Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps

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Someone stole Ben’s lunch at work today! I didn’t know people actually did that, but apparently it’s happened 3 times in the past 5 years (he’s keeping track, you see.) Stinks too because I packed him some really nice goodies including a homemade chewy cherry-almond granola bar and an applesauce cup, which he just loves. Hmmph!

I told him to track down the thief and go all Ross Geller on him. My. Wrap? MYYYY WRAAAAAAP? Classic. ; )

Anyways, I’ve got a nice dinner waiting for him at home that I know will help soothe his soul –  Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps, which were inspired by the Kentuckyaki Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps we had at HUSK in Charleston, except beefier (I’ll leave the pig ear prep to the pros!) and infused with the flavors of the far east instead of the low country.

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps are tender butter lettuce leaves piled with marinated grilled steak and quick-pickled cucumbers and onions, then drizzled with a creamy, almond butter and soy Thai sauce which is made from the steak marinade. This lower-carb meal is full of flavors and textures that mingle so, so well together.

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

If you don’t like steak, then chicken, salmon or, oooo SHRIMP would be divine too. Also, if you can’t find lettuce cups in your area (there is actually only one place around here I can consistently find them – Dahl’s for you local folks) then enjoy in flour tortillas, or over a salad. These wraps are perfect as we head into spring and grilling season. Quick and light!

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Start with the Quick-Pickled Cucumbers & Red Onions. I was tickled to see this little salad topping the pig ear lettuce wraps because it’s one of my favorite things, and super easy to make. I first had it at a little cafe while visiting a friend at KU back in college, and have been making it ever since for a cold, refreshing bite in the spring and summer time.

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

All you do is combine 1 thinly sliced cucumber and 1 thinly sliced red onion with 1/4 cup rice vinegar (or another vinegar) and 2 teaspoons sugar. Toss to combine then stir occasionally for another 30 minutes or so. Overtime the cucumbers and onions will slowly pickle and become soft and MAGICAL. You could make this up to a day ahead of time.

Note: I detest bread & butter pickles, so these are not like that. You can’t really taste the sugar, mmkay?

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

While the cucumbers and onions are pickling, get started on the sauce that will marinate the steak AND become the Thai sauce to drizzle over the wraps! Into a blender or food processor combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 Tablespoons each lime juice and extra virgin olive oil, and 2 Tablespoons honey. 

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Next add in 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, a 1-1/2″ knob of fresh ginger that’s been peeled and chopped, and 2 garlic cloves. 

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Now blend until the sauce is completely smooth.

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Remove 1/4 cup of the sauce then add it to 1lb steak. I used skirt steak, but flank steak or a super tender sirloin or rib-eye would be awesome. Again, chicken or fish would be really good here too! Let the steak sit and marinate on the counter for 10-15 minutes.

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Meanwhile, add 1-1/2 Tablespoons creamy almond butter to the remaining soy sauce mixture then blend again until smooth and set aside. This is the Thai sauce for the steak lettuce wraps!

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Finally, grill the steak until it reaches your preferred level of doneness, then let rest for 10 minutes before slicing very thinly against the grain.

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Pile fresh butter lettuce leaves with the sliced steak then top with quick pickled cucumbers & onions and drizzle with the creamy Thai sauce. Wrap, roll, and devour!

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps

Print this recipe!

Serves 3-4

Sauce slightly adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1-1/2″ knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves
1-1/2 Tablespoons creamy almond butter
1lb steak (flank, skirt, sirloin)
Bibb lettuce cups

For the Quick-Pickled Cucumbers & Onions:
1 small cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

Directions: 

  1. For the Quick-Pickled Cucumbers and Onions: combine ingredients in a large bowl then stir to combine. Let sit on the counter and stir occasionally while preparing the rest of the dish. Can be made up to a day ahead of time.
  2. Combine soy sauce, lime juice, olive oil, honey, sesame oil, red chili pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic in a blender or food processor then blend until smooth. Remove 1/4 cup of the liquid then add almond butter to blender and blend again until smooth. Add reserved 1/4 cup marinade to the steak in a plastic bag or container then marinate on the counter for 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat then grill marinated steak until medium rare. Remove to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes then slice very thinly against the grain. Lay out lettuce cups then top with sliced steak, quick-pickled cucumber & onions and then drizzle with the almond butter sauce.

