Personally, I think every woman should have a few go-to dinners that are easy to make and taste delicious. That way, she’s prepared on hectic days when dinner time sneaks up on her. She won’t have to run to McDonalds and spend the rest of the night with a stomach ache. (Don’t get me wrong- the occasional fast food meal can feel like a treat. But it should be planned, not a last resort!) For me, my favorite go-to is Chicken Lettuce Wraps.
These wraps are so good, only take about twenty minutes to throw together, and leave me feeling full but not weighed down. My husband loves them, my daughter loves them, and leftovers reheat perfectly in minutes.
Sounds too good to be true right? But it isn’t!
It’s really easy: Asian chicken, matchstick carrots, chopped red onion, rice, and lettuce. I add in some chow mein noodles for crunch and if I have them on hand, some slivered almonds. Cucumber and hot sauce would also pair nicely. One of the best parts? You don’t even have to make the wraps. Just put all of the prepped ingredients out on the table and let everyone make their own wraps. The diy is part of the fun!
A few notes about this recipe:
If you’re looking to make actual wraps, butter lettuce would be the best choice. The leaves are big and flexible, so you can roll everything up without it falling apart. We typically use romaine because butter lettuce is actually pretty hard to find around us. It works pretty well though- but instead of wraps, it’s more like boats to hold the filling. Really, I think any type of lettuce will work well as long as the leaves are big. I personally like the crunch offered by the romaine and I feel like it’s got a lot of nutritional value too.
For the rice, you can sub any kind of rice really. I personally can’t get enough of the chicken broth version I go into below. My brother-in-law taught me this about a year or two ago and it’s the only way I make rice now.
To cook the chicken, I use avocado oil. It’s full of healthy fats and the subtle flavor compliments the Asian dressing so well. But you can definitely use olive oil if that’s what you have at home. Aftercall, this is supposed to be easy, right?
And finally, if you’re looking for something a little heavier, you can use tortilla wraps instead of the lettuce. (Maybe throw some shredded lettuce into the filling if you go this route?) We love using the lettuce as the wraps in our house because it keeps things light but still tasty. We even do this with tacos and deli wraps from time to time! But when it comes down to it, you make it the way you and your family will like it the most.
Okay, let’s get to it.
I always start with the rice, because it tends to take the longest. I combine one cup of long grain jasmine rice with one and a half cups of chicken broth in a pot. Put a lid on it and bring it to a boil without taking the lid off. Once you get to the boil, stir once, put the lid back on and take the heat down to a simmer. Let it go for about 5-10 minutes, just until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, mix in some cilantro, transfer to a bowl, and let it sit for a few minutes.
While the rice is cooking, I do the chicken. I take three large chicken breasts and cut them down to bite sized pieces. Then I put about two tablespoons of avocado oil into the pan, get it hot but not too hot, and toss in the chicken. You want it to cook thoroughly, flipping it occasionally to get all sides to a nice light golden color. I also use a lid to keep the heat in. It usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to cook the chicken this way but I recommend checking the temperature of the biggest piece to make sure that it’s at least 165 degrees so that it’s safe to eat.
Once the chicken is cooked, I drain the oil and add about a cup of Asian Sesame with Ginger Soy dressing. I keep the heat very low and toss the chicken in it for a couple of minutes to make sure that every piece is thoroughly coated and full of flavor. Then remove from heat and transfer into a bowl.
I’m a multi-tasker, so while the chicken and rice are cooking, I prep the veggies. The longest one is cutting the onions so I do that first to get it out of the way. You can either dice them or slice them- I’ve done both and I’ve found dicing works a bit better. When you bite into the wraps with sliced onions, sometimes you end up pulling the rest of the onion out by accident, where as with diced, you get the perfect bite each time.
For the carrots, you can certainly cut them up yourself, but I’ve found that buying a bag of matchstick carrots is easier and faster and still just as tasty so we go that route.
I usually use a big wood cutting board to put these veggies on, along with a big pile of lettuce leaves. I also include a small bowl of crunchy noodles and a small bowl of extra dressing on the board. Then I put the larger bowls of chicken and rice next to the whole thing. If you plan to include cucumber, almonds, or any other fixings, you’d put them on the board as well.
And there you go.
It’s that easy. Under a half hour and you have a picture worthy display where everyone can help themselves, loading up on their favorite ingredients while avoiding the ones they don’t like. Everybody’s happy!
**For a toddler version:
I just wanted to note that for my one year old, I initially just gave her a little plate with all of the ingredients on it, tearing up the lettuce too. The first few times this worked great, but after a while, she’d watch us building our wraps and start pointing and yelling and would get really frustrated. I figured out that she wanted to build wraps just like us!
So now I still give her a little plate with her own ingredients, but I also give her a couple of medium sized lettuce leaves too. She’ll watch us, then scoop a bit of the rice and chicken onto her lettuce. She usually drops most of it on the way to her mouth, but she gets really excited about doing what we’re doing. After a couple of attempts, she’ll get hungry enough to just eat the food with her fork or hands, but I’d definitely recommend letting your little one try! It’s so exciting when she gets it!
Lettuce Chicken Wraps
- 3 chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 cup Asian Sesame with Ginger Soy dressing
- 1 cup long grain jasmine rice
- 1½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped or dried
- 1½ cup red onion, sliced or diced
- 1½ cup matchstick carrots
- 1 cup chow mein noodles
- 1 heart Romain lettuce
- ½ cup Asian Sesame with Ginger Soy dressing (to be served on side)
- 1 cup diced cucumbers
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- Combine rice and chicken broth in a pot with lid and bring to a boil.
- Stir once, replace lid and let simmer for 5-10 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Mix in cilantro. Set aside.
- Cut chicken into bite size pieces.
- Heat avocado oil in a large pan.
- Add chicken to pan, cover with lid, and cook thoroughly until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°.
- Drain oil and add the dressing. Toss chicken multiple times to make sure each piece is coated. Cook on low heat for an additional couple of minutes. Set aside.
- Dice all veggies except for the lettuce and set into groups on a large cutting board or put each into their own bowl.
- Place lettuce leaves in a pile with the other veggies.
- Set everything out together and let everyone build their own delicious wraps!
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