Lettuce wraps. We know them, we love them, we have to have them in the summer! This is a new wrap recipe for our family catalog. We love meatballs and love jerk seasoning ~ seemed like a no-brainer since we had all the ingredients on hand. We used Penzy’s Jerk Seasoning spice blend and added fresh garlic, cilantro and sweet onion to enhance the flavors even more. The wraps come together really quickly, particularly if you have your lettuce prepped and your salsa made a bit ahead of time. All these ingredients make for a really good rice bowl as well. See Cook’s Notes for this idea.

Makes 4-6 portions


FOR THE GRILLED PINEAPPLE SALSA (make at least 2 hours ahead of assembly for best flavor)

  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled and cut into strips
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 C cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 C organic red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 head leaf lettuce (or butter lettuce or romaine), washed & dried
  • Slices of lime for service
  • Additional hot sauce (optional)


  • 2 C jasmine rice (or long grain white rice), rinsed
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2-1/4 C water
  • 3 T dried or fresh shaved coconut
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt


  • 2 lbs organic ground chicken
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced (plus more for sauce)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced (plus more for sauce)
  • 5 T Penzy’s Jerk Seasoning (or you can use jerk paste)
  • 1/3 C cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 T Kosher salt


  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1 T water
  • 1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 C diced sweet onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 T minced jalapeno
  • 3/4 C pineapple juice
  • 1/2 C fresh pineapple, diced (plus more for salsa)
  • 1/4 C organic ketchup
  • 1 T Worcestershire
  • 1/4 C brown sugar (or honey)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
On a grill on high heat (or grill pan on stove top), grill pineapple strips on all sides. About 3 minutes per side. Set aside to cool and then dice. In a medium size mixing bowl, add diced pineapple, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, red bell pepper strips, lime juice and salt. Toss well and put in fridge until ready to assemble. Prep lettuce leaves and slice limes for service and keep in fridge until assembly.
In a medium sauce pan on medium high heat, add coconut oil and melt. Add rinsed rice, water and salt. Cover and bring to a boil then turn off heat. Keep covered for 10 minutes. Once cooked, cool in a mixing bowl. Set aside until ready for assembly.
In a large mixing bowl, add ground chicken, onion, garlic, egg, jerk seasoning, cilantro, salt & pepper. Mix until well incorporated. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Form the meat into approximately 1-1/2 inch balls. Place on parchment lined sheet pan and roast for 12-15 minutes until slightly caramelized. When cooked, set aside until pineapple sauce is done. While the meatballs cook, make your sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water. In a medium size sauce pan on medium heat, add olive oil, onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook for approximately 4 minutes, making sure not to burn garlic. Add pineapple juice, diced pineapple, brown sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low heat. Add in corn starch slurry. With an emersion blender, carefully blend all ingredients until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Adjust seasoning as needed. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and toss so to completely coat. If serving hot, you can cover meatballs in sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. If serving at room temp or chilled, you can simply coat meatballs, take off heat and set aside until assembly.
For assembly, place two lettuce leaves on each plate. Add equal amounts of rice per leaf (approximately 1/3 cup). Top with two meatballs (we found it easier to wrap and eat by breaking our meatballs in half – but for the sake of the amateur photo, I left them whole). Top with salsa and squeezes of lime — and additional hot sauce if you’re up for it!


  • All these ingredients make for a really good rice bowl too! Instead of whole leaves, simply chop lettuce and assemble bowls in layers beginning with rice, then meatballs, then lettuce and finish with salsa.
  • Because these ingredients are a little heavy for lettuce wraps, you definitely want to use a hearty lettuce. OR you can make the wrap foundation a flatbread or flour tortilla. Keep the lettuce, but lay it on top of the flatbread and assembly everything else the same.
  • The next time we make these, we are making smaller balls. It’s easy for eating, particularly for little people.