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Appetizers/ Entrees/ Make It Meatless/ Recipes/ Snacks/ vegetarian recipes

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Make it Meatless: 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

Make it Meatless: Lettuce Wraps

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

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


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


  • 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
  • 23 tablespoons black sesame seeds


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.


  1. 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.

Assemble the Wraps

  1. 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.


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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  • Reply
    Plick Plickerson
    July 23, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    So do you actually have a gluten allergy, or are you just doing it because “gluten free” is the latest fad?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      July 23, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      Meg’s son has a gluten allergy, so she chooses to cook gluten-free in her household. Just because people jump on the gluten-free fad doesn’t mean that everyone who eats gluten-free has no reason to do so.

  • Reply
    Jennifer D
    July 31, 2014 at 1:09 am

    I absolutely love lettuce wraps (vegetarian and not) and these sound amazing. I’m so excited to try them! And I’ll definitely be making the extra sauce. 🙂

  • Reply
    Arlene Bradford
    August 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I just made this recipe tonight for my family and it is absolutely delicious! There are NO leftovers. I did substitute Agave Nectar for the honey. I tasted the sauce and it was bit too salty for my taste, so I added more Agave Nectar, rice wine vinegar and Siracha sauce until it tasted more balanced. I did not have the gluten free varieties so there was probably more sodium in my ingredients. Kudos to you and your daughter for creating such a delicious recipe. My husband said that it tasted like we were eating at P. F. Chang’s, which is the ultimate compliment. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    We made this last night and it was absolutely amazing! Thank you!!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Made these last night, we loved them! Prepping does take time, but cook time makes up for it! Thank you for the recipe! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 8, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Made this last night!! It was FANTASTIC!! This is now a go to recipe!!!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for creating and posting the great recipe. Made it last night (after craving the P.F. Chang’s vegetarian lettuce wraps all day). It came out great! Much appreciated! Going to have some leftovers for lunch now…

  • Reply
    March 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Hey I was curious, it says 4 servings, but what is a serving? one lettuce wrap per serving? I am using this for a school project.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      March 24, 2015 at 10:11 am

      It depends on the size of the lettuce leaves you use – the filling serves about 4 people, but bigger lettuce leaves will mean you have fewer wraps and smaller lettuce leaves means you’ll have more.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    I made these tonight and everyone loved them. I did use store bought hoisin and it was good, but I really want to try your sauce. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I added a few things to the homemade hoisin to give an umami boost and balance out some of the sodium from the tamari & sriracha. I’m sorry I neglected to measure! It was done to-taste but what I added was:

    -bourbon barrel aged fish sauce
    -tomato paste
    -ginger (to the hoisin rather than to the veggies)
    -extra garlic clove (pressed not minced for stronger flavor)
    -mirin, hondashi
    -a small dollop of tahini
    -and a small splash of pomegranate reduction actually worked quite well to round out the sweetness in the sauce from the honey (I used manuka, which isn’t as sweet as some).

    My biggest tweak, though, was to add roughly 1 tablespoon of chili powder to vegetable mixture. Togarishi or Chinese Five Spice would probably work very well, too. I made a double batch and withheld the garlic from half of the mixture so I can freeze it (will just add it after defrosting for a quick wok dinner some night 🙂 Thanks again!!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I tried the hoisin sauce today – the flavor was amazing but way salty. and it makes very little. i will def do this hoisin sauce again but will find a way to ease up on the saltiness and at least double the sauce. VERY yummy – great flavor.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Making these for the third time tonight, ( made on different nights) and they are AWESOME! Great recipe and gluten free ! Yay thank you.

  • Reply
    January 26, 2016 at 1:05 am

    So delicious! I made with brown sugar instead of honey, vermicilli instead of rice and cold cucumber, tomato and coriander as the filling. I didn’t know what sriracha was and was too hungry to google so I used two shakes of Chinese 5spice and added 1.5tbl spoons of Kaitaia Fire for heat. Best recipe ever so thanks for all your road testing!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Oh this is so delicious!! I just made this for lunch today. My fiance and I ate the whole batch. I did not have miso (I omitted completely) and I had to sub toasted sunflower seeds for the sesame seeds. Still turned out absolutely fabulous! Thank you!!

  • Reply
    December 30, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I was wondering if you can suggest how to incorporate tofu into this recipe

  • Reply
    April 3, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Very yummy! Substituted celery since I had no water chestnuts. Will make again but will probably double everything as we had no leftovers. To lower the fat, I did not add any of the oil – just sauteed in water and skipped the sesame oil.

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