There’s lots of flavor in these Thai Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps! Tender pieces of chicken are cooked with lemongrass, ginger and garlic in a flavorful and simple sauce before being tucked into crisp lettuce leaves. Perfect for a light lunch, dinner or pre-meal appetizer. Makes about 10 to 12 wraps in 30 minutes.
A couple weeks ago we drove with Haileigh across the mitten to tour her top college pick. I’ve always not-so-secretely wanted Haileigh to stay home and go to college locally, claiming it will save us all money but really because I’m not ready for her to leave me. So selfish, but it’s the truth.
However, after walking around this college and seeing what hopefully will be her future school, and where she’ll not only learn but grow and develop new life experiences and friendships, changed my outlook on the whole thing. The amenities, work out facilities and places to eat didn’t hurt either. PLUS the library was pretty darn amazing with it’s 4 stories and automatic book selector. Needless to say, the whole tour was amazing, the campus is gorgeous and I truly believe we all feel that this college will fit her perfectly and we could totally see her attending there next fall.
All Pat and I have ever wanted for our kids is to experience everything there is to life. Especially college.
That was number one requirement of them getting older, college was mandatory. I’m pretty sure they new the answer to “when you graduate from high school you must…” since they were 5 years old. Then we blinked and we are in disbelief that we are already at this stage of our lives.
Malloree only has 3 years of high school, before we have to tour colleges with her. It’s crazy how time flies when they’re older but not when they’re 15 months old and looking you square in the eye while dropping their tiny cubes of grilled cheese onto the floor.
After our trip out to the west side of the state, we came home and both girls took off for the first high school football game of the season. So I made these delicious Thai cashew chicken lettuce wraps for Pat and I to have for dinner. Easy, handheld little bundles of flavor. I already loved lettuce wraps because they are so simple and are fun and sometimes deliciously messy to eat.
These did not disappoint.
To Make These Thai Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps You Will Need:
- chicken tenders – Or use thin cut chicken breast halves.
- low-sodium tamari – Can substitute with low-sodium tamari or coconut aminos.
- cornstarch – Helps develop texture on the outside of the chicken when cooked.
- white pepper – Brighter, a little sharper and more herbaceous notes than regular black pepper.
- cashews – Lends delicious nutty flavor and crunch.
- oyster sauce – Tastes like the combination of soy sauce, fish sauce with the consistency of barbecue sauce.
- lime juice – For acidity and subtle bright citrusy flavor.
- sriracha – For delicios spice.
- toasted sesame oil – Lends robust nutty flavor.
- lemongrass (fresh) – The flavor is a combination of lemon and ginger with floral notes of mint.
- ginger (fresh) – Lends a pungent, spicy and sweet flavor.
- garlic – This adds distinct and punchy flavor to this dish.
- lettuce leaves – For serving. Use iceberg, bibb or romaine.
for serving (optional):
- sliced green onions
- cilantro leaves
- toasted sesame seeds
- sambal oelek (chili garlic paste)
- or sriracha
Start by dicing 1 to 1-1/4 pound chicken tenders into small pieces, about 1/2-inch or so. Throw that into a bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the low-sodium tamari, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper and 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
Toss to combine and set off to the side for a moment.
Next add the remaining 3 tablespoons of low-sodium tamari, 1/4 cup oyster sauce, juice of 1/2 a lime, 1 teaspoon sriracha (give or take), 1 teaspoon of the toasted sesame oil. Then simply whisk to combine. Set this bowl off to the side as well.
As a side note, due to the fact oyster sauce can lean toward the salty side, a low-sodium (not reduced sodium) tamari or soy sauce is highly recommended for this recipe.
In a dry wok or large chefs pan, toast a 1/2 cup of cashews over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly golden brown. Transfer the cashews to a clean plate and set them off to the side.
In the same pan, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and add in 1 tablespoon of lemongrass, 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger and 2 cloves of grated garlic. Stir and cook for 45 second or until fragrant.
Increase the heat to hight and add in all of the chicken and spread it out evenly. Cook (untouched) for 3 to 4 or until the bottom is deeply golden brown and crispy. Use a wooden spatula to toss the chicken. Continue to stir-fry the chicken until fully cooked and no longer pink.
Next add in the toasted cashews and pour in the sauce. Toss the chicken and cashews in the sauce until coated.
Allow the sauce to simmer until it has thickened.
Add spoonfuls of the Thai cashew chicken mixture into fresh, crisp lettuce leaves (of your choice). I’m using butter lettuce, but Bibb, iceberg or romaine are great options as well. Then top with green onions, cilantro leaves and toasted sesame seeds.
These wraps are so good!
If you’re looking for some heat, I like to drizzle sambal oelek over top. SO good. Fold the lettuce leaf around the filling and devour!
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Thai Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 1¼ pounds chicken tenderloins, diced small - or use thin cut chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
FOR THE STIR-FRY SAUCE:
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari, low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
FOR THE STIR-FRY:
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews, or more if preferred
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh lemongrass
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves peeled fresh garlic, grated or finely minced
- 2 heads bibb lettuce, iceberg or romaine lettuce (depending on size)
- 3 green onions, sliced for serving
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, for serving
- torn cilantro leaves, for serving
- lime wedges, for serving
- a drizzle of sriracha or sambal oelek, chili garlic paste, for serving (only if you want more spice!)
- Toss the diced chicken with the tamari, cornstarch and white pepper and set off to the side.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining tamari, oyster sauce, lime juice, sriracha and toasted sesame oil, then set off to the side.
- Heat a wok or large chefs pan over medium-low heat. Add the cashews and toast until fragrant and lightly golden. About 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the toasted cashews to a clean plate and set off to the side.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil along with the lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Stir and cook for 45 seconds or until fragrant.
- Next increase the heat to high and add in the chicken and spread it out into an even layer. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes (without stirring) until the underneath side of the chicken is crispy and deeply golden. Use a wooden spatula to toss the chicken. Continue to cook until the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink.
- Add in the toasted cashews and pour in the stir-fry sauce and toss to combine. Bring to a boil, and cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
- Spoon the Thai cashew chicken mixture into lettuce leaves and top with green onions, sesame seeds, cilantro. Squeeze wedges of lime juice over top. For extra spicy Thai cashew chicken wraps, drizzle sambal oelek or extra sriracha.
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