Chinese New Year turkey lettuce cups

Chinese New Year turkey lettuce cups

Gung hay fat choy! Chinese New Year is a holiday rich with tradition, centered around family and food.

Chinese New Year’s Eve is a particularly special day, as families come together for a big feast, comparable to a Thanksgiving dinner. Most dishes served during Chinese New Year are symbolic of good things one wishes for in the new year. For example, eggs and seeds symbolize fertility, noodles represent longevity, and fish signifies abundance because the Chinese word for “fish” is a homonym for “surplus.”

For this recipe, we’re making lettuce cups, which represent prosperity. (The Chinese word for lettuce sounds like “rising fortune.”) This recipe is flexible; feel free to substitute turkey for another protein, or add different vegetables if you'd like.

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 head of butter lettuce (or iceberg if you prefer)
  • 2 medium sized zucchinis (can also add bell peppers or other veggies if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or fresh garlic if you have it)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • Salt and pepper and/or soy sauce to taste
  • Shredded carrots and green onions (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Rinse lettuce and pull off several whole leaves, preparing the lettuce cups. 
  2. Heat large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and sesame oil (if you want to kick up the Asian flavor a bit more, you can use 3 tablespoons of sesame oil and eliminate the olive oil). 
  3. Once heated, brown ground turkey, without cooking all the way through (about 4 minutes). 
  4. Once turkey is slightly browned, add vegetables of your choosing – zucchini and bell peppers work great! 
  5. Add garlic powder, chili powder and hoisin sauce, and stir occasionally until turkey and vegetables are cooked through. 
  6. Add salt and pepper and/or soy sauce to taste. 
  7. Spoon into lettuce cups and enjoy! 
  8. Garnish with shredded carrots and green onions if desired.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 240
  • Total fat: 12 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 45 mg
  • Sodium: 140 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Total sugars: 3 g
  • Protein: 30 g