Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps

By Mary Clay Kline

“So what’s that, like, a lettuce taco?” my brother asked, questioning what I was about to put into my mouth.

I had to laugh. I’m not one to discriminate against tacos of any form — not even a lettuce taco.

That food I was about to devour was not a lettuce taco, though, I informed him. It was a gorgeous thai steak lettuce wrap, topped with cucumber, scallions, cilantro, avocado, and ginger vinaigrette, and I was thrilled about eating it. He shrugged his shoulders, obviously uninterested, and went about his business.

I admit I felt a little miffed. Then again, my creation was virtually a portable salad, and I couldn’t expect many teenage boys to rejoice over foods as such. But I knew what he didn’t.

I knew about the ribeye that had been marinating in soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. I knew it had been seared and cooked to a perfect medium rare, cooled, and thinly sliced. I knew about and savored the fresh herbs I’d picked from my family’s garden — the crunchy radishes, salty peanuts, and spicy serrano chiles that topped it all off.

The other fabulous reward about eating lettuce wraps — besides how delicious they taste — is that you leave room for other things. I’m a fries-with-my-salad gal.  I want sticky jasmine rice to accompany the fresh and light steak lettuce wraps. I’m into ice cream for after dinner. And cookies after the aforementioned ice cream. I love all of these things, lettuce tacos included, and it’s nice to have balance.

Thai Steak Marinade Ingredients

Serves 4

16 oz boneless ribeye steak

2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)

1 tsp fish sauce

1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated

1 garlic clove, minced

Juice of ½ a lime

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Ginger Vinaigrette Ingredients

1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated

⅓ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

Dash of soy sauce

Lettuce Wraps Ingredients

1 head Bibb lettuce

1 avocado, sliced

1 radish, thinly sliced

½ cucumber, thinly sliced

1 scallion, thinly sliced

3-4 Tablespoons peanuts, crushed


Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps Cooking Directions
  1. Combine marinade ingredients. Place steak in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over it.  Marinate for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sear steak on both sides and cook until desired internal temperature is reached. Wait 10 minutes before slicing.

  3. Combine ginger vinaigrette ingredients to make vinaigrette.

  4. Using 1 to 3 lettuce leaves as the wrap, place steak and toppings inside. Serve with rice or alone.

Photo by Mary Clay Kline.