Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps

This Banh Mi Lettuce Wrap Recipe is a healthier, low-carb, gluten-free version of the classic Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe.

Seared Banh Mi Pork is served in lettuce leaves with plenty of Vietnamese Pickled Veggies and Cilantro Rice for a light and refreshing meal. This can easily be adapted to be a Pork-Free or Vegetarian Banh Mi Lettuce Wrap.

lettuce wrap place setting

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Kevin and I were experimenting in the kitchen last summer and came up with this recipe for a lettuce wrap version of a Banh Mi Sandwich. We made it several times last summer and once this summer.

I was cleaning out my office last week and came across the scrap of paper that I had scribbled the recipe down on, so we made it last week for dinner once.

I figured it was time to get the recipe for these Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps up here before I lost the piece of paper again!

What is in a Banh Mi Sandwich?

A Banh Mi Sandwich is a Vietnamese Sandwich that typically consists of a baguette, pork, pickled vegetables (carrots and daikon), cilantro, chilis, and cucumber.

The baguette might look like your traditional French Baguette, however, the baguette for a Banh Mi Sandwich is made with a combination of wheat and rice flour, yielding a crackly crust with an airy interior crumb.

How Do You Make Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps?

I took some of the classic Banh Mi Sandwich elements and put them inside crispy iceberg lettuce leaves rather than bread for a fun twist on this classic sandwich. I love how light and refreshing these Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps are!

bowl of pickled vegetables

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Banh Mi Lettuce Wrap Ingredients

First, you’ll make the pickled vegetables. In my recipe I use a combination of carrot, daikon, cucumber, jalapeno, and red onion. Check our my recipe for How to Make Pickled Vegetables.

While the vegetables soak in the pickling brine, you can get started by preparing the pork marinade.

seared pork in a bowl

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How Do You Make Banh Mi Pork Marinade?

  • Liquid Aminos (which is similar to Soy Sauce, but less sodium)
  • Avocado Oil
  • Maple Syrup
  • Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Fish Sauce
  • Ginger
  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro

The quickest way to make the marinade is to toss all of the marinade ingredients in the blender or a small food chopper, then hit puree. Afterwards, pour the marinade into a gallon sized tip top bag with the strips of pork. Cut into thin strips, the pork will marinade really quickly, but you can let it marinade overnight if you want.

After marinading the pork, it will cook up quickly seared on high heat in a wok. Then, it’s time to assemble the lettuce wraps! Take a large lettuce leaf and put a spoonful of rice in, topped with a couple strips of the pork, and then a big scoop of the pickled veggies. That’s it!

What is the Best Type of Lettuce for Lettuce Wraps?

I prefer lettuce leaves that are rounded and cup-like, such as Butter Lettuce or Iceberg Lettuce.

My favorite for this recipe are iceberg lettuce leaves because I like the crunch. TIP: stack two lettuce leaves together for each lettuce wrap. You’ll get more crunch and the wrap will be sturdier!

Green Leaf and smaller variety Romaine Lettuce would also work well, but you can really use any lettuce you want except for mixed greens as they would be too small to fold with all of the fillings.

lettuce wrap on plate

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Can I make a Banh Mi without Pork?

Yes! There are multiple options to substitute for the meat in these Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps if you have dietary restrictions. Here are my recommendations:

If you are vegetarian or vegan, I would try preparing tofu with the marinade used for the pork, but omitting the fish sauce. I haven’t prepared tofu myself before, so I don’t have any recommendations for how to cook the tofu after you have marinaded it.

If you don’t consume pork but you consume other meats, I would definitely try this Banh Mi Lettuce Wrap with thin strips of chicken. Follow the recipe as is, simply substituting chicken for the pork. Make sure the chicken is cooked through all the way before serving.

If the only animal protein that you consume is seafood, I would try this recipe with shrimp. You can marinade the shrimp using the marinade listed in this recipe. Or, you can use this recipe for Lemongrass Shrimp Marinade. After marinading it you can grill it or you can stir fry it.

lettuce wrap on a platter

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Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps Make Ahead Tips

Do you like meal prep strategies? Here are a few ideas to make this recipe super quick to prepare the day you plan to eat it.

Marinade the Pork Ahead of Time

  1. Prepare the marinade ahead of time.
  2. Slice the Pork into thin strips.
  3. Add uncooked pork tenderloin strips and the marinade to a gallon sized freezer bag (or other freezer safe container).
  4. When ready to cook, thaw the pork in the bag with the marinade, then once thawed proceed with cooking. This works really well to make several batches ahead and freeze in individual recipe amounts.

Other Suggestions:

  • The Pickled Veggies can be made up to 3 days ahead of time.
  • Prepare the rice a day or two ahead and reheat.
  • Wash the lettuce leaves a day or two ahead of time. Store in a gallon sized zip top storage bag with a paper towel inside to help keep the lettuce fresh and crisp.

Extra Garnishes for Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps

To load up your Banh Mi lettuce wraps with extra garnishes, you might like some of these ideas:

  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Sriracha or Sriracha Mayo
  • Rice noodles if you prefer that to Jasmine rice
  • Extra Rice Vinegar for dipping
  • Extra Liquid Aminos/Coconut Aminos/Soy Sauce for dipping

Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps Substitutions

Commonly asked questions regarding substitutions in this recipe for Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps are as follows:

  • You may substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos for the liquid aminos. I prefer liquid aminos or coconut aminos to soy sauce due to the lower sodium content. The soy sauce alternatives both have plenty of flavor!
  • You may substitute another neutral, high smoke point oil for the avocado oil. I prefer avocado oil. Soybean oil would work as well.
  • Honey or Agave may be substituted for maple syrup
lettuce wraps on a platter

Click HERE to save this Banh Mi Lettuce Wrap Recipe to Pinterest!

More Asian Recipes to Try

Looking for some other recipes to try your hand at? Here are a few other favorite Asian inspired recipes. As always, check out the entire Recipe Index if you’re looking for something that you don’t see here!

Easy Chili Marmalade Baked Chicken is a sweet and spicy simple Asian inspired chicken recipe for dinner. Serve it with rice or quinoa and a side of your favorite veggies.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Beef is incredibly fast to prepare. You can make the broth in advance and after that it is just a matter of stirring things into the broth. The meat is sliced so thin that you just stir it into the hot broth and you can do the same with the mushrooms and snow peas.

This Chinese Beef and Broccoli will become a staple in your home. The sauce is simply perfect and gives an authentic flavor for a quick weeknight dinner.

You definitely have to try these Sesame Noodles. It is such a fast meal to prepare! They are even better if you can make them earlier in the day and allow the veggies and noodles to marinade in the sauce. For an extra time saving tip, purchase pre-cut matchstick carrots.

These Asian Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps are loaded with vegetables and lean protein, not to mention flavor. The addition of some jasmine rice is the perfect way to turn this delicious appetizer into a quick weeknight meal.

Have you ever had a Banh Mi Sandwich before?

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Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps

Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps

Yield: serves 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This Bahn Mi Lettuce Wrap Recipe is a healthier, low-carb, gluten-free version of the classic Bahn Mi Sandwich Recipe. Seared Bahn Mi Pork is served in lettuce leaves with plenty of Vietnamese Pickled Veggies and Cilantro Rice for a light and refreshing meal. This can easily be adapted to be a Pork-Free or Vegetarian Bahn Mi Lettuce Wrap.

Ingredients

For the Pork

  • 1 1/2 pounds Pork Tenderloin
  • 4 tablespoons Liquid Aminos*
  • 4 tablespoons Avocado Oil**
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup***
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Lemongrass, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

For the Wraps

  • 2 heads Iceberg Lettuce
  • Pickled Vegetables
  • 2 cups prepared Jasmine Rice
  • 3 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

Instructions

For the Pickled Vegetables

Prepare the vegetables according to the recipe: How to Make Pickled Vegetables

For the Pork

  1. Prepare the marinade by combining the liquid aminos, avocado oil, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, ginger, lemongrass, and garlic in the jar of a blender. Puree until well mixed. Alternatively, you can combine the marinade ingredients in a 2 cup sized or larger glass measuring cup and whisk to combine.
  2. Pour the marinade in a gallon sized zip top bag. Add the pork and marinade for 1 hour or up to overnight.
  3. When ready to cook, drain the pork from the marinade. Discard the marinade.
  4. Heat a wok over high heat. Cook the pork, working in batches so the pan doesn't become overcrowded until browned on either side and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes per side.

For the Wrap Assembly

  1. Take two large lettuce leaves and stack together.
  2. Then, place a spoonful of rice in the lettuce wrap, top the rice with a couple strips of the pork, and then a big scoop of the pickled veggies, and garnish with cilantro

Notes

Make Ahead Tips

Do you like meal prep strategies? Here are a few ideas to make this recipe super quick to prepare the day you plan to eat it.

  • Prepare the marinade ahead of time and freeze the uncooked pork tenderloin strips with the marinade in a gallon sized freezer bag (or other freezer safe container). When ready to cook, thaw the pork in the bag with the marinade, then once thawed proceed with cooking. This works really well to make several batches ahead and freeze in individual recipe amounts.
  • The Pickled Veggies can be made up to 3 days ahead of time.

Extra Garnishes

To load up your lettuce wraps with extra garnishes, you might like some of these ideas:

  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Sriracha or Sriracha Mayo
  • Rice noodles if you prefer that to Jasmine rice
  • Extra Rice Vinegar for dipping

Substitutions

*You may substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos for the liquid aminos.

**You may substitute another neutral, high smoke point oil for the avocado oil. I prefer avocado oil. Soybean oil would work as well.

***Honey or Agave may be substituted for maple syrup

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 360 Total Fat 14g Saturated Fat 3g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 10g Cholesterol 83mg Carbohydrates 24g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 5g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 34g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.