These pineapple chicken lettuce cups are a nutritious spin on the classic Chinese takeout dish.
My boys are taco-obsessed but not just the Mexican variety! Whether it’s my beef shawarma wrapped in a pita, shredded pork stuffed in a corn tortilla or shrimp and broccoli wrapped in Nori seaweed, they are all about any dish served in taco-form.
Most recently I decided to create a nutritious version of the Chinese take-out classic: pineapple chicken. Instead of the fast-food version which is laden with excess fat and calories and served over white rice, my version takes a lighter approach using non-breaded chicken. For natural sweetness, I use the fruit and juice of Dole® Fridge Pack Pineapple Chunks.
To make it even easier for littles to eat (and way more fun!), I serve them in Bibb lettuce cups creating an easy, hand-held way to enjoy this flavorful stir-fry.
To create this dish, you start by sauteing red peppers and onions until tender. Calorie Saving Tip: Instead of using canola oil to saute the veggies at the beginning of the recipe, I use cooking spray which has less than 5 calories. Then, for added flavor and healthy fats, I whisk in fragrant, toasted sesame oil to the marinade later in the recipe. Little swaps like this when cooking at home can add up to a lot of saved calories over the course of a week.
What type of chicken do you use for Chinese stir-fry?
Whether you use boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts is completely up to you. Use whatever is on sale or whatever you have on hand in your refrigerator. In general, chicken thighs have a bit more flavor than their lean chicken breasts counterpart but either work.
What goes into a stir-fry marinade?
The secret to a balanced, flavorful Asian stir-fry is a well-balanced mix of salty, sour, sweet and spicy ingredients. For this pineapple chicken recipe, I whisk together soy (salty), rice vinegar (sour), 100% pineapple juice reserved from the Dole Fridge Pack Pineapple Chunks (sweet) and chili paste (spicy).
One of the reasons I love using Dole’s new Fridge Pack Pineapple Chunks is because they are packed in 100% pineapple juice. Whether it’s a smoothie, a muffin, or a stir-fry, I always prefer to add sweetness from ingredients like fruit as opposed to processed sugar like corn syrup or white sugar.
What is a good garnish with lettuce cups?
Before serving, I love to garnish the lettuce cups with scallions and sesame seeds. Other optional garnishes that would work well include minced cilantro, lime juice or chopped peanuts.
When you’re done making these lettuce cups, simply snap, stack and store the remaining pineapple chunks in the refrigerator until next time. What’s even better? All varieties of Dole Fridge Packs are gluten-free, rich in Vitamin C, Non-GMO, and the clear packaging is BPA-Free.
Can chicken be swapped for other proteins?
Absolutely! This recipe is more of a basic guideline than a strict recipe you must follow line by line. Want to use shrimp instead of chicken? Go right ahead! Want to keep it vegetarian? Add more veggies and skip the meat. Don’t like peppers? Swap them for green beans! The best part about cooking is making it your own and having fun in the kitchen.
No forks required.
Pineapple Chicken Lettuce Cups
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut in ½ inch pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Dole Fridge Pack pineapple chunk
- 12 bibb lettuce leaves for serving
- sesame seeds and minced scallions optional garnish
- 2 tablespoons pineapple juice reserved from Dole Fridge Pack Pineapple Chunks
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon chili paste optional
- Pre-heat a large, deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray and add onions, peppers plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sauté until tender, about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add diced chicken to the pan along with another pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until chicken is browned, about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While chicken is cooking, whisk together the stir-fry marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
- Once the chicken is browned, add the pineapple chunks to the pan along with the stir-fry marinade. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce to low and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5-6 minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serve in lettuce cups and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions if you wish.
Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with Dole. All thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible.
Check out more healthy and easy dinner recipes on my Pinterest board!