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

So many flavors going on here but all working together so well. Salty, savory, sour, sweet – YUMMY!

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with quick-pickled cucumber and onion | iowagirleats.com

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Comments

  1. I am loving the flavor combinations in these lettuce wraps. They look tasty and guilt free; a win-win situation.
    And seriously…lunch thieves are the lowest of low. Come on people!

  2. Susan 04.10.2013

    If I worked with Ben and knew I was getting a lunch packed by you, I’d steal it too! Okay, just kidding, but whoever did it must have known it was going to be something good. Those delicious looking wraps should cheer him up :)

    • Jessica 04.10.2013

      Your comment essentially stole the words right out of my mouth about the lunch! Additionally these lettuce wraps look delicious, the ingredients are going on my shopping list!

  3. Oh my gosh those look so good! I’m pretty sure I would steal his lunch as well:)

  4. dwHAT, someone stole his lunch?? That’s ridiculous! At least he gets to come home to this tasty magic. YUM.

  5. Danielle 04.10.2013

    You seem like you are such an amazing wife:) motivates me to pick it up around my household ;)

  6. Beth 04.10.2013

    Might seem like a stupid question, BUT….can you substitute peanut butter? Never actually tasted almond butter, so have no idea if they are similar. LOve your blog!

    • Melissa 04.10.2013

      I was going to ask the exact same thing. I don’t want to have to buy almond butter just for this because I’d be the only one who’d eat the rest of the jar. I can’t tell my super picky husband if anything “odd” is in a meal.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.10.2013

      Yep definitely! If the sauce is too thick then just add a little water to thin it out.

  7. eemusings 04.10.2013

    Ya know, I had the exact same thing happen the other day (first time ever)! It was a terrible lunch – rice and stirfried veggies in a bit of soy sauce – so at least I wasn’t TOO disappointed. More annoyed about losing a good tupperware lunchbox though.

    At my old job I used to keep a stash of instant noodles on my desk as a backup snack, and those ALWAYS disappeared overnight. Never got to the bottom of that.

  8. Ha! Every time my sisters and I go out to eat, we write “Keep your mitts off my grub!” on our leftovers. Friends ftw! Stealing people’s lunch is just plain rude.

  9. Oh wow! These look awesome. I’ve been wanting to try lettuce wraps, just because I am a bread addict, and need to cut back. lol I will definitely have to try these.

  10. Tieghan 04.10.2013

    I can not believe someone stole his lunch! That is crazy and just so mean!!
    This looks so good! Thai is one of my favorites and this looks killer!

  11. Debtgirl 04.10.2013

    They took Bens lunch cause they know you make them!!! I would swipe them too!! :-)

  12. Mrs. H 04.10.2013

    The lettuce wraps look delicious.

    At one of my previous jobs we had a lunch thief who eventually was caught red-handed. You’d think it was someone with an eating disorder or dirt-poor. Nope.

  13. Those lettuce wraps looks so good!

  14. Oh yum, I love lettuce wraps and these look amazing!

    How funny that someone stole Ben’s lunch! Jesse works with my Dad and he was getting so jealous of Jesse’s lunches that I now have to make both of them lunch every day ;P

  15. Jeni 04.10.2013

    Is the sugar vitally important in the pickling? If I left it out, would it just be more sour?

  16. Jodea @ chillichocolatelove.com 04.11.2013

    Stealing lunch! The horror! I’d go nuts! Love the Friends reference. That would so be me.

  17. Kyler 04.11.2013

    I made these tonight with chicken and it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe :)

  18. Love the idea of using lettuce to make wraps. I had some when we went to Turtle bay resort in Hawaii and have been meaning to make some ever since.

  19. I would have been so mad if somebody stole my lunch! I would have full on channeled Chris Farley in drag, “Lay off I’m starving!” These lettuce wraps look delish by the way.I’m thinking this would make a perfect post workout lunch.

