer.  Right?  So dinners like this one are my go-to.  I also love my make-ahead Black Bean Taco Bowls or Korean Beef Taco Bowls.  Or how about Easy Tex Mex Unstuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken or even this Easy One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake with Zucchini.  These are just a few!  

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For this recipe, the sauce is easily made in a blender.  All ingredients are added and blended into a smooth and creamy sauce. You could also use a food processor for this, such as this mini food processor.

You will also need a small pot to cook the sauce and a medium pot with lid for the rice.

Finally, to cook the veggies and chicken, you need a large skillet/frying pan. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning. 

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAP RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

As mentioned earlier, you can make this entire recipe ahead!  But if you’re splitting up some tasks for the weekend and finishing the cooking on the night you enjoy this, then here are the steps.

First, prep the lettuce and cashews.  Cut the end of the Romaine lettuce head off so that the leaves are loose. Rinse the leaves and dry off with a towel. Chop the Cashews.

Cashews chopped on cutting board for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe
Next, make the sauce in a blender. Peel and rough chop the garlic and ginger. Add these plus the rest of the sauce ingredients to the blender. Blend until no large bits. Pour into a small sauce pot and bring up to a simmer on Medium heat, stirring constantly as it starts to thicken, 2-3 minutes. Once thickened, turn off the heat and let sit or store in the fridge.

You can also prep the carrots and the scallions ahead, but I like to prep them while the rice and chicken are cooking (see below).

COOK YOUR RICE, CASHEW CHICKEN, AND VEGGIES  

Get the rice cooking first and then start the chicken.  Preheat a large frying pan/skillet on High Heat and cook the ground chicken according to the instructions.  It takes about 10 minutes.  During the last minute, add the chopped cashews. Transfer the chicken and cashews to a plate.

Ground chicken cooking in a pan for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe

While the chicken cooks, peel the carrots; cut into 2 inch long matchsticks. Slice a tablespoon of scallion green tops for garnish. Cut remaining scallions in 1 inch pieces.

Carrot sticks cut on cutting board with knife for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe Scallions cut on cutting board with knife for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe

To the same pan used for the chicken, add ½ tablespoon olive oil, carrots and scallions. Cook for 3-4 minutes stirring often. Add back the Cashew Chicken and HALF of the sauce. Stir and cook for 2-3 min.

Carrot sticks and scallions cooking in a pan for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe

Cashew Ground Chicken and carrots cooked in a pan for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe
Spoon some cashew chicken into the lettuce leaves, drizzle a little sauce, and garnish with the sliced scallions. 

RECIPE FAQS

Can I freeze the chicken filling?

Yes, you can freeze the chicken, carrot, and scallion filling in a freezer-safe airtight container for up to 5 months.  I do want to note that while the chicken will thaw and reheat with a perfect texture, the carrots will not be the same.  The carrots will absorb the moisture and when they thaw and reheat will become a bit mushy.  That said, if you know in advance you are making this to freeze it, then simply cook your carrots only slightly so that they still have quite a crunch to them.  This will help prevent them from getting too mushy.  

How can I make this vegetarian?

Yes!  You can substitute the ground chicken with any of the following proteins: extra firm tofu, lentils, black or white beans, chickpeas, quinoa, or any combination of these.  You could also replace with more veggies, such as mushrooms, red pepper, zucchini, or any combination of these.  

What can I serve with this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe?

I created this recipe to be a complete meal including protein, vegetables, and grain.  So, you really don’t need anything else with it.  However, if you have an extra hungry group or a larger crowd to feed, then Asian Sesame Slaw is a delicious complimentary side dish for this.   

