Spicy Asian Chicken Lettuce Cups (with Vegan Option)


These chicken lettuce cups make for a fun and flavorful summer or light fall meal. The use of bold herbs and spices makes them distinctly Asian in flavor, but the complimentary sweet juicy grapes offer a Western fusion experience and a fresh take on tradition.

Spicy Grape and Chicken Lettuce Cups

The California Table Grape Commission provided this tasty dairy-free recipe for chicken lettuce cups (with added option for vegan / vegetarian), and also shared some other delicious ways to enjoy the natural antioxidants and polyphenols in grapes:

  • Layered — Go parfait-style; layer them with dairy-free yogurt, pudding, cashew cream, or ice cream!
  • Roasted — Grapes caramelize when roasted just like vegetables – who knew? I’m definitely trying this one.
  • Grilled — Thread them on a skewer with other fruits, like pineapple and mango, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry. These Mediterranean skewers are a great recipe example.
  • Au Naturale — Clip them into small clusters for a fruit plate or edible garnish.
  • Dipped — Melted dairy-free dark or semi-sweet chocolate makes for an amazing dessert.
  • On the Go — Pack them up for a snack or as a lunch partner for sandwiches and wraps.
  • Frozen – My addition! Pop washed grapes in the freezer for an amazing healthy summer treat.

Whenever possible, purchase organic grapes as these little gems frequently hit the top pesticide list, and purchase in summer – they are always best during peak season!

Spicy Asian Chicken Lettuce Cups
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 as an entrée or 8 as an appetizer
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¾ cup low-sodium or regular chicken broth (or no-chicken broth for vegan / vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 to 5 teaspoons Asian chili paste with garlic
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 1 tablespoon peanut, grapeseed, or vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground chicken breast (or two 10-ounce packages extra-firm tofu or tempeh, chopped for vegan / vegetarian)
  • 1-1/2 cups halved green California seedless grapes
  • ¾ cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, cut in half and separated into leaves
  • ¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups julienne cucumber
  1. In small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Add the chicken broth, sugar, vinegar, chili paste, and soy sauce or tamari.
  2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add garlic and ginger; sauté for 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5 to 8 minutes. If using a vegan alternative, cook until lightly golden on all sides. Add grapes and green onions, and sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Re-stir the sauce mixture and pour into skillet. Cook, while stirring, until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Spoon the chicken or meatless mixture into lettuce leaves, and garnish with cilantro and cucumber.
  5. Serve open or rolled up - your choice!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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