  20. Sara B. 04.11.2013

    People use to steal lunches out of the fridge where I use to work too. The reason I would pack a lunch was to save money and I am fairly sure it was some of our well paid male employees that were just too lazy to leave work for lunch when they came in on the weekends. A girl I was working with brought in pizza and noticed slices would disappear, so she started licking all the slices and wrote a note about what she had done to keep in the pizza box. Ha! Once, someone had eaten my frozen Smart Ones…they put the empty box back in the freezer and put a couple bucks in the box. People are weird!!

  21. If you haven’t already done a post about photography you totally should! Your pictures are stunning!

  22. Guess I’ll have to take a trip to Dahl’s soon! Love these!

  23. Masha 04.11.2013

    I love making lettuce wraps. So easy and low carb but I will definitely try this Thai Flavoring!

  24. Megan 04.11.2013

    I’ve found lettuce wraps at my local Hy-Vee! If you ask them, they’re typically more than happy to bring in a product for you :)

  25. People seriously STEAL lunches?? That is pathetic! I guess that is what happens when you are married to someone who is as good at cooking as you are! ;)

  26. Julia Jolliff 04.11.2013

    Oh people DO that! Isn’t it crazy? Who steals someones lunch? The last place I worked they would send emails out about it all of the time. Ha.

    These wraps look perfect!

  27. Danielle 04.11.2013

    Okay, so I’ve been crushing on your site for a while now, ESPECIALLY since I’m from Des Moines (DUH-MOYn…my husband pronounces it like it’s spelled just to poke me). But now you’re mentioning KU in a post? I live in Lawrence now! It’s just a sign. A sign that I need to make these. Yes…so, shout out from a fellow Iowan (or Ioweagan…another funny husband quip, har har)!

  28. I made chicken with a sauce nearly identical to this a few days ago, but with peanut butter instead of almond butter – What a neat idea to make it with AB!

  29. David 04.11.2013

    Yummy Yum Yum! Loving the Thai steak and lettuce wraps. Your photos are making my mouth water as I’m writing. Get a lock for the lunch box!

  30. Hayley 04.11.2013

    These sound so good! I love adding a little something to a marinade to turn it into a sauce or dressing :)

    I haven’t had my lunch stolen yet, but someone at my office used almost my entire container of half and half! I was very sad (and stuck with a french press full of black coffee) when I found out.

  31. Jane 04.11.2013

    He should use a lunch bag with an ice pack in it, then keep it somewhere other than the fridge at work…I would personally be so embarrassed if I got caught eating another co-workers lunch! That really takes a lot of nerve! I liked the suggestion one person put, about licking the pizza slices and then letting everyone one know they did that. I think I remember you saying a year or two ago about him getting it stolen back then, must of been the second time it was stolen :)?

  32. Lindsey 04.13.2013

    I made these today and they were awesome! I pickled the cucumber and onion yesterday and just let that marinade for a day. I used flank steak. The sauce is amazing. Great recipe. Thank you!

  33. Amy S. 04.15.2013

    Cannot wait to try these!! We had some lettuce wraps at a restaurant in St.Louis when we were on vacation and my 11 year old went nuts for them. Since then we have been making lots of variations at home and I cannot wait to try this combo of flavors!

  34. Michelle 04.18.2013

    Made these tonight and they were fantastic! Thanks for another amazing recipe.

  35. Cherub Mamma 04.18.2013

    I made these last night. I had the leftovers for lunch today (cold). Both meals were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!! Thank you so much for the recipe. It is a definite go to. I can’t wait to try it with chicken too.

  36. Becky 04.21.2013

    These were even a hit with my fiance, who claims not to like Thai food (crazy!). Thanks for another winner recipe.

  37. [...] found this recipe at Iowa Girl Eats, and I pretty much followed it.  I sliced a kohlrabi into matchsticks and added that to the quick [...]

  38. Katy 08.22.2013

    This recipe is to die for! I am one of those “doesn’t ever follow recipes to a t” folks, but I wanted to give this one a fair go and I was NOT disappointed!! The flavors go amazingly well together, and the sauce is something I will add to my mental repertoire of recipes. I even made the sauce again the next night, for a different meal. Thanks!! :)

    -Recent convert :)

  39. […] Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps (from Iowa Girl Eats) […]

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