Tofu lettuce rolls were the first thing that came to mind when we thought of creating a light, simple, yet satisfying spring dish.
This new and improved method of preparing tofu is our favorite. Imagine crispy tofu that is bursting with flavor and pairs well with lettuce cups and spring vegetables. What’s the best part? The super-flavorful, 5-ingredient peanut sauce that we use to bring everything together. We’ll show you exactly how to do it!
Lettuce Wraps: Their Origins
It is believed lettuce wraps originated thousands of years ago in Southeast Asia. It is also popular in Thailand and Southwest Asia. Their popularity has recently spread to other parts of the world. Chang’s, anyone? )!
Best Lettuce For Wraps
We prefer Bibb, Boston, or green cabbage for lettuce wraps. The leaves are sturdy, non-bitter, and hold a great deal of goodness.
Tofu Lettuce Wraps
These ten-ingredient wraps consist of four main ingredients: lettuce leaves, crispy tofu, fresh vegetables and herbs, and a flavorful sauce made from peanuts.
To make tofu, we press it out to remove moisture. We then marinate it with flavors and coat it in cornstarch to give it a crisp exterior. Tamari provides the tofu with a savory/umami flavor. Chili garlic sauce brings the heat. Toasted sesame oil adds sesame flavor. Maple syrup adds sweetness.
We like to use carrots, radish, and bean sprouts as crunch for the fresh vegetables. Fresh cilantro, green onion, and basil give the dish a spring-like flavor.
- Pressed 14 ounces of extra-firm tofu (see instructions on packing).
- 3 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free eaters)
- 2 tsp Chili garlic sauce
- Use more sesame oil for cooking.
- 2 tsp Maple Syrup
- Cornstarch, 5-6 Tbsp
- 1/4 cup salted creamy almond butter (or sunflower butter)
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of tamari (or coconut aminos*, but you may need to add slightly more because it is less salty).
- Add more maple syrup to taste.
- Use 1-2 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce or one red Thai chili minced (or 1/4 tsp of red pepper flake) to adjust the spice level.
- Use 2-3 tablespoons of lime juice
- Water (to thin): 3-4 Tbsp
- You can use carrots, radishes, green onions, or bean sprouts. Carrots, radish green onions, or bean sprouts
- As written in the recipe, 10 cups of leaves of green lettuce or purple or green cabbage. We prefer green lettuce (Bibb or Boston) or green cabbage.
- Fresh cilantro or Thai basil (optional)
- Start by pressing the tofu. You can either wrap it in a towel and place something heavy on top, or you can use a Tofu Press. For a total time of about 30 minutes, press the tofu.
- PEANUTSAUCE In the meantime, prepare peanut sauce. Add all ingredients, except for water, to a small bowl. (Starting with the smaller quantity of each element) Add a small amount of water and whisk to combine. Continue adding a little at a time until the sauce is creamy and smooth. Add more tamari, coconut aminos, maple syrup, or chili garlic to adjust the flavor. Set aside until serving.
- TOFU: After pressing, cut tofu cubes into approximately 3/4-inch pieces and place them in a large bowl with a lid or Tupperware. Add the tamari sauce, chili garlic, sesame, and maple syrup. (Reserve the cornstarch until later). Seal the top and gently combine. Let the marinade sit for 15 minutes.
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. (204 C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add cornstarch after 15 minutes (starting small and increasing the amount) and coat again. When the tofu is no longer wet and the cornstarch has coated each piece evenly, you know that you have added enough.
- Heat a large nonstick or cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add a little more sesame seed oil once the skillet is hot. Add only enough tofu to fill the pan comfortably (be sure not to overcrowd). Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, flipping the tofu with a small spatula or a fork. Transfer to the baking sheet you have prepared and bake at 400 F/204 C for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and firm. This step gives the tofu a more textured and crispy coating.
- VEGGIES In the meantime, prepare vegetables and herbs (optional). We recommend radish, green onion, and fresh cilantro or Thai basil. Set aside.
- Then, wash and dry 10 cups of lettuce or cabbage and gently separate the leaves. The size should be just a little bigger than your palm (large enough to fit five cubes of tofu or veggie toppings).
- HOW TO SERVE: Arrange the cups/leaves and top them with five cubes of tofu. (According to the original recipe, you will have about ten lettuce cups). Add your favorite veggies and herbs and serve with a peanut sauce.
- Fresh is best. Ingredients can be stored separately in the fridge for up to a week (peanut butter = 1 day; tofu = 3-5 days; veggies = 1 or 2 days; herbs = 1-2). Tofu can be reheated on the stovetop or in an oven at 350 degrees F (176 C).a