Vietnamese Beef Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber Relish

4.64 from 11 votes
1 hour
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Vietnamese Beef Lettuce Wraps with Rice Noodles and Cucumber Relish are a fun, festive and healthful summertime dinner for two.

Photo of Vietnamese Beef Lettuce Wraps with Rice Noodles and Cucumber Relish on white platter with all the accompaniments.

Spicy beef fills these Vietnamese-inspired wraps along with lots of fresh, crunchy vegetables.  The lettuce wraps are accompanied by a sweet-sour cucumber relish, rice noodles, fresh basil and cilantro, peanuts and a tangy soy-lime dipping sauce for a super flavorful summertime dinner!

All the elements for a satisfying meal are here:  Protein, lots of fresh, crunchy vegetables and starch in the form of rice noodles so no extra sides are needed.  Rice noodles cook extremely fast and you can purchase the shredded carrots.

Tips for handling fresh ginger:

There’s quite a bit of fresh ginger in this dish.  I’ve found grating ginger to be wasteful and time-consuming because so much can stay on the grater.

Instead, what I like to do is:

  • Peel and coarsely chop it.
  • Place it in a mini food processor with just enough water to create a puree.  The resulting puree is similar to prepared ginger products that are available in the produce section.
  • If you do it yourself using this method, you don’t have all the additives and it’s so much less expensive.
  • If you make too much puree, freeze the excess in a snack-size zipper-top bag or other small plastic containers.

Tips for making Vietnamese Beef Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber Relish:

Now, you may look at this recipe and say “Whoa, that’s going to take me all day!”  However, it comes together fairly quickly.

  • Because of the separate components, you and your loved one can easily share in the preparation.
  • Some of the things can be purchased such as the julienned carrots.
  • The filling for these lettuce wraps can also be made with tofu, ground chicken, turkey or pork.
  • Using wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce will make the beef lettuce wraps entirely gluten-free.

I make these wraps a lot for families with children.  Kids LOVE to play with their food and these wraps are great finger food they’ll love.


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Vietnamese Beef Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber Relish

4.64 from 11 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef's Kitchen
Vietnamese Beef Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber Relish are a fun, festive and healthful summertime dinner for two.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Beef
Cuisine Asian
Servings 2 -3
Calories 714 kcal


Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic - minced


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth - or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar - packed
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce - or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Cucumber Relish

  • 1 English cucumber - (hothouse) peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 scallions - white and light green part only, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar - or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Lettuce and Toppings

  • 6 large leaves Boston lettuce
  • 1 sprig fresh basil - thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 ounce rice noodles - prepared per package instructions and drained well
  • 1/2 cup peanuts - coarsely chopped
  • Lime wedges


Dipping Sauce

  • Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Divide into small bowls for each diner.


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and ginger 4-5 minutes or until softened
  • Add garlic and beef. Cook 4-5 minutes or until beef is browned and no longer pink, crumbling the beef into small pieces as you go. Drain well.
  • Stir in remaining filling ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally or until almost evaporated.

Cucumber Relish

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

To Assemble Lettuce and Topping

  • Spoon meat mixture onto lettuce leaves, top with basil, carrots, rice noodles, peanuts and lime wedges as desired. Roll up and serve with dipping sauce.


MAKE AHEAD:  Filling can be made ahead 1-2 days.  Cool and refrigerate.  Add 2-3 tablespoons water and reheat in a saucepan until heated through.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 714kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 3975mg | Potassium: 1631mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 7369IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 8mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.64 from 11 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Been making these for at least the last 5 years. A fantastic recipe. A bit time consuming with all the different bits going on but we’ll worth adding all the elements. I tend to use minced pork more than beef as I find it softer, but both work or even a mix is good. I also add fresh mint to the basil. But really I don’t stray from the recipe very much; it’s bang on except for one thing. I add a whole pile of Chinese 5 spice to the meat when cooking like a good 2 tablespoons, it just makes it next level.

    1. Hi, Emmet, Thanks so very much and so happy you love this recipe! That’s quite a bit of Chinese 5-spice so if anyone is considering adding it, perhaps start with a little. Thanks again and appreciate your taking the time to come back and comment!

  2. 5 stars
    This was great! The dipping sauce is a little unnecessary because the beef is so well seasoned.
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. This was a family favourite. We put a little of everything on our kids plates, and they loved being able to ditch the cutlery and use their fingers to make their dinner. The filling turned out quite salty but this was balanced out by the other ingredients. It was delicious!

    1. Hi, Tania, Thanks so very much and so glad everyone enjoyed! I do this recipe frequently for families and it’s great for kids because they can “play” with their food and not get reprimanded. You may want to try low-sodium soy sauce next time. Thanks again!

  4. The only thing I change is I use pork mince and I add Chinese 5 spice mix to the filling also–about a teaspoon. Game changer.

    1. Hi, Emmet, Thanks so much and so glad you enjoy these lettuce wraps. Yes, you can use ground chicken, turkey, pork or beef. I’ll have to try them with a little five-spice–interesting suggestion! Thanks again!

  5. 5 stars
    Excellent!!! The flavor and textures are incredible! One of best wraps ever, and I have tried different wraps over 20 years.

  6. Found this recipe and I can’t wait to try it! It looks awesome and sounds so interesting. Love the platter and how you have everything arranged!

  7. These are sooooo delicious! The dipping sauce alone is to die for. I wanted to bathe in it. 🙂 I make Asian chicken lettuce wraps all the time. Everyone in my family loves them, but I make them so often we’re getting a bit tired of them. Last night, I made these instead and they just might be our new favorite. Thanks for a great recipe!