Thai Lettuce Cups with Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Thai Lettuce Cups with Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Winter is finally leaving! The transition from winter to spring always makes me happy, however this year, it’s making me downright ecstatic since it seemed as if it would never stop snowing or get warm. Join me in welcoming spring with these colorful, delicious, and easy to put together Thai Lettuce Cups. Pair these with pre-made dumplings for a complete dinner that’s on the table and ready to enjoy in under 30 minutes.


  • 1 head of butterhead lettuce
  • 1 1/2 TB canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 TB finely chopped or minced ginger
  • 2 small or 1 large clove of garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground beef ground capon, plain ground pork, or finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 TB soy sauce or tamari if gluten-free
  • 1 TB fish sauce or umami paste optional – if not using, add an additional 1/2 TB of soy sauce
  • 2 TB dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 1/2 TB fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 scallion white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TB chopped fresh mint
  • 2 TB chopped cashews

Optional for serving:

  • Sriracha
  • Matchstick cut carrots
  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Dumplings


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, cook 1 minute longer.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add the ground meat or chopped mushrooms. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, breaking apart the meat as it cooks. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce (or umami paste), brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking until meat is cooked through, or an additional 4 minutes if using mushrooms.
  • Off the heat, stir in the scallion, cilantro, mint, and nuts. Spoon into lettuce cups and serve with garnishes and dumplings for an easy weeknight, or any night dinner or lunch.


Leftover filling can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to 3 months. Simply gently reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.