Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps

In the heat of the summer, one of the last things I want to do is eat a heavy meal–especially in the evenings.  That usually leads to lots of meatless meals, which leave my meatasaurus husband typically unsatisfied.  So, in an attempt to bridge the gap between our preferences and an attempt to use up some of the meat in the freezer, I settled on beef lettuce wraps.

Korean beef lettuce wraps using homegrown carrots & beef from a friend's cow. Sweet, savory, salty, spicy and lots of crunch!
Korean beef lettuce wraps using homegrown carrots & beef from a friend’s cow. Sweet, savory, salty, spicy and lots of crunch!

They’re wrapped in and packed with tons of crisp veggies to give a lighter and healthier feel to the meal, but have some rice and a good scoop of flavor-packed beef for lasting power.  Here’s how I did it:


  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef (venison, pork, chicken or turkey would work, too)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 small package fresh mushrooms, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2″ piece of ginger, finely minced or grated (I never peel the skin, but you can if you want)
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c lite soy sauce (I prefer Bragg’s Liquid Aminos–and no, they’re not paying me to say that)
  • 1-2 Tbsp sriracha sauce (or 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on your tolerance for spice)
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced into thin rings (all but the root tip)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I used basmati)
  • Julienned veggies (red peppers, jalapeños, carrots, celery, radishes–anything crunchy)
  • 16-20 large lettuce leaves (bibb, romaine, iceberg, whatever you like best)


  1. Cut all your veggies, aromatics and mushrooms and set aside on plates/bowls.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and toss in 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. When oil is heated (shimmery, but not yet smoking) add beef and brown, breaking up large pieces with wooden spoon until meat is almost entirely cooked and no longer pink (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add onions and a tsp or two of salt, then cook until onions are translucent (about 3-5 minutes), then add in mushrooms, ginger and garlic. Sautee another 3 minutes to allow mushrooms to cook.
  4. Mix brown sugar, soy sauce, sriracha and sesame oil in a small bowl until combined.  Add this to the beef mixture and stir, making sure to scrape all brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the mixture.  Turn off heat, then add green onions, stir and allow the residual heat to cook them.
  5. Serve beef in a bowl, separately from rice and put all julienned veggies on another plate in piles. Lettuce goes on yet another plate.
  6. Now, each person dining can assemble her/his own wraps to fit her/his preference.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. chef mimi says:

    I like the idea of the ground meat!

    1. elderjscott says:

      Yeah, we did it as a way to use up some ground beef, but I’m sure thinly sliced beef would work, too.

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