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

4 Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps on counter with a bowl of Cashew Chicken and Carrot filling on left and sauce on right.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe

This Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe is such a fun and flavorful dinner! Ground Chicken, Carrots, scallions, and cashews give a meaty and crunch texture. The ginger, garlic, sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, and Soy Sauce are a harmonious blend of BIG flavor! Rice bulks up and rounds out this meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Keyword cashew chicken, chicken, gluten free, healthy dinner, lettuce wraps
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tablespoons Ginger, fresh (about 1 inch of the root)
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch

Other

  • 1 pound Ground Chicken, white meat
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil ½ for chicken, ½ for veggies
  • 1/2 cup Roasted Cashews, Unsalted
  • 6 Scallions
  • 2 Carrots, large
  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup White Long Grain Rice, uncooked

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. PREP LETTUCE & CASHEWS. Cut the end of the Romaine lettuce head off so that the leaves are loose. Rinse the leaves and dry off with a towel. Chop the Cashews.

    Cashews chopped on cutting board for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe
  2. MAKE SAUCE. Make the sauce in a blender. Peel and rough chop the garlic and ginger. Add these plus the rest of the sauce ingredients (sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, water, cornstarch) to the blender. Blend until no large bits. Pour into a small sauce pot and bring up to a simmer on Medium heat, stirring constantly as it starts to thicken, 2-3 minutes. Once thickened, turn off the heat and let sit or store in the fridge.

Cooking Steps

  1. COOK RICE. In a medium pot with a lid, add the Rice to 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and bring up to a boil. Turn the water down to a low simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered until ready to serve or transfer to the fridge to cool and reheat later.

  2. COOK CHICKEN. While the rice is cooking, Preheat a large frying pan/skillet on High Heat. Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil and the ground chicken, breaking it up and spread into a single layer. Let sit to sear for 5 minutes. Once the bottom is browned, stir and cook for another 4-5 minutes. During the last minute, add the chopped cashews. Transfer the chicken and cashews to a plate.

    Ground chicken cooking in a pan for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe
  3. PREP VEGGIES. While the chicken cooks, peel the carrots; cut into 2 inch long matchsticks. Slice a tablespoon of scallion green tops for garnish. Cut remaining scallions in 1 inch pieces.

    Carrot sticks cut on cutting board with knife for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe
  4. COOK VEGGIES. To the same pan used for the chicken, add ½ tablespoon olive oil, carrots and scallions. Cook for 3-4 minutes stirring often. Add back the Cashew Chicken and HALF of the sauce. Stir and cook for 2-3 min.

    Cashew Ground Chicken and carrots cooked in a pan for this Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe
  5. Spoon some cashew chicken into the lettuce leaves, drizzle a little sauce, and garnish with the sliced scallions. Enjoy!
    4 Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps on counter with a bowl of Cashew Chicken and Carrot filling on left and sauce on right.

Weekly Meal Plan: Family Dinner

Cooking a family dinner that both the adults and kids will enjoy can be hard.  During the week, Dave and I work late and so the kids will eat dinner with their nanny.  But on the weekends, it’s FAMILY DINNER!  My 5-year-old, Alexa literally dances around singing “family dinner” because it is so exciting to her.  I warms my heart, but also breaks it a little since it isn’t every night.  I count my blessings that both girls love family dinner so much!

But…family dinner and cooking with kids can be tough, especially if you are an adult with any sort of culinary adventure – or basically want anything other than pasta, breaded chicken, and carrot sticks or broccoli.  At least that’s how it is in my family.  My kids have somehow ended up liking only a handful of bland foods and Dave and I either have to make 2 separate dinners or suck it up and eat the same boring things.  When I was growing up in the Midwest (suburb of Chicago), I honestly don’t remember there being any discussion about dinner at all.  My mom made dinner every single night and we all sat down and ate the same thing.  I didn’t always like what we were served, but there were no alternate menu items – it was what was on the table for dinner and you either ate it or didn’t.  So, I don’t know why it is different today for so many of us.  Perhaps it’s because we work late and the kids eat before we get home, so they get what we/the nanny knows they will eat?  Or perhaps it’s because we want to do things differently than we were raised and ask them for their input more (I have learned, perhaps too late, this is not the wisest move).  Or perhaps it’s because I have mommy guilt from being a working parent and if I hear so much as an unhappy moan, I’m asking what she would rather eat, and next thing you know…my 5 year old is running the dinner show!

