Our family meal ideas are often inspired by what we have left over in the pantry or fridge at the end of the week. This week, leftover coconut milk, ground chicken and mushrooms were transformed into Coconut & Curry Chicken Lettuce Wraps. With the few days left in summer, I was craving something light and summery. In this recipe, bib lettuce is filled with a flavorful chicken & mushroom combo that is light in sodium, sugar and fat compared to a similar order from P.F Changs.

Leaning on leftover mushrooms enabled me to extend the serving size, (~extending $’s), punch up some plant-power, and boost the bone protective nutrient, vitamin D. With a recent stress fracture in my foot, I am upping my vitamin D and calcium intake. Light-exposed mushrooms are an excellent source of Vitamin D – a hard vitamin to come by naturally in food. While you can buy UV light exposed mushrooms, you can also let your ‘shrooms soak up the sun outside (even in winter) for one hour and generate close to your daily needs of D in one cup of mushrooms!

*Another food boosting cooking technique: Chop garlic & onions 10 minutes early.  This allows the garlic and onions time to activate and retain their disease-fighting phytochemicals. Without this resting period, the heat instantly deactivates health benefits.


Coconut & Curry Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Serves 6: 2 lettuce wraps per person with ~3 oz. of chicken/mushroom filling per wrap


  • 1-pound ground chicken (I also made this same recipe w/ 8 oz. tempeh)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T. low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar
  • ½ T. Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1-3 t. red curry powder (depending on how much curry flavor & heat you prefer)
  • ¼ cup light coconut milk
  • ½ squeezed lime
  • 1/8 t. dried ginger powder
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 head bib or butter lettuce leaves
  • 1 T. coconut oil or canola oil for cooking


*Chop garlic and onion and let rest for 10 minutes. Separate and wash lettuce leaves. Blot dry with paper towel.

Warm oil over medium heat in a sauté pan, and add ground chicken. Brown chicken for 3-5 minutes. After chicken has browned, add onion, garlic and mushrooms until onions have turned translucent and mushrooms have softened (about another 3 minutes).

Stir in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, molasses, red curry powder, coconut milk, lime juice, and ginger powder and let simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Add in sliced green onions for one more minute.

Serve ~3 oz. of meat/mushroom mixture in lettuce leaves with sirarcha sauce for an additional kick!

Spicy bonus: Did you know people who eat spicy foods live longer?!

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.