Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Wraps

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Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Wraps are a totally flavorful appetizer or lunch!

bulgogi beef lettuce wraps on a wooden cutting board

It’s a new year, a new decade, and it’s time to lighten up the eating, right? Lettuce wraps are a good way to begin the year. These lettuce wraps are full of thinly sliced steak that has been stir fried with a delicious sauce. I think they make a great lunch or dinner!

What is Bulgogi?

Bulgogi is grilled Korean beef or pork. It translates literally from Korean as “fire meat.” In recipes, it’s thinly sliced and marinated meat that is grilled over the fire. Pan cooking has become a popular way to prepare bulgogi. 

Seriously Good Salads cookbook

Seriously Good Salads

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This recipe for Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Wraps comes from a new book by Nicky Corbishley: Seriously Good Salads- Creative Flavor Combinations for Nutritious, Satisfying Meals. If you’re tired of the same old salads, this is a good book to explore. No sad salads here. 75 salad recipes are in this book, and they’re all packed with flavor, exciting toppings and delicious, homemade dressings. All of the salad recipes in the book are accompanied by photos!

Here are a few recipes in the book that I’ve bookmarked to try: Portuguese Chicken Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables, Hawaiian Salmon Salad, Baja Fish Taco Bowl, Fried Egg Breakfast Salad with Toasted Croutons, Burrata Salad Platter, Thai-Style Slaw with Peanut Dressing, Mediterranean Lentil Salad, Panzanella Salad with Goat Cheese Croutons, Orange Salad with Pistachios and Pomegranate and Creamy Chimichurri Dressing. Everything looks really delicious. I love to make salads for lunch, so I’ll be reaching for this book quite often. It’s a good addition to my cookbook shelf!

sauce for bulgogi beef in a glass bowl

How to make Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Wraps:

The first thing you’ll do is prepare the beef. To be able to cut the beef thinly, it’s easiest if it is slightly frozen (30 minutes in the freezer). Then the beef is combined with the wonderful, flavorful ingredients that make up the bulgogi marinade.

Bulgogi Marinade (shop the international food section of your local market):

  • soy sauce
  • gochujang paste (a red chile paste)
  • fresh ginger
  • brown sugar
  • mirin (Japanese sweet wine– substitution suggestions are included below)
  • garlic
  • ground pepper
  • grated apple
  • sesame oil

bulgogi beef on a white plate

After the beef has a chance to marinate for a few hours, it will be stir fried and then used to stuff the lettuce wraps.

bulgogi beef lettuce wraps laid out on a wooden cutting board

The lettuce wraps are stuffed with beef, carrot, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions and sesame seeds. 

Substitutions and variations:

  • add peanuts
  • if you don’t wish to buy a bottle of Mirin (Japanese sweet wine), you can substitute white wine and sugar (2 tablespoons of white wine plus 1 teaspoon of sugar)
  • If you have access to Asian pears, you can use an Asian pear in place of the apple

close up of beef lettuce wraps

To make these wraps more substantial, you can add a spoonful of cooked rice to each wrap. Totally optional, and geared to your preference. Enjoy!

Here are a few more beef recipes you might like to try:

bulgogi beef lettuce wraps on a wooden cutting board
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Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Wraps

A handheld salad perfect as an appetizer or lunch.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 387kcal
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword beef lettuce wraps, bulgogi beef, lettuce wraps

Ingredients

BULGOGI BEEF:

  • 2 medium (12 to 15-ounces total) sirloin steaks
  • 1 grated sweet apple (Jazz variety recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang paste
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

WRAPS:

  • 3 heads romaine or butter lettuce, leaves removed (washed and dried)
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/3 medium cucumber, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into small chunks
  • 3 whole green onions, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Instructions

PREPARE THE STEAK:

  • Place the steak in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up slightly, then slice thinly against the grain, using a sharp knife. Lightly freezing the meat will help you slice it more easily.
  • Place the sliced steak in a large bowl and add all the bulgogi ingredients except the vegetable oil. Mix together thoroughly, then cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
  • In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Scoop out the steak, using a slotted spoon to allow any excess sauce to drip off, then fry the steak in hot oil. Use tongs to separate the steak slices during cooking, and cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the steak from the heat.

ASSEMBLE THE WRAPS:

  • Place the lettuce, underside-up, on a large platter and fill with the bulgogi beef, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper and scallions. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 673mg | Potassium: 1691mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 44872IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 7mg
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