Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps


 People are always raving about the Lettuce Wraps at PF Changs. I did try their vegetarian version a number of years ago, and although I liked the idea of it, I found them kind of salty and greasy.

I hadn’t really thought much about it until I ran across a recipe that sounded as if it would be tasty.  I can’t tell you where I got this. I found it last year in a magazine at the local library. I am one of those obsessive types that collects recipes from everywhere and can’t always remember the original author or sometimes where I put them!

My sister came over for dinner last night and since she is the perfect guinea pig, I decided to try the recipe on her (and  also on me..the other perfect guinea pig!).

We loved them and the best thing about them was they were easy to make.  The wraps were fresh, light and flavorful.  For a couple of small women like us, it was a great meal. More hearty eaters might want to add more to the dinner menu than just the wraps.

I did change a few things and would change another if I was to make them again. The recipe called for ¼ cup of crushed red pepper flakes in the sauce. I am sure I wrote that down wrong. It sounded like too much. I added about a teaspoon.  Instead of jicama, I used water chestnuts. I couldn’t find jicama at the store and water chestnuts sounded more authentic anyway. I also put a few drops of sesame oil in the wok along with the canola oil.  I like the flavor.

The lettuce used was romaine, but romaine isn’t very flexible. I would use a butter lettuce next time.  The recipe was not enough for 12 lettuce leaves. It really just served 2 people with 2 Romaine leaves each. Double the recipe for 4 people if it is for dinner rather than an appetizer.
 I followed the rest of the recipe with success.

 How I made them:
I put together the ingredients for the wrap and stuck it in the fridge while making the sauce and the brown rice. While the rice was cooking, I threw the sauce ingredients into the blender, blended them then put it in a bowl. While the rice was cooking, I cleaned up the kitchen.

When it was time to eat, I pulled out the mix, stir fried it, added the sauce and that was it. When all was done, there was very little clean up, which to me is a big plus.

Ok, for you non-tofu lovers, feel free to substitute something else. I think some chopped up cooked shrimp would be a good substitute but you decide on that. 

You can serve these with hot Green tea or you might try a Zentini or Saketini 

(by the way The Nibble is a great newsletter too)

Tofu Lettuce Wraps- Serves two dinner size portions

¼ cup tamari sauce (low sodium if you prefer)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbl minced shallot
1 tbl packed light brown sugar
1 tbl plus 1 tsp rice vinegar
¼ cup plus 2 tbl water
1 tbl plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¾ tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger (a fine microplane works great for grating both the ginger and the garlic)

Put all of the sauce ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

Wrap ingredients:

½ cup diced carrots
½ cup sugar snap peas diced
½ cup diced jicama (or substitute water chestnuts diced)
½ cup pineapple diced
¾ lb extra firm tofu, diced
A drop or two of sesame oil (optional)
Canola oil spray for stir frying
½ cup unsalted peanuts (I used salted because I had them on hand)
12 romaine lettuce leaves (or substitute boston lettuce) See note on this. I only used 4 leaves
1 1/3 cup cooked brown rice

Toss together the carrots thru the pineapple in a large bowl. Mix in the tofu.

Heat a wok sprayed with canola oil on high heat (I added a drop of sesame oil for added flavor)
Add tofu mixture and stir fry briefly (30 sec to a minute). Stir in enough sauce to moisten well and cook another minute or until the sauce is just thickened.

Serve with the lettuce to wrap, the peanuts, rice and whatever leftover sauce there is.
Fill lettuce leaf with some of the mix, put some rice on top, then some peanuts. If you want, a little extra sauce is good too. Wrap and eat. Messy but fun and tasty too!

Fresh orange slices would be a great dessert.

I hope you enjoy these and would love to hear about it.