Whatever the reason, I’m not suggesting that we do a 180 degree turn the other direction and start force-feeding them things they don’t like – who needs that kind of fighting and angst in the house!  No, I’m suggesting that there are happy-in-the-middle options where everyone wins!  I also believe that involving your kids in the kitchen helps to give them ownership of their dinners.  And by this, I mean giving them small tasks (or bigger ones if you are brave enough) in the kitchen to help prep dinner.

I have also learned that a love for food and cooking can come in different ways and I have to recognize and embrace the ways that my kids want to be involved.  I signed my older daughter, Daniela up for a “Top Chef” Camp this summer.  I was shocked and amazed that Daniela LOVED everything she made!  I spoke to other parents with the same reaction too.  Daniela even asked to make the basil pesto crostini at home, which of course confirmed my suspicions…she had been abducted by aliens and brainwashed, of course. ​

​​Side note #2 – I am really about to put it all out there, so please do not judge…my 5-year-old daughter, Alexa, is obsessed with YouTube Kids and basically walks around narrating everything she is doing all day – playing with playdough, in the bathtub, playing with her dollhouse….  When asked who she is talking to, she will respond, “I’m doing a youtube video for the fans”…oh, well, of course!  Specifically, she loves watching kids cooking.  So, she asked me if we could do a real YouTube video cooking.  So we did, and here it is for you’re, a-hem, enjoyment 🙂

​So again, embrace any food opportunity you have with your kids!  You don’t have to find some pricy camp, you can have her select and then watch a cooking video together and make the recipe.  You can certainly take a video of them cooking so they can play it back and get excited seeing themselves cook.  Or simply just asking them to help you in the kitchen…mixing a sauce, making meatballs, selecting the cut of pasta.  Here are a couple other recipes that my daughters loved helping to cook and then to eat!

Asian Meatballs

Apple Cinnamon Cake

This week’s meal kit addresses these challenges you may have with eating with your kids.

Mac & Cheese Two Ways – with & without Chorizo and Brussel Sprouts  This is such an easy mac & cheese dish that is creamy and delicious.  My older daughter, Daniela, says that mommy makes the best homemade mac & cheese in the world, so that makes me happy :).  However, for Dave and I, we need to take it up a notch and how better to do that than with CHORIZO!  Seriously, Chorizo makes everything better so why not add it to mac & cheese??  What else can make it even better?  Adding fresh off-the-cob sautéed creamy corn.  After Chorizo and Cheese, a veggie is likely in order, but these brussel sprouts are not just any veggie, they are filled with yummy Chorizo flavors!  I have to say…while my younger daughter, Alexa, remained a mac & cheese purist, Daniela tried and loved the chorizo addition so I couldn’t be more thrilled!


Chicken Enchilada Casserole  Were you wondering why I told you to make so much mac & cheese?  This is why…Round 2: Enchilada Casserole!  Yes, we are going to use the leftover mac & cheese and repurpose it into an amazing Mexican-inspired, filled with smoky flavors, Chicken & Chorizo & Corn Enchilada casserole.  This will feed your family for an entire new meal PLUS more leftovers for lunch or a second meal the next day!  The mac & cheese that keeps on giving :).


Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Stir Fry Carrots & Brussel Sprouts  Next up?  Nope, no more mac & cheese, it is now time to move on to something less, a-hem, loaded?  These lettuce wraps are light, but so incredibly filled with flavor, especially when dipped and dripping with the amazing garlic, slightly sweet, soy sauce.  The carrots and brussel sprouts from the first meal round out the flavors stuffed into light butter lettuce leaves.  Of course, you can use iceberg lettuce leaves if that is what you have and the outer leaves are still intact.  This recipe is something that I have made for years, but I never considered it for the kids until Daniela made a ground turkey variation of this in her cooking camp this summer.  I was so excited when she said she loved it, that I had to include it in this week’s meal kit.  This is a fun dinner for kids to make for themselves and of course, you too!

