Hawaiian Chicken in Lettuce Leaves Recipe

This tangy sweet chicken is fresh and light and comes together in a snap—perfect for dining al fresco
Hawaiian Chicken in Lettuce Leaves

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

It’s time to dine al fresco, whether that’s in your own yard or balcony or on a picnic. The weather we wait all winter and dreary early spring days for is here in its green, leafy glory.

An easy dish that can transport well is in order. This tangy sweet Hawaiian chicken in a lettuce leaf wrap comes together in a snap, says Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, who created this recipe for Real Food. Each diner can spoon the tasty filling into individual leaves and add hot sauce to taste. The dish is fresh and light—perfect for a warm day and would pack easily for a picnic. Pack the prepared, cooked meat mixture in a separate bowl and assemble in lettuce leaves just prior to eating to keep them crispy.

Hawaiian Chicken in Lettuce Leaves

Makes 6 Servings

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon canola or avocado oil
1 pound ground chicken
1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
½ cup roasted cashews
2 heads butter lettuce, separated into leaves
Sriracha Sauce, for serving (optional)

  1. Chop the ginger and garlic and reserve.
  2. In a cup, combine the soy sauce, honey and lime juice and reserve.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the canola or avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sizzle for a few seconds, stirring. Add the chicken and stir, chopping the meat as it cooks. Reduce to medium and stir and turn until the chicken is mostly cooked; it will look white and browned in spots. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir. It will sizzle and be absorbed quickly. Stir in the jalapeño and pineapple and cook just until the pineapple is slightly softened, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.
  4. Sprinkle the cashews over the chicken and serve with lettuce leaves. Portion about ¼ to ½ cup into each leaf, depending on the size of the leaf. Drizzle with Sriracha, if desired, and eat immediately.

Nutrition info Hawaiian Chicken in Lettuce Leaves (Per Serving): Calories 210 (101 From Fat); Fat 12g (Sat. 2g); Chol 43mg; Sodium 328mg; Carb 16g; Fiber 2g; Protein 13g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.