Lettuce Cups/ Lettuce Wraps

January 25, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post

What are Lettuce Cups/ Lettuce Wraps?

Fresh, crunchy, sweet, just enough saltiness, tangy, a wee bit chilli, aromatic. Wondering if I am practising my adjectives? Well, you would too if you had these delicious lettuce cups/ lettuce wraps. Lettuce Cups/ Lettuce Wraps is a great entertaining recipe. Guests can build up their own lettuce cups or wraps with different fillings.

Basically, lettuce leaves are served topped with a dry filling and served with sauces. The lettuce cups or wraps make a healthier option to sandwiches with bread. However, initially they were served as a starter or appetizer mostly at Chinese Restaurants. These days lettuce cups or wraps have taken on different avatars. One can have a vegetarian or non vegetarian filling from any cuisine. They are served as a starter, appetizer, finger food or even as a healthy light meal option.

My First Experience

The first time I ever had lettuce cups was at a Chinese Restaurant in London. When the huge iceberg salad leaves were placed in front of me with the vegetarian filling of oyster mushrooms, I had no idea how to eat it! Luckily, my sister in law showed me and also made me comfortable by saying ‘let those fingers get all sticky with the sauces’. I thoroughly enjoyed the started and knew that I had to make this at home. We don’t lettuce cups or wraps at the Chinese Restaurant in Mombasa.


Goodness in Crunchy Leaves

Since I first made them at home, using basic ingredients like carrots, cucumber, onions, etc, I’ve tried so many different fillings. Lettuce Cups/ Lettuce Wraps make an excellent finger food to enjoy on TV nights. Sometimes, for hubby I’ve ordered chicken tikka and used that along with some salad ingredients.

Some Filling Ideas:

While my favorite is still making a light salad with corn, cucumber, carrot, cashew nuts , sesame seeds, etc and enjoying with a Chilli Honey Sauce or Dip and Chilli Sauce, there are so many other fillings you can use.

  • Make a dry tandoori like tandoori paneer, tandoori boneless chicken, tandoori mushrooms. Cut it up into smaller pieces. Serve with a mint yogurt dip. Mix the tandoori ingredients with chopped onion, cucumber, tomatoes, etc.
  • Have you tried a Chili Bean filling served with guacamole and simple tomato salsa?
  • How about chopped up falafel served with some hummus and salad of onion, tomato, olives and cucumber.
  • Use up leftover meat, fish, fritters, etc and serve with lettuce cups or wraps.
  • Use leftover rice to make a salad, serve with a chutney or dip.
  • Make small koftas. Use as a filling along with chopped salad. Serve with chutney.
  • Use roasted sweet potato, or potatoes with avocado, tomato, onion, etc. Serve with a light salad dressing.

Let your imagination run riot and make a filling of your choice. Serve with dips, sauces or chutneys.

What Type of Lettuce or Leaves to Use:

When Butterhead Lettuce was not available in my area I used or sometimes still use Iceberg Lettuce. However, if possible, I prefer using wither butterhead, Bibbs lettuce or romaine lettuce.Sometimes have used endives and Napa cabbage(chinese cabbage). Can also use big kale leaves and Chard leaves.

Sauces or Dips you can Use:

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Chilli Sauce

Peanut Sauce

Green Chutney

Garlic and Red Pepper Chutney

Coconut and Yogurt Dip


Starter Ideas:

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vegetarian Bao Buns

Roasted Tomato & Ricotta Toast

Pav Bhaji Dip with Nachos

Chinese Bhel

Paneer and Naan Bites

Watermelon Bruschetta

Moong Dal and Spinach Handvo

Nachos and Mango Salsa

Mini Vada Pav

Amiri Khaman

Buttered Masala Sweet Corn

Crispy Okra


Ingredients For Lettuce Cups/ Lettuce Wraps:

  • Lettuce Leaves – must be fresh, big and crunchy. Best to soak lettuce leaves in Ice cold water for at least 30 minutes. I sometimes leave them in water and in the fridge till required.
  • Onion – chopped finely, preferably spring onion. However, if you don’t get that then use red, white or yellow onion.
  • Sweet Pepper – any colour, finely chopped.
  • Carrot – peeled and diced finely.
  • Cucumber – finely chopped.
  • Sweet Corn – steamed or boiled or canned.
  • Cashew Nuts – roasted and chopped.
  • Sesame Seeds – roasted.
  • Chilli Flakes – optional.
  • Honey or Plum Sauce – for the Sauce.
  • Vinegar – try and get rice vinegar. If you don’t have that then use a good quality white wine vinegar.
  • Sriracha Sauce – for the sauce.
  • Fresh Ginger – minced, for the sauce.
  • Sesame Oil – for the sauce.
  • Pepper Powder – for the sauce.
  • Salt – for the sauce.
  • Chilli Sauce – optional to serve along with the Chili Honey Sauce.

Pin for Later:


Fresh, crunchy, sweet, just enough saltiness, tangy, a wee bit chilli, aromatic. Lettuce Cups/ Lettuce Wraps is a great entertaining recipe.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Light Meal, Starter
Cuisine Chinese, International
Servings 4


  • 8-12 Lettuce Leaves

Filling :

  • 3 tbsp onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp roasted cashewnuts roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped pepper any colour
  • 3 tbsp carrot grated or finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp cooked corn
  • 3 tbsp cucumber finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes optional

Chilli Honey Dressing :

  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp honey/plum sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar/apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce


  • Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix the ingredients for the dressing in another bowl.
  • Wash and wipe lettuce leaves.
  • Put the lettuce leaves in a plate or a bowl.
  • Your guests can help themselves by spooning a bit of the filling and dressing into the lettuce leaf. Fold and eat.


  • If the lettuce leaves are not crunchy, soak them for a while in ice cold water. Then drain out the water, pat dry the leaves with a clean cloth and serve.
  • Can add finely chopped green chilli instead of chilli flakes.
  • Don't add the sauce to the filling as it will become watery. 
  • Top the filling on the lettuce leaf with the sauce/sauces before eating.
Keyword Easy Lettuce Cups, Lettuce Wrap Recipe - Vegetarian

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A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962




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