Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps with Crispy Onions and Garlic

Thank you Vanity Fair® Napkins for sponsoring this post. Take on everyday messes with Vanity Fair® Extra Absorbent Napkins!

Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps | Freckled Italian

I don’t know about you guys, but Rob and I very rarely eat at our dining room table. Now that Sophie eats three meals and some snacks, we’ll sit down at the table with her for breakfast and lunch, but since she goes to bed early, she eats dinner early, which means we usually do our own thing for dinner once she’s down.

I always thought when we moved out of our smaller apartments/townhouses and had more space for a table we might sit down for meals, but for the most part when it’s just us, we’re definitely couch diners (or stand-up-at-the-bar eaters). Every night I really look forward to enjoying a simple, but delicious, meal with Rob, catching up at the counter, or watching whatever show we happen to be binging at the time. So, I was excited for the opportunity to partner with Vanity Fair® Extra Absorbent Napkins to share an easy weeknight recipe that can be enjoyed from whatever room you choose!

Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps | Freckled Italian


  • 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • ¼ of a red onion, sliced thinly

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 pound of ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce (or more if you like it spicier)

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

  • A handful of shredded carrots

  • Half of a cucumber, diced

  • 2-3 tablespoons of rice vinegar

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 6-8 large leaves of lettuce (Romaine, green leaf, or whatever you prefer)


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Add crushed red pepper and continue to cook until onions and garlic start to get crispy and browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove from pan and set aside.

  2. Add the beef to the pan and cook for 7-8 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper and cook until beef is fully cooked and slightly crisp around the edges. Stir in soy sauce and garlic chili sauce. Remove from heat and add sesame oil. Stir once more to combine.

  3. In a separate bowl, toss carrots and cucumber in rice vinegar with a pinch of salt. Set aside until ready to serve.

  4. To assemble the lettuce wraps, arrange lettuce on serving plates and spoon beef onto leaves. Top with crispy onion and garlic, carrots, and cucumber. Garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy right away.

Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps with Crispy Onions and Garlic | Freckled Italian

You could substitute ground turkey for the beef or use shrimp, chicken, or thinly sliced steak for this recipe if it sounds better--it can also be made vegetarian if you used cubed tofu or sautéed mushrooms instead of beef! I love soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce together and it works well with a variety of toppings, making this an easy recipe to mix up however you like.

Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps | Freckled Italian

And back to this recipe’s sponsor--Vanity Fair® Extra Absorbent Napkins feel luxuriously heavy and can stand up to even a messy lettuce wrap on the couch! They also feel fancy enough for entertaining, which is great since one of my intentions for 2019 is to have friends over more often. Some of my favorite memories are not at the dining room table, but around a kitchen island or the coffee table--I love the thought of having friends gathered comfortably in the living room or around my kitchen peninsula  with their plates and drinks, enjoying an evening together. Thank you Vanity Fair® Napkins for helping make it happen!

Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps | Freckled Italian