I must admit… I’ve never had cashew chicken at a Chinese restaurant so I don’t know what it’s “supposed” to taste like. I saw a lot of pictures of cashew chicken going around Pinterest, and they looked good. Rather than clicking on the link to discover the recipe probably called for a can of soda, I decided to experiment and create my own cashew chicken recipe.
This is one of the few recipes that I’ve liked on the first try. The flavors blend really well together with the yummy garlic, ginger, and touch of sweetness from the maple syrup. And the lettuce as a wrap is the perfect crispy complement to the sweet and savory chicken.
This recipe has quickly become a family favorite at our house!
Chicken Stir Fry in a Wrap
We do a lot of stir-fries because they’re an easy and healthy weeknight meal. This recipe is similar to a stir fry, except it’s a handheld version (kind of like a taco). If you’re used to the Chinese takeout version, you’ll notice a few differences in this recipe. The best cashew chicken starts with real food ingredients!
Instead of a premade oyster sauce or hoisin sauce, we’re making our own garlic sauce here. Instead of low-sodium soy sauce, I like to use tamari or coconut aminos as the base. They have the same flavor but without the soy. And instead of starting off with vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet, I opt for coconut oil.
If you can’t find bibb lettuce then iceberg, romaine, or another leaf lettuce will work. I like the buttery crunch of bibb lettuce and feel like it holds up nicely for a makeshift wrap.
I frequently use boneless skinless chicken breasts in recipes like this. I usually have some on hand and they’re a quick and easy protein source. Chicken thighs are also a good option and have a juicier flavor thanks to their fat content.
You can likely find organic chicken at your local grocery store, but I usually find pasture-raised meat options are cheaper from local farmers. If you don’t have a good farmer’s market in your area then there are healthy online options that will ship the meat right to your door!
Most cashew chicken recipes call for breading the chicken first before you saute it. I haven’t found this step necessary. It’s faster to skip the breading since I don’t have to cook the chicken in batches this way. And it’s an easy way to skip out on unhealthy grains.
Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wrap Recipe
A homemade take on take-out cashew chicken that’s served as a lettuce wrap for a light and refreshing meal.
- 2 TBSP butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 lb chicken breasts (or thighs, diced)
- ½ cup cashews
- 4 large leaves bibb lettuce
In a large skillet or wok, melt the butter or coconut oil over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring frequently until cooked through.
Add the sauce ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and stir together.
When the chicken is cooked add the sauce to the skillet.
Cook and stir over medium heat and allow the sauce to thicken.
Once the sauce is thickened, stir in the cashews.
Let the finished cashew chicken cool slightly and serve in lettuce leaves.
Garnish with scallions or green onions if desired.
Calories: 356kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 30gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 1009mgPotassium: 687mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 706IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 2mg
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Ever made cashew chicken? Do you like lettuce wraps? Share below!