Vegan Thai Lettuce Cups with Green Split Peas

This post is sponsored by USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.

vegetarian copycat PF Chang's lettuce wraps on a white plate

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.

green split peas on a white background

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 on a white plate with butter lettuce leaves

4 from 4 votes
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Vegan Thai Lettuce Cups with Green Split Peas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 

These vegetarian Thai lettuce cups taste like the popular version from PF Chang's, but they feature a tender green split pea filling loaded with plant-based protein.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Calories: 269 kcal
Ingredients
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
For Serving:
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • shredded carrots , for garnish (optional)
  • chopped fresh cilantro , for garnish (optional)
  • fresh lime slices , for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Add in the fresh ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant, about one more minute.

  3. 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.)
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Substitution Notes:

  • 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.

hand holding a Thai lettuce wrap full of split pea filling

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!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to cook with pulses?

Disclosure: I developed this recipe as part of my ongoing sponsorship with USA Pulses and Pulse Canada.

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Comments

Annie

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!

    Annie

    Megan*… apologies for the misspell.

Ludivine

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?

Vladi

Very interesting recipe

Candace

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.

Tina

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.

    Megan Gilmore

    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!

Shannon Leopold

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 😉

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