Asian Lettuce Wraps

Vegetarian Asian Lettuce Wraps
My 12-year-old daughter Eliza is somewhat of a PF Chang’s fanatic. To be honest, she will chow down on any type of Asian meal she can get her hands on, but lettuce wraps are her jam and according to her, PF Chang’s has the best. She relishes in the fact that she can order their meaty wraps and have the whole plate to herself. But chicken, gluten, and oyster sauce means a no-go for the rest of us. So when Kiersten challenged me to make a meatless version of lettuce wraps, I was both intrigued and a little terrified at the same time. Kiersten had no way of knowing that I live with a self-appointed lettuce wrap aficionado and when it comes to food I can always trust Eliza to give me honest feedback, even when it may be hard for me to hear.

Armed with Eliza’s help, I anxiously accepted the challenge. I stalked the internet, I hung out in the ethnic section of Whole Foods far too long, and then I came home and made my first attempt at lettuce wraps. On the Eliza rating scale, they were a “kind of like” not a “love,” so I went back and started over, picking apart what she liked and didn’t like about my failed attempt. Have you ever tried to have a 12-year-old girl old explain why they like or don’t like something when it comes to food? I assure you, it requires patience and lots of love!

Vegetarian Asian Lettuce Wrap Ingredients
While I was working on this recipe, we had lettuce wraps more times than I care to admit, until Eliza exclaimed that they were perfect, she wouldn’t change a thing, and may never have the need to order out for the PF Chang’s meaty version again. I could not believe it; my chicken-loving kid was actually opting for my veggie-filled version of lettuce wraps! I am pretty sure that a ray of sun broke through the cloudy sky and warmed me with its light at that very moment.*

*Ok, I may have a flair for the dramatic and that may be an embellishment, but it was a BIG deal!

Over the course of the next 24 hours, Eliza had lettuce wraps for breakfast, packed in her lunch for school, as an afternoon snack, and again at dinner that night! She pouted when the filling ran out and made me promise that these will be making a regular appearance in our house and her lunchbox.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making these lettuce wraps at home for yourself:

  • There is more prep involved in this recipe than actual cooking. It is very important to have all of the ingredients prepared and ready to go before heating your pan.
  • When you are chopping the ingredients for the filling, you want all of the pieces to be the same size. A bulky dice will only make your lettuce wraps hard to eat and instead of the flavors of the ingredients merging together, they will stand apart from one another.
  • I discarded the stem and gills from our portabella mushroom so that the intense earthy flavor that the gills lend was not overpowering the rest of the ingredients. This step is completely optional and up to you.
  • If you are a sauce fanatic, go ahead and make a double batch of my hoisin sauce because according to my daughter, extra sauce is essential!

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Asian Lettuce Wraps

These vegetarian lettuce wraps replace the meat with walnuts and portabella mushrooms.

Ingredients

    Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce
  • 1/4 cup tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free white miso (I used Cold Mountain Mellow White Miso)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • Filling
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 large portabella mushroom cap, stem and gills removed, diced small
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and diced small
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • Wraps + Garnish
  • 1 head of bibb, butter, or iceberg lettuce, leaves removed, washed, and thoroughly dried
  • Cooked sushi rice (optional)
  • 3 large carrots cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves or cilantro sprouts
  • 2-3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Instructions

    Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce
  1. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S-blade or a high-powered blender. Process until all of the ingredients are combined, but the sauce still has visible chunks of peanut in it. Set aside.
  2. Filling
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushroom to the pan; stir to combine and spread the filling out in an even layer so the veggies sauté instead of steam. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring once or twice and spreading the filling back out evenly each time. Add the minced ginger and hoisin sauce; stir to combine and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the water chestnuts, green onions, and raw walnuts to the pan and cook until the green onions begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  4. Assemble the Wraps
  5. Layer lettuce leaves with sushi rice (if using), a heaping spoon full of filling and top with carrot ribbons, cilantro, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Notes

If you are preparing the optional sushi rice for this meal 1 cup of uncooked rice will cook up to approximately 2 1/2 cups of cooked rice. Since I cook gluten-free for my family, I used a homemade hoisin sauce; a store-bought sauce should work too, but I haven't tested it myself.

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About Meg

Meg van der Kruik is the blogger, photographer, and recipe developer behind Beard & Bonnet, a gluten-free vegetarian blog that celebrates style, design, food, and family.   Read more from Meg →

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Comments

  1. Meg van der Kruik says

    Thanks Dixya! Those preteen food critics can be harsh, but when you finally nail a recipe they are the BEST cheerleaders. I hope you really enjoy the lettuce wraps!

      • Janine says

        Meg, these were PERFECT!! I doubled the recipe so to have leftovers. My husband and I LOVED each and every bite! This recipe will become on of my favorites! Thank you! : )

    • Meg van der Kruik says

      Thanks Becca! I am not big on fake meat either and soy just isn’t my friend so I opt for nuts in dishes like this a lot.

  2. says

    I love PF Chang’s lettuce wraps. Haven’t tried making them myself yet, but maybe I should. Thanks for doing all the leg work and figuring it out for me. Ha! I’ll have to count on my husband’s critique since I have no 12 year old. She may have been tough on you, but she helped you get it right. As long as I add chicken in his, he’ll love them.

    • Meg van der Kruik says

      Haha! Thanks Sylvia, she is the best food critic ever. She has a passion for cooking herself so it definitely makes time spent i the kitchen together fun. I hope your husband enjoys the lettuce wraps too:)

  3. Liz says

    The PF Chang’s out my way have always had a vegetarian version of the lettuce wraps made with tofu. Do they not have them were you are? I made them from scratch once using a baked tofu as the main ingredient and they turned out great, but so much work! Thanks for this recipe, looks interesting.

    • Meg van der Kruik says

      Hi Liz,

      Thanks, yes our PF Changs has a vegetarian version as well, but we need a vegetarian option without gluten and soy for all of us to be able to eat it.

  4. Michelle says

    Thank you for including a recipe for homemade hoisin sauce. I was noticing the ingredients on the one I have in the fridge and wasn’t too happy about them. I look forward to trying your recipes!

    • Meg van der Kruik says

      Awww, yay! I am so glad that you will use the recipe for the sauce. I love making my own sauces over store bought. They just taste so much better!

  5. Missy says

    I just made these exactly as the recipe says (although I didn’t make rice). Best new recipe I’ve tried this year. Will definitely be making this many times in the future! Thanks for such a fantastic recipe!

    • Meg van der Kruik says

      Missy, thank you so much for coming back and letting us know how they turned out! I am so happy that you liked them so much.

  6. Gloria says

    This recipe was wonderful! The portabella caps were so great in here with the hoisin sauce. Thank you for posting such a delicious recipe, my family and I really enjoyed it!

  7. says

    I’ve actually never been to P. F. Chang’s, but have heard so much about how well they treat their gluten-free customers that I’ve always meant to go. That said, as a vegetarian I haven’t been that excited by the vegetarian AND gluten-free options they offer—that seems to always be the rub at this kind of place. Anyway, this knockoff recipe looks delicious, even if I haven’t ever had the “real” thing.

  8. says

    We love any kind of lettuce wrap at our house — and I can’t wait to try this one out too. I am sharing this recipe in a meatless recipe round up tomorrow on my blog (with a link back and credit of course). Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

  9. Kristin says

    This recipe is SOOOOOOOO good. We’ve had it two nights in a row and I’ve posted the link on FB. BRAVA!!!!!

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