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Appetizers/ Recipes/ Vegan

Tofu Larb Lettuce Wraps

Tofu Larb Lettuce Wraps

Eating vegetarian might seem limiting to some but I’ve found that’s actually not the case at all. In fact it wasn’t until I gave up eating meat that I started to incorporate a wide variety of foods into my diet.

Having to think of a meal beyond something based around meat, a vegetable and a starch opened my eyes to so many different cuisines. Asian food was one was of the first I branched out to start experimenting with and the more I tried, the deeper I fell in love. Each dish is constructed with complex flavors that appeal to all of your senses while occasionally offering a spicy edge. Most of them can also easily be made vegetarian with just a few modifications.

Tofu Larb Lettuce Wraps _

Larb originates from the Southeast Asian country of Laos, bordering Thailand to the east. Although it can also be found in a region of northern Thailand where a large part of the community is of Lao ethnicity, they tend to make it slightly different than the original version, leaving out any kind of souring agent such as fish sauce or lime juice.

I based this recipe off of the original Lao version which uses a combination of both sweet and sour flavors. Fresh lime and lemon juice plus a touch of tamari (in place of fish sauce) gives the dish it’s sourness while coconut sugar (or brown sugar) offers a hint of sweetness. The finely chopped mushrooms and tofu replace the meat with a hearty flavor that still packs enough protein to leave you feeling satisfied.

Then there’s the spice. You can use Thai chili peppers for a stronger kick of heat but if you prefer a medium-to-mild level of spiciness, feel free to substitute serrano or jalapeño peppers. Just don’t forget the fresh mint and lemongrass. They give it a deliciously refreshing flavor, perfect for balancing out the spiciness.


Tofu Larb Lettuce Wraps

A vegan version of larb, made with crumbled tofu and mushrooms.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 servings 1x


  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or peanut oil
  • 3 large shallots, finely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Thai chile or 1 serrano pepper, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (4-inch) piece of lemongrass
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 large head green lettuce or cabbage
  • Mint and cilantro, to garnish

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 4 limes (approx. 1/3 cup)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or brown sugar)


  1. In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sprinkle with salt; cook for 3 minutes. Add the pepper, garlic cloves and lemon grass to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to the skillet and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the food processor and pulse to finely chop. Transfer the chopped mushrooms to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Break the tofu into pieces in the food processor and then pulse until crumbles form. Add the tofu crumbles to the skillet and cook for 5 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile make the dressing by rinsing out the food processor and adding all of the ingredients to it. Blend until smooth. Pour the dressing into the skillet and stir until everything is evenly coated. Cook for another 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has absorbed.
  4. Spoon the warm tofu mixture into the lettuce leaves and garnish with mint and cilantro before serving.

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  • Reply
    July 28, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Your information on the origin of this dish is interesting. I learned to make a chicken version (which included both lime juice & fish sauce) when I took a cooking class in Phuket, Thailand (southern Thailand). Your version sounds very good.

    • Reply
      Sarah Cook
      July 29, 2016 at 1:55 am

      Thanks for the comment, Susan! I think it’s possible to find similar versions in parts of Thailand, but from what I have read it originates from Laos. Either way, it’s delicious! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 22, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Love your recipe. Soon I’ll make it too. Thanks for sharing it on your page Sarah!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2019 at 12:42 am

    Thanks for the recipe, I made it tonight and it was super good! I enjoyed larb with chicken many years ago and this was better than any I’ve had. I made a few modifications:
    – used 3 limes instead of 4
    – used collards for wraps instead of lettuce
    – upped the cooking time for the tofu to make the texture meatier

  • Reply
    Kaye Hanrahan
    January 12, 2020 at 2:04 am

    I made this for a mixed group of dietary requirements, and had to beat the carnivores back. It is fabulous!! The dressing is just sublime and it’s bookmarked for ever. Also distributed. Thank you so much!

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