Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Turkey Picadillo Lettuce Wraps (Low-Carb, Can Be Paleo)

Leftovers tend to pile up at my house, but these Turkey Picadillo Lettuce Wraps were gone the next day!

Low-Carb Turkey Picadillo Lettuce Wraps found on KalynsKitchen.com

I'm a firm believer that you can never have too many recipes for lettuce wraps, and they're something I always enjoy when I'm doing Phase One.  Through the years I've made so many lettuce wrap variations that I'd have a hard time choosing a favorite, but these Turkey Picadillo Lettuce Wraps were definitely amazing.

Ground turkey is simmered with onion, green pepper, tomatoes, chicken stock, and spices, with some chopped green olives and a generous amount of Green Tabasco Sauce giving it just enough zip to make it interesting.  The word Picadillo comes from a Spanish word that means "to mince" and many countries have their own version of this ground meat dish, but the use of olives makes this recipe lean towards Cuban Picadillo.

(Of course this new Phase One recipe is today's contribution for our month of  Daily Phase One Recipes.  You can see all the recipes from the month by clicking Daily Phase One Recipes.  Check after the recipe for Phase One Flashbacks from this day in 2012 and 2013.)

Heat a little olive oil and saute the ground turkey until it's starting to brown.

Then push the meat over, add a tiny bit more oil, and add the chopped onion and green bell pepper.  Keep cooking until the onions and peppers are soft and starting to brown.

While the veggies cook, chop up 1/2 cup Spanish green olives, plus some slices to garnish the lettuce wraps if desired.

Add the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt and papper, and let the mixture simmer on low heat about 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
When there is only a small amount of liquid left in the pan, stir in the chopped green olives, green olive brine, and Green Tabasco sauce, and about 10 minutes more.  The pan should be nearly dry if you push the meat aside, otherwise the lettuce wraps will be too messy.

While the meat cooks, prepare the lettuce by removing damaged outer leaves and cutting away the core.  I like to cut the lettuce in half and then pull away several pieces at once to make a double thickness of lettuce to hold the juicy filling.  Serve hot, with sliced green olives to garnish if desired.

Turkey Picadillo Lettuce Wraps
(Makes about 6 lettuce wraps; turkey Picadillo filling recipe inspired by a recipe in Food and Wine's Quick from Scratch One-Dish Meals Cookbook.

2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey (less than 10% fat)
1 large onion, chopped small
1 large green bell pepper, chopped small
1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth (Or use 1 2/3 cups homemade chicken stock if you have some.)
1 can (14 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste (I didn't use much salt, about 1/4 tsp.)
2-3 tsp. Green Tabasco sauce (or more)
1/2 cup chopped green olives + a few sliced green olives to garnish (preferably Spanish olives)
1-2 T green olive brine (from the jar of olives)
2 heads iceberg lettuce

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the turkey, and cook over medium heat until it's starting to brown, about 6-7 minutes.  Push the meat over and add the other 2 teaspoons of oil (or as needed), add the chopped onion and green bell pepper, and continue to cook, turning occasionally, until the onions and peppers are soft and starting to brown on the edges.  

Add the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, ground cumin, ground coriander, and salt and pepper to taste and simmer over low heat until the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 20 minutes.  When there is only a small amount of liquid left, stir in the Green Tabasco sauce, chopped green olives, and green olive brine, stirring to combine all the ingredients, and cook about 5-10 minutes longer, or until the pan is nearly dry.  

While the meat is simmering, peel off any damaged out leaves of lettuce, cut away the core, and cut the heads in half.   To serve, peel off a double layer of lettuce to form a cup, fill with the hot meat mixture, garnish with green olive slices, and eat!

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South Beach Suggestions:
Everything in this recipe is a low-glycemic ingredient, and as long as you use lean ground turkey, this would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

Phase One Flashbacks:
January 14, 2012:  Crockpot Sausage, Peppers, and Cannellini Bean Stew with Parmesan
January 14, 2013:  20 Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes, Suitable for The South Beach Diet Phase One

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas with Lettuce Wraps:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos with Spicy Cabbage Slaw and Avocado ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Beef Lettuce Wraps with Pickled Jalapenos ~ My Colombian Recipes

Asian Lettuce Cups (or Wraps) With Spicy Ground Turkey Filling ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Korean Lettuce Wraps - Jeanette's Healthy Living

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos with Chiles, Cumin, Cilantro, Lime, and Tomato-Avocado Salsa ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!


  1. I still haven't tried making picadillo although I have all the ingredients to make this so no excuses. Bet this would be great in stuffed peppers too.

  2. Jeanette, I love all these ingredients! And I think it's a great idea to have it in stuffed peppers!

  3. I made this tonight. It was delicious--and very easy to put together. The whole family loved it. I can't believe it was so healthy too. We ate with a quinoa/brown rice mix.

  4. Nadine, so glad you liked it as much as we did!

  5. I can't wait to try this it looks delicious! Thank you for sharing...

  6. WOW, made these tonight. So tasty. All I added to the recipe was a dash of smoked chipotle chil pepper. My wife gave me two thumbs up. In will definately make this again.


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