Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recipe for Quick Sriracha Beef Lettuce Wraps

This is the first time I've made lettuce wraps with beef, and they were a treat for Phase One.

How about another new recipe for lettuce wraps for our Month of Daily Phase One recipes?  You may have noticed I have quite a few recipes for lettuce wraps, and they're on the menu often at my house.  When I tried this new variation, I fell for these Quick Sriracha Beef Lettuce Wraps in a big way.  Only a few days after the original batch you see in these photos was gone, I was already making them again, partly because I bought two heads of iceberg lettuce, and all the other ingredients in this recipe are things I always have in the fridge or freezer.  There are a lot of flavors like fish sauce, lime, green onion, and cilantro going on here with the beef and Sriracha Sauce, and if you like Thai flavors I feel confident saying you're probably going to love this recipe as much as I did.  And for cilantro-haters, I would recommend just doubling the amount of green onions and I think this would still be very flavorful without the cilantro.

Saute one pound of lean ground beef until it's completely cooked and starting to lightly brown.

While the beef cooks, mix together the fish sauce, Sriracha Sauce, and water.  (The first time I made these I was a bit wimpy on the Sriracha Sauce, but I bumped it up in my second version.  You decide how much heat you can handle.)

Also zest one large lime and squeeze the juice, slice the green onions and chop the cilantro (or double the amount of green onions if you don't want cilantro.)

When the beef is done, stir in the Sriracha Sauce mixture and let it sizzle until the water has evaporated.  Then turn off the heat and stir in the lime zest, lime juice, green onions, and chopped cilantro.  You're done!  You could probably make this easily in 20 minutes if you're an experienced chopper.

Eat immediately with iceberg lettuce to fold around the meat.  I found a large head of lettuce, but you may want two heads because usually the very inner leaves aren't big enough for making a lettuce wrap.

Quick Sriracha Beef Lettuce Wraps
(Makes 3-4 servings or 6-8 lettuce wraps; recipe adapted from Nigella Fresh.)

2 tsp. neutral-flavored oil like grapeseed or peanut oil
1 lb. lean ground beef (use ground beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
1 T fish sauce (I like Three Crabs Fish sauce by far the best)
1-2 T Sriracha Sauce (depending on how much heat you want)
1 T water
zest from one large lime
juice from one large lime (about 1 1/2 T juice)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (or double that amount if you're not using the cilantro)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 heads iceberg lettuce

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, then saute the beef until it's cooked through and starting to brown, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks.  

While beef cooks, mix together the fish sauce, Sriracha Sauce, and water in a small bowl.  Zest the skin of the lime and squeeze the juice.  (You may need two limes to get enough juice, but only use the zest from one lime.)  Thinly slice the green onions and chop the cilantro.  (Most iceberg lettuce doesn't need washing, but if yours does break the heads apart gently and wash and dry the lettuce.)

When the beef is done, add the Sriracha Sauce mixture and let it sizzle until the water has evaporated, stirring a few times to get the flavor mixed through the meat.  Turn off the heat and stir in the lime zest, lime juice, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.

Serve meat mixture with iceberg lettuce leaves to fill with meat and wrap around it, to be eaten with your hands.

This was definitely still good when the meat mixture was kept in the fridge and reheated for a very short time in the microwave, but I liked it best freshly made.

South Beach Suggestions:
As long as you use ground beef with less than 10% fat, this is a great recipe for any phase of the  South Beach Diet.

More Phase One Ideas with Lettuce Wraps:
Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps with Capers and Tomatoes
Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos with Spicy Cabbage Slaw and Avocado
Asian Lettuce Wraps with Pork, Napa Cabbage, and Red Bell Pepper
Thai-Inspired Turkey Mini-Meatball Lettuce Wraps
Asian Lettuce Cups (or wraps) with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling
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  1. I love iceberg lettuce. A lovely simple recipe Kalyn. I make a similar dish but have never added siracha sauce to it.

  2. Love these, Kalyn. They might give the Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps a good run for their money! ;-) Shared on my gfe Facebook page. :-)

    Happy Friday!

  3. I am SUCH a thai food fanatic and you're right...these wraps sound great! Full of so much flavor!

  4. Lettuce wraps are so much fun to eat and I love all the flavors in this recipe - a quick and easy dinner!

  5. Thanks everyone. So glad people are liking the sound of this. I loved all the flavors in them.

  6. This is completely my style, my flavors, and I always have fish sauce and Sriracha in the pantry. Going to make this one immediately!

  7. Sounds delicious! I bet mint would taste great in there as well.

  8. This is so yummy looking! You are so talented! I just started my own recipe blog and I look to yours for inspiration! Keep up the good work! Stop by mine and give me feedback if you can!

  9. ABSOLUTELY delicious. my boyfriend have been making your lettuce wraps a lot lately and thought we would try this one for a little change. Has a delicious *zing*!!! We added some canned tomatoes that had soaked in oregano, garlic and basil, and also kept in the avocado from the other recipe. 5 stars!!! Wish I was brilliant enough to come up with these on my own too! :)

  10. What a creative use of Sriracha! I bet they'll get gobbled up in any group setting.

  11. Jess, so glad you guys enjoyed them!

    Diana, the inspiring recipe had Thai chiles, sauteed before the beef. I never have those on hand and they're a little hard to work with so I subbed Sriracha and loved the results!

  12. Yes. If you look in South Beach Suggestions (after the recipe) it tells what phase each recipe is suitable for.

  13. I wanted to love this. I made it tonight but unfortunately the lime flavor was really overpowering, and I couldn't taste any of the other ingredients (I was really looking forward to tasting the sriracha :). Do you think it's ok to omit the lime zest and juice completely? Is there anything I can use to substitute for the moisture of the lime juice, like 1/4 cup beef stock or something? I definitely want to try this again, with maybe only a sprinkle of lime juice. Thanks! :)

  14. I'm surprised, as it thought this tasted much more like Sriracha than it did lime. I even squeezed more lime on it when I ate it! Did you use the 2 T of Sriracha?

    Definitely you could omit the lime though if you prefer it that way. I would add only about 2 T of stock.

  15. Thank you for the feedback! Maybe my lime was just really tart. And in retrospect, I realized it did render a lot more juice than 1.5 T as indicated in the recipe, so I probably shouldn't have used as much as I did. I did use 2 T of sriracha. Anyways, thanks again! I am going to try this again later this week and I'll report back! :)

  16. Try Boston lettuce with this, they are much more lettuce wrap friendly than the iceberg stuff.

  17. I made this using chick peas instead of ground beef, and it was delicious! I mashed them up slightly when I added the sauce mix.

  18. I have been making this recipe since last year and I have come back to say THANK YOU for this amazing dish! My husband and I go crazy for it! I have made it many times now and experimented with different ingredients. We've found that adding ginger and sometimes substituting oyster sauce for the fish sauce give it a new twist. Sometimes we'll saute some mushrooms and zucchini with the beef before we add in all the condiments. No matter what, it is always so delicious! Thanks again and know you have two adoring fans!

    1. Hi Tracy, so happy to hear this has been a favorite for you. I'm a big fan of this recipe as well; I will have to try some of your experiments! Thanks for the nice thoughts!


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