This post is sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.
These Vegan Thai Lettuce Cups make a light and refreshing meal, loaded with fiber and plant-based protein from a hearty green split pea filling. They are a great way enjoy one of your half-cup servings of pulses this week!
If you’re not familiar with green split peas, they are a variety of pulse with over 16 grams of fiber per serving. Soluble fiber, like the kind found in legumes, is thought to regulate blood sugar levels and may help to lower LDL cholesterol, possibly reducing the risk for heart disease. Split peas also contain potassium, which may help lower blood pressure.
If you’re used to cooking other popular pulses, like red lentils, you should know that green split peas take slightly longer to cook. In fact, I’ve found that they take even longer to cook than their packaging states. Some say they will take 35 to 45 minutes of simmering to get tender, but for me it took closer to an hour for my green split peas to become tender. The preparation is a breeze, but you’ll have to plan on staying near your kitchen while this plant-based filling simmers away on the stove.
These vegetarian lettuce cups are naturally gluten-free when you use tamari, a gluten-free soy sauce, and you can make them soy-free by using coconut aminos, if you’d like to. This filling is ultra-simple, but so hearty and flavorful that no one will miss the meat in this vegan version. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Vegan Thai Lettuce Cups with Green Split Peas
Green Split Pea Filling
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion , chopped
- 2 carrots , chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 celery stalks , chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger , minced
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1/4 cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup green split peas
- 3 cups water
- 1 head butter lettuce
- shredded carrots , for garnish (optional)
- chopped fresh cilantro , for garnish (optional)
- fresh lime slices , for garnish (optional)
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large deep skillet over medium-high heat, and saute the onion, carrots, and celery until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the fresh ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant, about one more minute.
- Add in the tamari, maple syrup, split peas, and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, so that the mixture is still gently bubbling, and cover with a lid to simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the split peas are tender. (Packages say this takes up to 45 minutes, but it's always taken about an hour when I cook these at home.)
- Remove the lid and stir well to allow any remaining liquid absorb or evaporate. The filling should not be watery. Allow the filling to cool for at least 5 minutes before spooning it into butter lettuce leaves. I recommend using 2 layers of lettuce leaves per wrap to help make them sturdier.
- Garnish each wrap with shredded carrots, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired, and serve right away. Leftover filling can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Store the lettuce leaves separately to help prevent them from wilting.
Calories per serving: 269, Fat: 4g, Carbohydrates: 44g, Fiber: 14g, Protein: 14g
- If you don’t have green split peas on hand, I think another variety of pulse could probably work well in its place, particularly lentils or another small legume.
- Since the filling is made in the skillet, you can always taste as you go and adjust any seasonings as you see fit. As always, please leave a comment below letting us know if you make a modification, so we can all benefit from your experience.
Have you signed up for the Half Cup Habit?
This 4-week challenge encourages readers to add 1/2 cup serving of pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, or dry peas) to their diets three times a week. In other words, you simply have to eat 1 1/2 cups of cooked pulses a week. By participating, users will receive free recipes, pulses cooking tips and more.
Click here to join me in taking the Half-Cup Habit today!
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Disclosure: I developed this recipe as part of my ongoing sponsorship with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.
Questions and Reviews
This looks great! I’ma make it this week. I made the stuffed shells a couple times too, and it was awesome. My daughter loves it and the lentil chili and countless other Detoxinista creations. Meghan, you’re a goddess. Just about everything I cook comes from your books or your site. Thank you for everything!
Megan*… apologies for the misspell.
This looks amazing!! Always on the look for a no-meat dish to throw in the rotation. Since the peas take so long to cook, do you think this would work ok in the crockpot?
Very interesting recipe
Any chance that 3 cups of water is a typo? I’m making now (for over 1.25 hours at a rapid bubble/summer) and there is still a ton of water in the pan!
I looked on my split pea package and it says only 2 cups of water.
I followed recipe to a tee, but it came out like a soup. Cooked with lid on for 45 minutes then cooked another 40 and still was quite liquidy.
I’m so sorry to hear that! I posted this recipe 5 days after having a baby, so I’m wondering if there’s a typo that my sleep-deprived brain missed. I’ll retest it shortly! So sorry it didn’t work perfectly!
I read the comments and decided to go with 2 cups of water and it still came out soupy. 😩 I will say, however, the flavor is really good! I just rolled with it and poured it over some black rice with steamed broccoli and kimchi. It got me through my sadness of not having lettuce cups 😉
I made these tonight, and they were really good. However, when I cooked off the extra liquid, the filling came out more like a split pea paste. I’m not sure how you got yours to stay so intact; they’re much more visually appealing than mine were. Like I said though, they tasted very good – especially with the toppings you recommended. I’ll be giving them a whirl again. Thanks for the recipe. I never in a million years would’ve thought to do this with split peas!
This was amazing! I made the enchilada casserole for lunches this week, and made this for dinner. It smelled amazing while it was cooking, and it tastes better than I ever imagined- topped with shredded carrots and cilantro.
Alright let’s fix this recipe, because it has some potential. First off, don’t cook the split peas with everything else. You’re asking for trouble trying to pull that off. Instead, cook the split peas as you would alone, and then add them to the pan of veggies near the end. Otherwise, as I and other commenters can attest to, you’ll have a soupy liquid. I simmered for an hour, and then spent another hour turning the heat up and adding corn starch and still couldn’t get the right thickness and the split peas weren’t cooked fully (so they were a bit crunchy).
So there’s the first change. Cook the peas separately.
Next up: the ginger, garlic, tamari, and maple syrup make a fine flavor, but I think something is missing. I don’t know what, so we’ll all have to experiment and see, but I’m thinking maybe some coriander, cardamom, chili powder, or parsley might go a long way. That’s all for now.
I don’t know if this was updated elsewhere, but it looks like one cup of water does the trick. I cooked it with the lid on and just made sure everything laid flat. I also added water chestnuts and topped it on rice.It was good!!!
I’m excited to try this recipe tonight! I am curious though, could this be made in the instant pot or does the meal need the benefit of the slow simmer on the cooktop?
Well, I (we) did it again, Detoxinista (Megan Gilmore) 🍽 Thanks for making me look and taste good.
RECIPE EMBELLISHMENT: I didn’t have split green peas so I pulled 1/2 cups of cooked green lentils out of the freezer (omitting the 3cups of water), added a can of chopped water chestnuts for crunch, then topped each wrap with fresh shredded carrots, red cabbage and cucumbers…oh my yum 😋😋😋
The Thai lettuce cups are delicious. I would have them on rotation. The only charge I would make is leave out the syrup. To sweet for me. I also used coconut aminos instead of tamari. But I really enjoyed them. .