Easy to make, light and healthy orange chicken lettuce wraps! The ground chicken tastes just like a healthier version of orange chicken and being in lettuce wraps means it’s a low carb, high protein, and filling meal for lunch or dinner!
Bring on all the low carb, high protein dinners. 🙌
And these orange chicken lettuce wraps are a thing. A BIG thing around here. More specifically ground chicken sautéed and then drizzled with a homemade orange chicken sauce that actually contains, real 100% no sugar added orange juice, along with freshly grated orange zest and topped with tiny mandarin oranges so the orange flavor carries through and through.
These lettuce wraps are a healthy alternative to the not-so-healthy orange chicken you get from your favorite Chinese Restaurant and dare I say that orange chicken was meant to be wrapped in butter lettuce all this time and we are justtt finding out now?
If you follow me on snapchat (👻:littlespicejar) then you know that Anees and I recently just got Fitbits. Which in every other household may mean that a husband and wife trying to get healthier together and walk more. At our house, it is GAME ON. It doesn’t help that Fitbit allows you to ‘challenge’ people to walk more either. The hubby and I have done just 1 week of competition and I kid you not, we were literally on each other’s heel the entire time. You can check the other persons progress anytime during the day and you know that I did at least 10 times a day. I don’t know if our way of competing is exactly ‘healthy’ but I will say that I definitely did walk more than I usually do. So i’m paraphrasing and calling it success.
And while we’re on the move, these chicken lettuce wraps are my new go to lunch. I’m loving the amount of energy I have when i’m eating a lunch that’s packed with lots of real protein and is low in carbs. It took me half of my twenties to realize that carbs at lunch leave me feeling tired, sleepy, and lazy around the 3-5pm mark. Skipping the bread/rice helps keep me going, which means I have TONS of energy to recipe test all sorts of deliciousness for us all.But it doesn’t have to just be a healthy lunch. Orange chicken lettuce wraps make an ideal dinner too. What I also love about these wraps is that they are ideal for #mealprep Sundays or Mondays. The flavors of the orange chicken actually intensify as it sits. I made them earlier in the week and we had them for dinner last night. I even forgot to top them with the mandarin oranges but the orange flavor carried through from the juice/zest beautifully. The hubby also likes to add wonton strips (usually found next to the croutons at the grocery store) on top of his lettuce wraps. He’s all about that CRUNCH.
If you’ve got little ones (and sometimes hubbys too) that refuse to eat anything green which is often the case I hear, you can always serve the orange chicken on a bed of white/brown rice. Sliced peppers and matchstick carrots on top would make this a more filling and nutritious meal as well adding a little more crunchiness to the whole thing.
As always, you can swap out the ground chicken for turkey if you prefer. I usually use ground chicken breasts but ground thighs would add more flavor for those that enjoy dark meat.
Seriously let’s start the worst day of the week with a healthy meal.
ORANGE CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS TO THE RESCUE.
- ORANGE CHICKEN SAUCE:
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon EACH ground ginger AND red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons water AND 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- CHICKEN FILLING:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound ground chicken (turkey or beef works too)
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can mandarin oranges (fresh cutie slices work too)
- chopped scallions, lettuce leaves AND toasted sesame seeds for decorating
- [b]ORANGE CHICKEN SAUCE:[/b] Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a mason jar, give it a few good shakes until all the ingredients are mixed. Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat. When the sauce begins to simmer, lower the heat and allow to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. You want the sauce to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from stove, allow to cool.
- [b]CHICKEN FILLING:[/b] Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground chicken and break down any lumps with a wooden spoon, let the chicken cook for 5-7 minutes or until it cooks all the way through. Drizzle the chicken with the prepared sauce. Let cook for 1-2 minutes. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the filling to cool for several minutes before filling lettuce leaves. Top with mandarin orange slices and toasted sesame seeds.
IS THIS A GOOD CHOICE FOR YOU?
Note that this is the nutritional facts for 1 chicken lettuce wrap including the lettuce. Typically I can eat 2-3 depending on my hunger level. This recipe makes enough to comfortably feed a family of 4.