Shopping List

Dinners with the kids don't have to be a compromise ending in bland food! This week's Meal Plan has 3 meals that are full of flavor, but give enough options for the kids who may not like all of the taste adventure 🙂 Meal 1 is Mac n' Cheese with and without Chorizo. Meal 2 is simply a delicious Enchilada Casserole all will love. Meal 3 is simple, light, but extremely tasty...Chicken Lettuce wraps! Get 1 Shopping List, Pre-Ahead Instructions, and 3 Recipes.

Here is 1 Shopping list for all 3 Meals. For any item with a * buy the smallest pack available if you do not already have this

Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 Butter lettuce head
  • 8 oz Shredded Brussel Sprouts
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Red Pepper 1 quarter
  • 3 Scallions/Green Onions
  • 2 Carrots, Medium
  • 2 Ears of corn on the cob or frozen
  • 2 Tomatoes, Medium
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 4 Chicken Breasts whole
  • 4 Chorizo sausage links
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 4 Slices American Cheese
  • 4 Cups Shredded Cheese Blend
  • 16 oz Ditalini Pasta
  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 Cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Can Chicken broth
  • 1 Can Tomato sauce
  • White Wine Vinegar*
  • Honey*
  • Soy Sauce*
  • All-purpose flour*
  • Extra-virgin olive oil*
  • Salt*
  • Ground Pepper*
  • Dried Oregano*
  • Chili powder*
  • Cumin*

Cooking With Kids - Prep-Ahead

These are the simple steps that you can do in advance to make your life easier for weeknight meals.
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 8 oz brussel sprouts
  • 2 ears of corn on the cob
  • 8 oz Shredded Brussel Sprouts
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 quarter Red Pepper
  • 3 Scallions/green onions
  • 2 cups Carrots, sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbls Honey
  • 4 Chicken Breasts whole
  • Ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel corn husks off and stand corn on a small bowl upside-down inside a larger bowl. Holding the corn steady with one hand cut the kernels off the cob. They will fall into the bowl.  
  2. Then using the back of the knife, press down against the husk to get all of the “cream” out of the husk.

  3. Prep carrots: peel carrots, cut into 1.5 inch chunks, then slice into thin strips and store in fridge
  4. Prep Brussel Sprouts: If you can find pre-shredded brussel sprouts, go for it! If not, simply slice them thin and then break them up a little. You need about 3 cups shredded. Store in fridge
  5. Dice a quarter of a red pepper, approximately ¼ cup or so. Store in fridge.
  6. Finely slice 3 scallions, store in fridge
  7. Make the Garlic Soy Marinade and dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk 3/4 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbls honey, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp ground pepper.

Prep chicken:

  1. Take 2 of the chicken breasts and cut into thin bite-size strips. Place them into a sealable baggie (1-quart size should be ok). Pour HALF of the garlic soy sauce into baggie with chicken.  Seal bag and massage marinade into chicken. Store in fridge.

  2. Take the other 2 chicken breasts and sprinkle to coat the outside with Chili Powder and salt. Bake in 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Let it come to room temperature, then shred the chicken. Store in fridge.

Mac & Cheese with & without Chorizo and brussel sprouts

This is such an easy mac & cheese dish that is creamy and delicious. My older daughter, Daniela, says that mommy makes the best homemade mac & cheese in the world, so that makes me happy . However, for Dave and I, we need to take it up a notch and how better to do that than with CHORIZO! Seriously, Chorizo makes everything better so why not add it to mac & cheese?? What else can make it even better? Adding fresh off-the-cob sautéed creamy corn. After Chorizo and Cheese, a veggie is likely in order, but these brussel sprouts are not just any veggie, they are filled with yummy Chorizo flavors! I have to say…while my younger daughter, Alexa, remained a mac & cheese purist, Daniela tried and loved the chorizo addition so I couldn’t be more thrilled!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes