Fast, easy Thai Lettuce Wraps are full of classic Thai flavors in vegetarian lettuce wraps! Pan seared and seasoned tofu, colorful crunchy vegetables, sweet-salty sauce wrapped up in cool lettuce leaves make a great appetizer recipe or light main course. Plant protein packed and oh so delicious!
These are actually vegan Thai lettuce wraps so fully plant-based and an absolutely delicious recipe! If you love PF Changs recipe for lettuce wraps you'll love making these tofu lettuce wraps at home.
Stir fry recipes are great recipes for keeping fresh ingredients from being over cooked and have tons of flavor. Add this Thai lettuce wraps recipe to your meal plans either for appetizers or a main dish.
What makes this skinny?
- This lettuce wrap recipe uses tofu for plant-based protein instead of chicken which is often used in lettuce wrap recipes. By comparison tofu has 100 fewer calories per cup than chicken. Both are great sources of lean protein however tofu has 3.5 less saturated fat than chicken, less cholesterol and is a great source of calcium and iron.
- Tofu absorbs the flavors it is cooked and this Thai-inspired sauce gives delicious flavor to it's soft texture.
- Fresh vegetables add color and nutrients to this quick cooking stir-fry dish too.
- We use a non-stick wok or large skillet which allows less oil to be used to get the same results too!
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Most ingredients should be available at your grocery store (check the international food section for the sauces). They are also available at Asian grocery stores or online.
Low-sodium soy sauce. Regular or gluten-free soy sauce or tamari can be used.
Vegetarian oyster sauce. This version of oyster sauce has no oysters but it does have the flavor of oyster sauce. Oyster sauce is a classic ingredient in Asian cuisine with a sweet and salty flavor. Regular oyster sauce can be used if you don't need the recipe to be vegan or vegetarian.
Vegan fish sauce. Like the oyster sauce, this is a version of fish sauce that has (you guess it...) no fish! Regular fish sauce can be substituted for a non-vegan or vegetarian version.
Tofu. Use extra firm tofu cut into small cubes (½-inch to ¾-inch cubes). Firmer extra-firm tofu works best to cube and stir fry to have it hold it's shape. Tofu is often pressed before cooking to release extra moisture however this recipe does not require a tofu press. Do pat up any excess moisture with paper towels before starting the recipe.
Carrots. Peel and cut into matchsticks.
Peanuts. Use roasted unsalted peanut chopped.
Lettuce. Large lettuce leaves work best. We love soft butter lettuce to wrap the tofu filling but crisp romaine lettuce and iceberg lettuce also work and have a different texture (crunchy). See Variations for more ideas!
Red pepper flakes. Give the sauce some spicy heat (not too much).
Sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds or white sesame seeds can be used for garnish on the veggie lettuce wraps.
How to make Thai Lettuce Wraps
Detailed instructions are in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
STEP 1. Make the sauce
In a small bowl, add soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes into a small bowl and mix until well combined, set aside (photo 1).
STEP 2. Sauté
Heat a non-stick wok or non-stick large skillet over medium-high heat, then add oil. Add the tofu, lightly salt and pepper and cook until lightly golden brown; about 5-10 minutes (photos 2-3). Let the tofu sit in a single layer to sear one side then flip over to cook all sides.
Add the sliced carrots, red onions, minced garlic cloves and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously (photo 4).
Pour in the sauce stir the pan ingredients constantly for another 2 minutes (photo 5).
Add the green onions, peanuts, season with salt and pepper; stir to combine (photo 6).
Remove from the heat; add the fresh cilantro and lemon juice and stir to fully combine (photo 7).
STEP 3. Make wraps
Evenly divide the filling between the lettuce leaves and serve. Or divide the filling between 4 small bowl and serve on individual plates with lettuce leaves allowing diners to make their own wraps (photo 8).
Using soft or crisp lettuce. Any lettuce can be used. Large soft lettuce leaves (butter lettuce, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, boston lettuce) work well for wrapping. Crisp lettuce, like iceberg lettuce, make a refreshing cool cup shape.
Try using cabbage. If preferred cabbage leaves can be substituted for lettuce.
Add other chopped vegetables. To increase the volume of these vegan lettuce wraps add other chopped vegetables like zucchini, celery, bok choy, bean sprouts, bell pepper or water chestnuts.
Add fresh herbs. Garnish with some fresh chopped thai basil or fresh mint!
Have everything ready when starting the recipe. The great thing about stir-fry recipes is that they are fast cooking but that means everything needs to be ready before you start. You'll be cooking or monitoring continuously with no time to prep ingredients at the same time.
How to Store
The prepared lettuce wrap filling can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave. The sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Vegetarian Thai Lettuce Wraps
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 16 ounces extra-firm tofu excess moisture dabbed with paper towel; cut into ½-inch to ¾-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup matchstick cut carrots
- ¼ cup diced red onions
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted chopped peanuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 8 romaine lettuce leaves trimmed and cut the stems (or other large lettuce leaves)
- ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds optional
Make the sauce
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes stir or whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Cooking the filling
- Heat a non-stick wok or large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil. When hot, add the tofu in a single layer. Lightly salt and pepper.Sauté, stirring and flipping the tofu as needed, until the tofu is lightly golden (5-10 minutes).
- Add the sliced carrots, red onions, minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the prepared sauce, Stir constantly for another 2 minutes. The sauce will absorb into the tofu and vegetables.
- Toss in the green onions, peanuts, then season with salt and pepper.
- Turn off the heat. Add the fresh cilantro and lemon juice; stir to absorb into the tofu mixture.
Assemble the wraps
- Evenly divide the filling between the lettuce leaves and serve immediately.Alternatively, divide the filling into 4 small bowls. Serve on a plate with lettuce leaves to allow diners to make their own wraps!
- Sprinkle with black sesame seeds to top!
Soft or crisp lettuce leaves can be used. Softer lettuce is better for wrapping. Crisp lettuce creates lettuce cups that are crispy and refreshing.
- Additional vegetables can be added to extend the filling.