Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce Recipe

Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce are a light and delicious meal to start the new year! | themillennialmenu.com

After all of my indulgent holiday meals (no regrets), I'm ready for something light and tasty. This recipe for Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce is just what I needed this week to ease me into 2017. These wraps are packed with protein (thanks to chicken and quinoa!) and flavor (hello, homemade peanut sauce!) so they'll fill you up while keeping your taste buds happy. 

I love how the chicken strips crisp up in the skillet as the garlic, ginger, and sesame oil infuse into the chicken. Then it's another burst of flavor from the homemade peanut sauce. The secret ingredient? Water! I was doubtful about this, and was tempted to add more soy sauce or peanut butter when things just didn't taste right. But water really is the trick. It thins out the sauce, keeping it from getting too gloopy, without adding anymore salt or flavor to an already-intense array of flavors. We dipped everything in our leftover peanut sauce - dumplings, spring rolls, even just cut up veggies as a snack. I recommend making a double batch! Finally, you simply top the lettuce (your wrappers!) with quinoa, chicken, grated carrots, peanuts, and cilantro and drizzle the peanut sauce on top. Warning: dinner can get a little messy. Just go with it!



Crispy Chicken Lettuce Wraps With Peanut Sauce

Makes 2 servings
Other Recipes With These Ingredients: Chicken: Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken // Quinoa: Freezer Friendly Mexican Stuffed Peppers // Peanut sauce: over soba noodles or as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or dumplings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the chicken & marinade:

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced thin
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

For the wraps:

  • 4 leaves bibb/Boston/butter lettuce {See grocery guide for more info}
  • 2 carrots, peeled & grated 
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, crushed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/3 cup dry)
  • Cilantro, for garnish Optional

For the peanut sauce:* Note, this recipe is flexible. Add more or less of any of the ingredients to make a sauce to your liking.

  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice Optional
  • Water, as needed




Dietary Substitutions:
Gluten Free: Make sure to use gluten free soy sauce.
Vegetarian: Skip the chicken, sub tofu.
Vegan-Friendly: See vegetarian solution. Dairy-Free Friendly

Directions:

Optional: If you want to marinate your chicken beforehand (for more flavor, but totally optional), start with Step 5 up to 24 hours in advance.

BEFORE YOU START: PREP THE VEGGIES
1. Tear 4 lettuce leaves off the head of bibb lettuce to use as your wrappers.
2. Grate your 2 carrots. I use a cheese grater for this! 
3. Crush 1/2 cup peanuts. I usually put them in a plastic bag and hit them with something hard (like an olive oil bottle or a metal spoon).

MARINATE & COOK THE CHICKEN, COOK QUINOA
4. To make the quinoa: turn one burner on high. Add 2/3 cup of water to the sauce pan. Add in 1/3 c. dry quinoa. Once the quinoa comes to a boil, turn down the heat, cover, and let the quinoa sit for 15 minutes. Read more about how to cook quinoa *PRODUCT PLUG: Quinoa takes 1 minute to cook in the Instant Pot, read about why you need one here While that's happening...
5. Slice your two chicken breasts into thin strips. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic,  and 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger to a bowl and toss the raw chicken strips in the marinade. Season with salt & pepper and stir. Let sit, refrigerated, for up to 24 hours. If you don't have time to marinate it, that's okay. Just move on to step 2.
6. Preheat a pan to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. 
7. Once the oil has heated, add the chicken strips to the pan. The pan should be hot enough that the strips sizzle when they are added to the pan (so they can get crispy!). Stir the strips around so that they are evenly cooked. After the first minute or so, add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to the pan and stir so the chicken is coated.
8. Continue to cook for 6-8 minutes, making sure the strips brown and get crispy as you cook - pressing down on the strips with a spatula might help you get the crisp on them. When it's done, the chicken should no longer be pink or translucent, but white and opaque. 

MAKE THE SAUCE
9. To make the peanut sauce, add 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice to a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until everything is dissolved together. You'll likely need to add water to thin the sauce out and dilute the strong flavors a bit. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, tasting as you go. Stop when it tastes the way you want it to! Note: If you have a blender, you can just add this all to the blender, it will be easier to just pulse everything together.

ASSEMBLE THE WRAPS
10.
Since you're making two servings, lay out two lettuce leaves on top of each other on one side of the plate and two on the other. These will be your outer wrappers. Spoon half of the quinoa onto one wrap and one half of the quinoa onto the other. Divide your grated carrot and peanuts between the wraps. Add the chicken on top, drizzle with peanut sauce, and garnish with cilantro. 

Yum.


Lunch Tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients

LUNCH TOMORROW - One of the best things about this recipe is it's easy to pack for lunch and still tastes delicious regardless of whether you heat it up or not. Make sure to store the peanut sauce on the side and add it when you're ready to eat. If you'd like to heat it up, bring the lettuce separate from the chicken and quinoa mixture.

STORING - Store the lettuce and peanut sauce separately in the fridge, and make your wraps and add the sauce right before you enjoy. With the cooked chicken, you should enjoy within 3-4 days.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - Make a salad with extra lettuce to bring for lunch or as a side dish to another dinner this week. Use extra carrots as a snack with hummus or ranch dip. Toss extra peanut sauce with soba noodles for a delicious noodle dish with veggies. And use up the rest of the cilantro in my Five Minute Fish Tacos or Shortcut Shakshuka.