Quick and easy, these pork lettuce wraps make a wonderful appetizer or a tasty light meal. In this recipe, ground pork is cooked with a savory Asian-inspired sauce, served on lettuce cups and topped with shredded carrots and peanuts.
The sauce for these little lettuce cups is simple to make. With soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic, it’s easy and super flavorful.
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Ingredients for the lettuce wraps
- Condiments – Soy sauce (use low sodium to control some of the salt), hoisin sauce and, rice vinegar. Store these sauces in the refrigerator after opening for a long shelf life. Look to the international section of the supermarket to find the Asian ingredients. They should be easy to find and affordable.
- Spices – Salt, black pepper, ginger powder and crushed red pepper add flavor and a little kick. Leave out the crushed red pepper if you don’t like spicy.
- Oil – A little oil is needed in the sauce and to brown the pork. Use a neutral (flavorless) oil with a high smoke point. We use canola oil.
- Vegetables – Garlic, green onions, carrots and lettuce are the items needed from the produce section. Use green leaf lettuce for the wraps (Boston or Bibb) any loose leaf lettuce should work.
- Meat – Ground pork works really well with the sauce and is a nice change of pace from ground turkey or chicken. For more ground pork recipes try these pork egg rolls and these potstickers.
- Garnish – Shredded carrots and chopped peanuts add extra crunch and flavor to the pork lettuce wraps.
- Mince the garlic.
- Slice the green onion.
- Shred the carrots or buy pre-shredded.
- Chop the peanuts.
- Wash the lettuce and pat dry (if not using prewashed)
- Make the sauce: Add the water, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, 1 tablespoon of oil, ginger powder and the crushed red pepper (if using) to a canning jar or bowl. Stir well with a whisk or fork to combine.
Tips for the best pork lettuce cups
- Go easy on the salt in this recipe. Add just a little bit to the pork while browning because the hoisin and soy sauce both contain a good amount of salt already. We can always taste and add extra at the end.
- Prep the sauce first while you prepare the rest of the ingredients to give it a chance to sit and let all those flavors come together.
- Before building the lettuce wraps let the meat cool some. If the meat is too warm it will wilt the lettuce and it could tear.
Cook the ground pork for the lettuce wraps
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork, sprinkle it with the salt and pepper, and arrange it in a single layer.
- Cook the pork for 3-4 minutes to brown the bottom layer.
- Flip the pork in sections so that the browned side is up and cook 3-4 minutes.
- Stir the pork and break up any large pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula, continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add the prepared sauce to the skillet.
- Stir well and continue cooking the pork for approximately 5 minutes until cooked through and the sauce reduces and is absorbed.
Add the green onions, take the skillet off the heat and allow the pork filling to cool.
Serve the pork in the lettuce cups and garnish with the carrots and peanuts. Enjoy!
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Pork Lettuce Wraps
- ¼ cup Water
- 2 tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- 2 Garlic Cloves finely minced or grated
- ½ teaspoon Ginger Powder
- Pinch Crushed Red Pepper optional
- 2 tablespoons Oil divided (1 tablespoon for the sauce and 1 tablespoon to brown the ground pork) Use a neutral (flavorless) oil with a high smoke point – we use canola oil.
- 1 pound Ground Pork
- ½ teaspoon Salt we use kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1-2 tablespoon Green Onions sliced
- 7-8 ounces Green Leaf Lettuce butter, Boston, Bibb lettuce work well, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 Small Carrot shredded (for serving)
- ¼ cup Chopped Peanuts for serving
Prepare the sauce
- Combine the water, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger powder, crushed red pepper (if using) and 1 tablespoon oil in a small jar or bowl. Mix the sauce well with a whisk or fork.
Cook the pork filling
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and arrange it in one layer.
- Cook the pork for 3-4 minutes. Turn it in sections so that the browned side is up and cook another 3-4 minutes to brown on both sides.
- Stir the pork with a wooden spoon or spatula and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes while stirring and breaking up any large pieces as you go.
- Add the sauce to the skillet, lower the heat to medium-low (but keep the pork sizzling, lower or raise the heat as needed). Continue cooking the pork for approximately 5 minutes until cooked through (there should be no pink) and the sauce reduces and is absorbed by the meat. Stir frequently.
- Stir in the green onions, remove the skillet from the heat and allow the pork to cool.
- Serve the ground pork in the lettuce cups. The amount of pork to add will depend on the size of each lettuce leaf. Top with a pinch of shredded carrots and a few pieces of chopped peanuts. Enjoy!