chicken lettuce cups

Quick and Easy Chicken Lettuce Cups

These days, food that is flexible is simply a must. Between juggling home life and work life and 24/7 Covid kitchens we could all use a few shortcuts! I was recently featured on Great Day Houston and I shared these succulent chicken lettuce cups. Don’t be shy about cheating a lot by buying the chicken and the pesto and using frozen mango for the salsa. You’ll slash prep time in half, eliminate the cooking element and still have the perfect healthy bite on the table. These lettuce cups are yummy year round and in the colder months you can serve the chicken hot!


Full recipes below.

Chicken Lettuce Cups with Mango Salsa and Cilantro Pesto

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Grated lime zest from two limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One head of butter lettuce
  • 1 cup mango salsa see recipe
  • 1/2 cup cilantro pesto see recipe


  1. In a medium bowl, mix garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, mustard, lemon and orange juices, zest, salt and pepper.
  2. Pour marinade over the chicken and let sit one hour, or overnight if desired.
  3. Preheat grill. Remove chicken from marinade.
  4. Grill chicken for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through and center is no longer pink. Set aside and cool.
  5. Meanwhile prepare your salsa and pesto. When the chicken has cooled, slice into desired bite size strips.
  6. To assemble: Set a large platter up and arrange individual butter lettuce leaves side by side. Place a few slices of chicken on each lettuce leaf. Top with a spoonful of salsa and a drizzle of pesto.

Recipe Notes

I like to marinate my chicken the night before I cook. If you’ve run out of time, marinate at least a few hours, chilled.

CHEAT A LITTLE! Forgo the chicken marinating and cooking option and use store bought cubed chicken.

Get my mango salsa recipe here.

Who doesn’t love a good sweet and spicy pairing? Flexible tip: if mangoes are out of season (or you just don’t want to deal with cutting them) frozen mangoes are a perfectly flexible alternative.

Get my cilantro pesto recipe here.

This Italian favorite is one of the kings of my kitchen: it’s a dip, a sauce and a dressing — perfecto! Cilantro pesto adds flavor and color to virtually anything it lands on, jazzing up almost any recipe.

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