One of my first favorite vegetarian-friendly restaurant dishes was P.F. Chang’s vegetarian lettuce wraps. I remember dining with my family, ordering these as an appetizer, realizing their glory and trying to hoard them all for myself! One aspect of transitioning to a plant-based diet is realizing that the traditional composition of meals is very meat-centric. If a dish doesn’t contain meat, it’s considered a “side.” Well aren’t the sides the best part? I certainly think so! Think of BBQ sides like potato salad, coleslaw, bean salad, baked beans, or Thanksgiving sides like sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, etc. Which dishes send you back for seconds?
The beauty behind plant-based dishes, is that most of them would be called sides in a meat-centric world! When turned plant-based, these nutrient-packed and completely main-dish-worthy meals will make you completely forget about the meat. These Sweet & Spicy lettuce wraps do just that – forget that meat was ever meant to be involved.
You can find several lettuce-wrap recipes online, and they can be easily tweaked depending on what ingredients you have. I improvised this recipe using inspiration from other recipes, and what I had on hand. I used both tofu and portobello mushrooms as the protein, but you could certainly use one or the other. These protein-packed wraps are sweet, savory, spicy, crunchy, and addicting! They are sure to be enjoyed by vegans and carnivores alike.
Sweet & Spicy Lettuce Wraps
Time: 30 minutes
- 1 head iceberg lettuce
- 2 portobello mushrooms (though any mushroom will do), finely chopped
- 1-12 oz package of tofu, crumbled (I used Trader Joe’s teriyaki tofu, but any firm sprouted tofu will work just fine. Make sure you press out as much liquid as possible. If not using the Teriyaki tofu, you may need to add more hoisin sauce).
- 1/2 onion
- 2 small carrots, peeled and grated (optional)
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 3/4 inch of fresh ginger root, grated
- 2 small cans of water chestnuts, chopped
- Hoisin sauce – 1-2 Tbsp
- Sriracha – to taste (optional)
- 1 Tbsp organic Tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- Saute onion, garlic, mushrooms, and tofu in olive oil or vegetable stock (if avoiding oil)
- Add ginger, grated carrots, and water chestnuts, mix well
- Add hoisin, tamari, rice wine vinegar and Sriracha
- Prepare iceberg lettuce cups (cut off the bottom end and begin peeling back lettuce cups)
- Spoon mixture into lettuce cups and drizzle with hoisin sauce.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. Leftovers can be deconstructed into a salad by chopping the remaining lettuce and topping with warmed mushroom mixture and Hoisin sauce!