On the Menu: Thai Tofu Lettuce Cups
My husband and I eat vegetarian/vegan at home so I like to get creative with our recipes. When he’s out for work dinners, the only vegan option is often pasta primavera or a portobello burger. Neither is super satisfying to be honest. When he gets home, I like to make filling, creative meals that he can’t get most other places. I’ve seen this recipe on a few different blogs, and with some trial and error, I’ve been able to make a great vegan version for us!
I hope you try this recipe out! If you have vegan or vegetarian friends, try making this one night for dinner instead of serving them another soup or pasta dish. I know it’s hard to please all the vegans and vegetarians around, but they always appreciate the effort!
::Thai Tofu Lettuce Cups::
1 tsp coconut oil
1-2 dashes toasted sesame oil
1 package extra firm tofu
1 head fresh iceberg, butter, or bib lettuce
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
5-8 mushrooms, stems removed, chopped finely
4-5 scallions (greens finely sliced, whites sliced in 1/2″ to 1” pieces)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1 lime (1/2 juiced, 1/2 sliced in wedges for squeezing)
2 tablespoons soy sauce/tamari
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic chili paste
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 lime wedge
Pinch of salt
Finely sliced cucumber
1 carrot, grated or peeled in thin strips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, toasted
Fresh cilantro, mint, and/or basil (chiffonade cut)
Sweet and sour egg roll sauce or chutney (optional)
Drain and squeeze dry the tofu. Set in a bowl and wrap in a paper towel to absorb additional water.
Cut and prepare all fresh ingredients. Carefully peel back lettuce leaves to preserve the cup structure.*
Mix juice of one lime wedge, 1 tsp wine vinegar, and pinch of salt with cucumber and carrot. Set aside.
Mix together soy sauce, lime juice, maple syrup, garlic chili paste, and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl.
Unwrap the tofu and place it back in the bowl. Using a potato masher (or a large fork – but potato masher tool works so well!), mash the tofu until it breaks apart into little nuggets.
Heat the coconut and sesame oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the white parts of the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water chestnuts and sauté until slightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Add tofu in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook tofu until it begins to firm up and brown slightly, 10-12 minutes.
Add the bowl of sauce on top and stir to combine. Heat through.
Once the filing is done cooking, transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with lettuce cups, slices of lime, peanuts, cilantro, scallion greens, herbs, and pickled carrot and cucumber. Enjoy!
* If you’re like me and can’t peel off the lettuce leaves carefully enough, feel free to slice the lettuce in strips and serve the dish as a salad.
This recipe is frequently in our rotation at home. I hope you’re able to enjoy it too! If you are looking for a more filling meal, this goes well with a green or red Thai curry or Vietnamese phở.