Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps


I am a sucker for good rice.

I’ve gone gaga the last couple of years for nutty, chewy brown rice, and that’s always my first choice. Besides jasmine rice (um, yum), it has so much more flavor than regular old white rice.


When DailyBuzz Food put out a Tastemaker program call for people to make something using RiceSelect rice, I signed up as fast as I could! I first tried RiceSelect after winning some from Julie, and I have been addicted ever since. It cooks beautifully, has incredible texture, and the texmati rice smells insanely good while it’s cooking.


The most exciting part about this challenge was that we had no idea what rice we were being sent! Would I end up with jasmine rice and make a crazy new curry? A royal blend that would be thrown into a fall-themed rice stuffing? Or, my favorite, the brown texmati?

I was super happy to see my very very favorite – the brown Texmati – show up on my doorstep last week and couldn’t wait to try a new recipe I’d been waiting to make.


On the menu? Build your own Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps!

I’ve had lettuce wraps at restaurants and see recipes for them everywhere, but we had never made our own. I’m not sure why because they are one of the easiest – and most fun – meals you can make at home.

These are great for parties with lots of guests or when you’re eating at home with just a handful of people. As long as you have the herbs and enough lettuce, you can make as much rice and beef as you need and it’s easy to double or triple the amounts.

Plus, a meal like this is fun because everyone gets involved in making their own plate. You may want everything just piled on that rice, and that’s just as good as making them into lettuce wraps. Putting everything on the table or counter where people can make their own meal keeps the food at the center.

Plus, you know there’s always someone who doesn’t like cilantro. I’ll take all your cilantro off your hands, thankyouverymuch.


The beef is spiced with hot chili sauce, a punch of fresh lime, and a salty kick from the fish sauce, giving you that typical Thai flavor to go with all the fresh cilantro and basil.

We like it spicy around here, so I also steamed some green beans on the side and tossed them with garlic oil and hot chili sauce.

To serve as the base of the wraps – and a killer side dish – I cooked the Texmati brown rice in water and salt and stirred in some coconut oil, fresh lime zest, and lime juice while it was still hot. The sweet and zesty rice was perfect with the spicy beef and green beans. It was so good I went back for seconds on just the rice!

And… I may have finished off the rice one morning for breakfast, too.


Want a fun dinner that’s just a little bit messy? These lettuce wraps are waiting to be made.

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Makes: 4-6 servings


  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 and 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lime zest
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1-2 tsps hot chili sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh lime zest
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • butter or boston lettuce leaves, separated and washed


  1. Mix the rice, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and let the rice simmer for 40-50 minutes, until the rice is tender. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit, still covered, for another 5-10 minutes before serving.
  2. While the rice is cooking, drop the coconut oil into a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is melted, crumble in the ground beef. Let the beef brown on the bottom, then start moving it around the pan so that is browns on all sides.
  3. When the beef is about halfway cooked, toss in the garlic clove and diced red onion. Cook the mixture until the onions have softened and the beef is cooked through.
  4. Stir the fish sauce, hot chili sauce, lime zest, and lime juice into the ground beef and let it cook, on low, for 3-5 minutes until the liquids have been absorbed into the meat.
  5. Take the skillet off the heat and get the rest of the toppings and fillings ready.
  6. Chop the cilantro and basil and wash and separate the lettuce leaves.
  7. Stir 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp lime zest, and 1 tsp lime juice into the hot rice.
  8. To make your wraps, fill each lettuce leaf with some of the rice, beef, fresh basil and cilantro, and extra hot chili sauce, if you like it spicy.

This post is brought to you by Rice Select.

17 Responses to “Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps”

  1. #
    j3nn — October 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I adore lettuce wraps! I haven’t been brave enough to do Thai at home but this seems easy enough. Boston lettuce cups are my fav! I also like that you paired this with green beans. Love them with everything!

    • admin replied: — October 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 am

      we love them, too! so easy.

  2. #
    Cassie — October 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I love lettuce wraps, these flavors are some of my favorites!

  3. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — October 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Mmmm…love these Thai flavors! I need more lettuce wraps in my life soon! :)

  4. #
    Caroly Versteeg — October 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    We need a button on the website to print just the recipe so that I don’t have to copy and paste.

    • admin replied: — October 1st, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      HI Caroly – there is a print button at the bottom of the post that will put into a more print-friendly setup for you. Thanks!

  5. #
    Caroly Versteeg — October 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    We need a button to print just the recipe and not the extraneous stuff.

    • admin replied: — October 1st, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      I’m working on it – I promise! Thanks for the note.

  6. #
    Veronica Lambert — October 2, 2012 at 12:23 am

    These sound AHHMazing!!! I’m going to have to try these out ASAP!!!

  7. #
    Leslie — October 2, 2012 at 1:26 am

    ohhh, I love Rice Select Brand Rice!!!!!!!!!! Love your wraps too!

  8. #
    Rebecca — October 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    This is my go-to rice! I love this recipe, can’t wait to try it. It would go great with some Jasmine tea!

  9. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — October 10, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I am always on the hunt for good brown rice – thanks for the tip!! We use a lot of sushi grade brown rice currently. I’m like you, I love good rice. ;-)

  10. #
    Maria — October 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Forget waisting time on the printing issue……post more recipes! I saw you on the Oz show and am hooked… are truly amazing. Simple, yet well versed in the subject of what is good! This recipe will be tried out asap!

    • Maria replied: — October 11th, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      the printing comment was a joke btw….that would be great too :)
      Just expressing my excitment on my new find…your blog

      • admin replied: — October 19th, 2012 at 1:06 am

        ha! thanks Maria!!

  11. #
    Jody McLaughlin — August 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    What would recommend as a substitute for fish sauce?

    • Brandi replied: — August 20th, 2013 at 1:31 am

      Hi Jody! If you don’t have/like fish sauce, I’d use a little bit of soy sauce – it’ll give you a similar flavor and the saltiness you want in the dish. Hope you like it!

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