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Avoiding Carbs? Use Lettuce Instead For This Spicy Chicken Wrap

If you’re avoiding carbs (especially bread), there’s no better sandwich “wrap” than fresh lettuce leaves. And it’s really not a new idea. The Vietnamese wrap their spring rolls in lettuce, while Koreans enjoy their barbecue as ssam, wrapped in lettuce as well. Not only is it healthy, but fresh lettuce provides a nice and refreshing crunch to the dish—it’s a win-win! Chef Nancy creates this easy-to-prepare chicken wrap recipe, as a homecooked version of an Asian-style lettuce wrap, using pan-seared chicken breast slices marinated in a sweet-spicy sauce.


Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4



  • 5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons dark brown sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil 
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, or to taste


  • 6 chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • sugar, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil 
  • 12 Bibb lettuce leaves 
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice, cooked
  • 2 English cucumbers, sliced round 
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds  
  • 6 stalks green onions, sliced 1/2 inch diagonally


1. In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Add chicken slices to the marinade and refrigerate for an hour. After 1 hour, remove chicken from the marinade. Set aside the marinade.

2. Add cornstarch and sugar to the reserved marinade. Mix well until it dissolves.

3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil and swirl pan to coat. Add chicken slices and cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate. 

4. In the same pan, add the marinade mixture, simmer and reduce to half, then transfer to a serving bowl.

5. To plate, top each Bibb lettuce leaf with 2 to 3 tablespoons rice, chicken slices, and 2 cucumber slices. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with sauce on the side.



This recipe first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 3, 2015

Styling by Nancy Dizon-Edralin

Photography by Paulo Valenzuela