Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps

By Katie, 6:08 am

Have you ever decided to cook a recipe solely because it gave you an excuse to buy a particular ingredient?

Because the only reason I decided to make these Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps was so that I’d have a legitimate reason to purchase five-spice powder. :roll:

You see, while I may love buying new, fun ingredients, my wallet disagrees. So when a recipe calls for an ingredient I don’t imagine using often, I usually just omit it. Unless it appears to be a key ingredient; then I give myself full permission to fork over the dough. Unfortunately – for my budget at least – this often means I’m on the prowl for recipes that require the purchasing of something fun and unique. ;-)

So I added these wraps to the weekly menu and picked up a small bag of five-spice powder. And let me tell you, it made the dish. If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t), five-spice powder is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, ground fennel seeds, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns. The idea is that it encompasses the five main elements or flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and pungent.

To make these Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps, I first cooked some instant brown rice and set it aside. Then I cooked the ground turkey and fresh ginger. Once the turkey was cooked through, I added the rice plus some bell pepper, water chestnuts, chicken broth, the five-spice powder, hoisin sauce (an ingredient I purchased some time ago under the same circumstances as the five-spice powder), and salt.

And that was it, really!  I brought the entire portion to the dinner table, where Dave and I assembled our lettuce wraps by topping the turkey mixture with shredded carrots, cilantro, and chives.

We used Boston lettuce because the leaves are the most “cup-like,” but it was still quite messy because our lettuce leaves weren’t all that big. If and when I make this again, I’ll use the biggest lettuce leaves I can find!

Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps
Recipe from Eating Well
Serves 4

1/2 cup instant brown rice (dry)
2 tsp sesame or olive oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 heads Boston lettuce (preferably with very large leaves)
1/2 cup chopped herbs, such as cilantro and chives
1 large carrot, grated

1. Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add ground turkey and ginger; cook until turkey is cooked through (about 8 minutes), breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

3. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, chicken broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, and salt. Cook until heated through, about another 2 minutes.

4. Serve by spooning portions of the turkey mixture into the lettuce “cups,” topping with herbs and shredded carrot.

Have you ever used a recipe as an excuse to buy an ingredient that your budget normally wouldn’t allow?


Have you ever used five-spice powder? Can you suggest other ways that I can use it? Because now I have a lot left over! 8-O

31 Responses to “Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps”

  1. Ha, I have a big jar of Chinese 5-spice powder that needs to be used too…I throw it into stirfries, and it’s really tasty!

  2. Lauren says:

    I love lettuce wraps!!! Such a great idea. And yes, I have definitely bought an ingredient for the purpose of trying a new recipe. It’s usually some kind of new seafood. I LOVE trying new fish but some of them can get super expensive!

  3. Sounds simple and great! I love the taste of 5-spice powder. There’s all sorts of stir-fry dishes you can use it in. I would do a search online….

  4. I am ashamed to admit I own 5-spice powder but have never used it. Time to turn that around!

    Another recipe is I’ve wanted to make that chicken for quite some time now!

  5. Jessica says:

    The wrap looks great. I always just buy whatever a recipe calls for. I’m sure I’m using old stale spices by now because I have so many!

  6. runblondie26 says:

    That’s looks so fresh and healthy. Think I’ll have to scout out some 5-spice powder now too.

  7. Hayley says:

    YUM that looks SO good!!! Even eating the turkey mixture by itself sounds delicious. I’m bookmarking this! :)

  8. Haha, I’ve done that SO often!! I love an excuse to buy something new :) As for 5spice powder – I bought it once a while back and HATED it!! I think I need to give it another go :/

  9. Next time you need an obscure ingredient, email me first. I have them all :D I actually made a similar recipe with my five spice powder and did not like it at all!

  10. Allie says:

    I’ve had lettuce wraps at asian restaurants before but never thought to do it on my own! Such a good idea and alternative to tortillas!

  11. christina says:

    i love asian lettuce wraps! they’re so fun to eat :)

  12. Cara says:

    I agree about lettuce wraps, a messy meal but well worth it! I like using 5 spice on green beans to go with any Asian-inspired meal.

    • Katie says:

      That’s a great idea! I think I will try adding it to all different kinds of stir-fry type veggies.

  13. these look so fun and fresh! and can you imagine how good they’d be at a party?! i’m going to keep my eyes peeled for 5-spice from now on :)

  14. Jessica Lee says:

    mm lettuce wraps are awesome!! i’ve never tried 5 spice powder. i’m sure it would be good in a stirfry.

  15. Those look really good–Ive never tried or heard of 5 spice powder. sounds right up my alley–more spices the better!

  16. These look delicious! I have a bottle of 5 spice powder lying around that I never knew what to do with!

  17. These look quite tasty! I love lettuce wraps!

    Yes, I have most definitely used recipes as an excuse to buy certain ingredients. I love saffron, so a few months ago I made paella for some friends. I didn’t come close to using it all, which means I can throw it into rice and veggie dishes when I want to make the meal a bit more special. It adds a rich flavor and beautiful color!

  18. Mo says:

    Hahaha yes, I have done that. :P
    These look great! Five-spice gives an awesome flavor to dishes.
    Actually, I made some really good five-spice shrimp that I believe I got from Eating Well, so go back to the site and search it, maybe? Or just use another form of protein, given the whole seafood industry is kind of in a mess right now… =\

    But anyway, I’ve passed on a few awards to you! :)

  19. Jess says:

    These sound amazing! So weird, I JUST bought five-spice for another recipe. I will definitely be making these for this weekend when my parent’s come for dinner! THANKS!!!

  20. i havent had turkey in a while!! i used to be able to get organic turkey nearby but they stopped selling it and only continue to carry organic chicken. i really want ot make this meal.. but not with chicken.. with turkey just like urs. mmm such a craving hitting me right now!

    i totally made some muffins a little while back just to buy an expensive delicious honey.. i used it as an excuse for sure. as if the muffins wouldnt taste the same without the extra 10 dollars lol..

    xoxo <3

  21. Yes, I am always buying new ingredients for one recipe, lol. Those wraps look SO good!! YUM

    I’ve never used five-spice, I hear it’s great though.


  22. this totally reminds me of PF Changes lettuce wraps, but yours probably taste so much better because of the fresh ingredients (plus i love me some turkey)

  23. I loved this recipe when we made them! And I had to buy 5 Spice powder too…haven’t used it since. I need to find another reason to use it! :)

  24. YUM! I haven’t ever tried 5 spice powder…but I definitely should!

  25. I love lettuce wraps and these look so good! I haven’t bought 5 spice powder before, but this recipe is definitely making me want to :)

  26. I just made lettuce wraps too! So yummy. I added TONS of water chestnuts too becuse those are my fave :)

  27. Robyn says:

    That’s how I feel about bay leaves, they’re so expensive hah. This recipe looks good!

  28. Arielle says:

    I did something similar with mushrooms. I don’t really like mushrooms but there have been times that I’ve had them in something and LOVED it, so I told myself I would buy mushrooms and find something AMAZING to put them in that would make me LOVE mushrooms. I found the perfect recipe. It was on Rachael Ray’s website and it’s a pasta to go with tilapia. You just cook up mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, garlic (fresh garlic – I was excited to use it. I grated it and that wasn’t fun but … kinda!) and mascarpone cheese. Also, bacon went in (cooked separate, then threw it in), and stirred in with bow tie pasta. It was sooo good. I’m having the leftovers tonight! :)

  29. Unbearably delicious! THese look like the perfect summer dinner and such zesty little wraps! Thanks for the perfect idea!

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy