Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps taste like a restaurant-quality meal, but you can make them at home in less than 30 minutes! They are fresh, flavorful, and a great source of plant-based protein.
Why You’ll Love Them
They are convenient to make. Instead of relying on store-bought hoisin sauce, this recipe uses simple pantry ingredients to make a quick & flavorful alternative. Most of the effort involved is simply chopping a few veggies!
They are affordable. Tofu is one of the most affordable sources of protein around. Since you don’t have to cook it ahead of time, it also helps get dinner on the table faster.
They are healthy. With a combination of onion, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and crisp lettuce leaves, these vegan lettuce wraps are a great way to include more fiber & veggies in your life. If you’d like to add other veggies, like carrots, celery, or bell peppers, be sure to check the notes in the recipe below.
They are easy to customize. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you can swap them for any other chopped veggies you have on hand. The sauce goes well with practically anything! You can also replace the tofu with cooked lentils or black beans, if you prefer.
Ingredients You’ll Need
What’s in vegetarian lettuce wraps?
- Extra firm tofu
- Green onions
- Water chestnuts
- Homemade hoisin sauce
If you’re like me and don’t keep a bottle of hoisin sauce on hand, you can make your own by stirring together tamari (a gluten-free soy sauce), peanut butter, molasses, sriracha, and toasted sesame seed oil.
You can add a splash of rice vinegar or lime juice for a little acid, but I prefer to add that at the end, after tasting the final dish. It’s easy to customize and taste as you go!
How to Make Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
1. Saute the veggies.
Dice the onion and mushrooms into small pieces, so they will blend right in with the filling.
Then add a drizzle of olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat and add in the mushrooms, onion, and salt. Saute until they are tender, about 8 minutes.
Next, add in the garlic and ginger, and stir for one more minute, just until they smell fragrant.
2. Stir together the sauce.
While the veggies are cooking, you can use that time to stir together the sauce. Add the tamari, molasses, peanut butter, sriracha, and toasted sesame seed oil to a small bowl and whisk well.
The peanut butter won’t look totally smooth when mixed, but it will blend in well once you add it to the pan.
3. Add in the rest.
Once the veggies are tender, add in the crumbled tofu (just crumble it between your fingers from the block as you add it to the skillet), diced water chesnuts, and the prepared sauce.
Stir the mixture well, until the tofu looks well coated in the seasoning and is piping hot.
Taste the filling and make any adjustments to the flavor, as needed. You can add extra salt to make the flavor pop, or you can add a small splash of maple syrup, if you need to cut back on the saltiness or acid flavor.
Serve the filling warm, with lettuce leaves on the side and a sprinkle of green onions on top. You can also squeeze fresh lime juice on top just before eating them!
Common Questions & Substitutions
Which kind of lettuce works best? Butter lettuce has a nice velvety texture, but crisp romaine, bibb, boston lettuce, or iceberg lettuce will work here, too. You can even use cabbage leaves, if you don’t mind a more crunchy texture.
What is a good swap for mushrooms? I originally tested this recipe with a combination of 2 large chopped carrots and 3 chopped celery ribs. This option tastes just as delicious, but the veggies are much more visible in this case. (The mushrooms blend in better, so it looks like you’re serving “meat” with that version.) Feel free to try other veggies, too, such as riced cauliflower or chopped zucchini.
Can I make this soy-free? You can use coconut aminos instead of tamari or soy sauce, if you need a soy-free option. In that case, you’ll also need to swap the tofu for another protein option, like a can of rinsed & drained canned lentils. Coconut aminos are less salty in flavor, so you might need to compensate by adding more salt to the dish as you go.
Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion , diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms , roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger , minced
- 1 (16 oz) block extra-firm tofu
- 1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts , drained & chopped
- 2 green onions , chopped
- 1 head butter lettuce , for serving
- ¼ cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat, and add in the onion, mushrooms, and salt. Stir until the veggies soften, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger, and stir for 1 more minute.
- While the veggies are cooking, add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and whisk well. Set it aside.
- When the veggies are tender, crumble the block of tofu between your fingers as you add it to the skillet. Add in the water chestnuts and prepared sauce, too. Stir well, until the tofu looks well coated in the seasoning. Then stir in the green onions last. (You can reserve some for topping if you like, too.)
- Taste the mixture and adjust any flavors to taste. You can add more salt to boost the flavor, a squeeze of lime juice, or a splash of maple syrup, if the mixture is tasting too tart or salty. Then serve the filling warm in the butter lettuce leaves. Leftover filling can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you try these vegan lettuce wraps, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like them!