I could eat lettuce wraps every day. I love everything about them. I like that they’re savory and sweet. The chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The Korean sauce is a little spicy and the yogurt sauce is cool and refreshing. I love the crunchy texture of the peanuts and the crispy wontons or noodles on top. The fresh lettuce brings it all together. Lettuce wraps are my favorite thing to order at Cactus Club Restaurant. This recipe was inspired by their delicious Szechuan wraps. I order them just about every time we go there. I’m including vegetarian, gluten-free, keto and vegan variations as well, so that everybody can enjoy them. They are all really tasty and pretty healthy too.
This is such a versatile meal. It’s a nice light meal for spring or summer, but you’ll feel completely satisfied at the end of the meal. These wraps are so easy to make. If you want to serve this meal to guests for dinner, you can prepare just about everything ahead of time and leave it in the fridge and just put the protein in the oven before your guests arrive.
I love the casual nature of this meal. You can serve the lettuce and the chicken family style or you can make individual portions. It’s entirely up to you.
Cactus Club copycat chicken lettuce wraps.
- 1 head iceberg lettuce
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup fried wontons/fried noodles (optional)
- 1/2 cup dry roasted salted peanuts
- 2 tsp roasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup yogurt or vegan yogurt
- 1 lime, juice
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce (or 2 tbsp maple syrup)
- 2 tbsp Gochujang (Korean sauce)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (or soy-free aminos)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp Rice wine vinegar (optional, but recommended)
- 6 or 7 tbsp water
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes (or 200 grams tempeh – 1/2 inch cubes )
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried ginger (optional)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup flour or cornstarch (or almond flour)
- 1 tsp chicken seasoning
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for sautéeing)
Combine all the ingredients, stir and refrigerate.
Combine all the ingredients and stir.
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Combine 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp dried ginger and 1/4 tsp sea salt. Stir until combined. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss until evenly coated.
Combine the flour and poultry seasoning. Stir. Dredge the chicken in a light coating of flour/cornstarch. Shake off excess.
Sautée the chicken in a non-stick pan in evoo on the stove top on medium heat for a minute on each side or until golden brown. Do this in 3 batches so that the pan is not overcrowded. Set aside the cooked chicken while you finish browning the rest of the chicken. (If you’re coating the chicken in almond flour for a Keto variation, sautée the chicken for only 20/30 seconds on each side to avoid burning the almond flour).
Place the browned chicken on a aluminium foil lined baking sheet. Leave space between the pieces of chicken. Finish cooking the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes or until the juices run clear. The chicken should be white inside, not pink. (See notes for tempeh cooking instructions).
Pour 1/4 cup of the chili sauce onto the chicken and toss before serving. Pour the remaining sauce in a bowl. Your guests can help themselves to more if they like.
Cut two inches off the base of the head of lettuce. Discard the two outer layers. Cut the head of lettuce in half. Serve with the sauces and toppings.
Bake the tempeh at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Add 1/4 cup of the Korean chili sauce, toss and then bake for 10 more minutes.