Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weeknight Dinner: Five-Spiced Turkey and Pepper Lettuce Wraps

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As I've mentioned before, growing up on Long Island we never really had a melting pot of other cultures foods and restaurants.  My mom is a great cook and so are my aunts and even, yes, my uncles.  We eat the best Italian-American food you'll probably ever have in your life.  And if you're anything BUT Italian, you would probably relish the idea of coming to eat at my house. You definitely would, not probably; we don't really lack for ego in my family either!

Going away to college to a campus that was 30% international students opened up my world for new possibilities, ideas, and cultures.  It was, quite literally, a game-changer.  In fact, I can't even think of one Italian-American friend that I had.  Everyone was completely different. This isn't just scary, it's also hard to find your way when you're surrounded by things unknown to you.  But, it also teaches you a lot - about yourself and others.  When I finally met John, years later, I loved that we were so different.  His dad's family is Hungarian and they take a lot of pride in that, just like I take pride in my Italian roots.

What also drew me to him was how adventurous he is; he is willing to go and try anything that my crazy mind can come up with!  So maybe you are like my family growing up and you've never made ethnic dishes from other parts of the world before - but I urge you to!  This dish is an easy place to start - it's the perfect way to transport yourself around the world.  Maybe we'll get there one day, but for now, we can enjoy it in the comfort of our dining room!
Five-Spiced Turkey and Pepper Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Eating Well)
Serves:  4 (about 1 pound of meat and 20 lettuce wraps)
1/2 cup brown rice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 head iceberg or Boston lettuce, leaves separated
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 carrot, shredded

Prepare rice according to package directions.  When it is fully cooked, set aside.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Brown the turkey and then add the ginger.  Cook until the turkey is cooked through (about 5-8 minutes).  Stir in the cooked rice, pepper, chicken broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, and salt.  Cook until heated, about 1 minute.  Serve like tacos - let people fill their own lettuce shells with the turkey filling and top with cilantro and carrot. 

Until the next time my oven is on...


  1. I love five spice! I only use it like once every 2 years but it definitely deserves more attention. These look delicious! The perfect light summer meal.

  2. That looks like a great summer meal. Beautiful photo, too!

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  4. I just so happened to be browsing Foodgawker for lettuce wrap recipes and stumbled upon this. So glad I did, they look delicious - and what a gorgeous photo, girl!


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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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