Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vegetarian Asian Lettuce Wraps

I recently posted a recipe for Asian Chicken lettuce Wraps.  My son is a vegetarian so I always try to come up with meatless alternatives for him to enjoy.  I try to eat a gluten free diet when possible.  The vegetables are gluten free, but the problem arises when we add sauces to the dish, and let's face it, the sauce and seasonings give the wraps their distinct flavor, but the soy sauce adds gluten.  If you are looking to keep the sugar content lower, then you can substitute Xylitol as a sweetener.  I chose to use Agave nectar. You can also use sugar. We won't be using too much in this recipe since it makes a lot of servings.
I would suggest chopping all of your ingredients ahead of time or before trying to start cooking. It may appear like a lot of work, but once all of the vegetables are cut up, this recipe cooks super quickly.

This recipe makes about 14 - 16 very generous servings


  • 8 - 10 Shitake mushrooms (you can substitute white or brown mushrooms)
  • 2 , 8 oz pkgs of fresh brown or white mushrooms
  • 2 Tbs of cooking sherry (you can substitute cider vinegar but sherry really is the best)
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil (this adds a nice flavor to the filling, try not to substitute)
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3 - 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 2 - 3 cloves minced or pressed garlic)
  • 1 8oz can water chestnuts (sliced or whole is fine)
  • 2 Tbs Tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 large carrots, grated
  • Fresh chopped Cilantro
  • Butter lettuce (or romaine or iceberg if you can't find butter lettuce)
  • Coconut oil (or oil of choice to cook the chicken filling in)

SAUCE: (Reserve half of the sauce for dipping)

  • 1/2 cup Tamari Sauce (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup of chunky peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2 Tbs Agave Nectar (substitute 4 Tbs Xylitol sweetener for sugar free version)
  • 1/4 tsp of granulated garlic (you can used fresh minced garlic as well, but use less)
  • 1 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of Sriracha Hot sauce or 1 Tbs of chili paste



Whisk all ingredients for the sauce together and set aside. Be sure to save half of the sauce for dipping, the other half will be poured over the chicken mixture after it is cooked. You can add more or less of the Sriracha or chili paste to suit your heat level.

Chop the mushrooms into a small dice. Be sure to dice them and do not put into the food processor as they will get mushy and pasty when they cook.
Drain & Chop the water chestnuts into a small dice
Coarsely Grate the large carrot and set aside
Chop the cilantro
Finely slice the green onions.

Now you are set to go!

  • In a large bowl add the Shitake mushrooms, white or brown mushrooms, green onions, water chestnuts, about 1/2 of the grated carrots, grated ginger, cooking sherry, sesame oil, garlic, Tamari sauce, salt & pepper.
  • Mix well to incorporate all of the ingredients. 
  • Heat about 1 heaping Tbs coconut oil in a large skillet. I personally love the coconut oil with this recipe. It complements all of the fresh ingredients and gives a nice richness to the dish. You can use any oil you like. Some people like to use sesame oil to cook with. I find it a bit too strong for my taste since it is already in the filling and sauce.
  • To start, just cook 1/2 of the vegetable mixture in the pan. This is to keep it from being overcrowded and steaming. Let it saute in the oil for a few minutes before turning. This will help it to brown a bit.  Continue to saute until cooked through. Remove to a bowl.
  • Heat another heaping Tbs of coconut oil and add the remaining vegetable mixture.
  • Cook as before.
  • Return the previous vegetable mixture to the pan.
  • Add 1/2 of the sauce you made earlier
  • Stir to incorporate and heat through
  • Place a few big spoonfuls of the filling on a lettuce leaf.
  • Garnish with a bit of the remaining grated carrot & freshly chopped cilantro.
  • Pour a tiny bit of the reserved sauce on top or serve the sauce on the side in a dipping bowl!
Mmm, so good! I also have a Chicken version of this recipe here: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps