Joy Bauer’s slimming chicken wraps

When I was planning the recipe lineup for my new cookbook “Slim & Scrumptious,” I knew I had to include my own, slimmed-down version of Asian chicken lettuce wraps. They’re one of my kids’ absolute favorite items to order off of restaurant menus — but the nutrition facts leave a lot to be desired. An appetizer portion of chicken lettuce wraps at one popular chain restaurant has more than 600 calories, 28 grams of fat, and 2,600 mg sodium (that’s over a day’s worth of sodium in one small dish!). So, I came up with a quick, simple and delicious version I can make at home — and because my lettuce wraps are far more nutritious, they can now be a frequent dinner option, rather than an occasional treat. 

I start with lean ground chicken, add in tons of chopped veggies (they’re finely minced and coated with delicious sauce, so most kids won’t hesitate to dive in), and flavor them up with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and bottled plum sauce.  My younger daughter Ayden doesn’t care for cilantro, so I always scoop out her lettuce wraps before I add the cilantro to the filling.

Quick tip: Use a manual food chopper or a food processor to save yourself time chopping up all the veggies. I love my manual food chopper — it was a Mother’s Day gift from my son Cole, and I use it all the time. You can pick one up for around $15 at any home store, and it’s so worth it! Plus, they’re safe for kids to operate, so this is a great way to let your kids help in the kitchen.

Though I love every recipe in the book (yes, I realize I’m highly biased), this is definitely one of the standout recipes. My kids regularly request these lettuce wraps for dinner, and their friends love them too. I hope you’ll give this one a try!

Chicken lettuce wrapsJoy Bauer

Serves 4

Nutrition Information

Calories – 298

Protein – 27 g

Total Fat – 9 g

Saturated Fat – 2 g

Cholesterol – 80 mg

Sodium – 610 mg

Carbohydrate – 34 g

Fiber – 5 g

Liberally coat a large skillet with oil spray, and preheat it over medium-high heat.

Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften slightly, about 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water at a time as necessary to prevent scorching.

Reapply oil spray if necessary, and add the ground chicken to the skillet. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, breaking the meat into a fine crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with the salt and pepper. 

Add the plum sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili paste and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until heated through.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the cashews and cilantro. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

Clean the lettuce and break off 12 individual leaves (trim away the stem end of the leaves if they are tough). Fill each lettuce cup with roughly ½ cup of the chicken mixture. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.

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