In the spirit of spring, we wanted to create some light and simple yet satisfying entrées, and the first idea to come to mind was tofu lettuce wraps!
We’ve tried preparing tofu just about every which way, but have settled on this new-and-improved crispy method as our favorite. Think next-level crispy tofu with tons of flavor that pairs incredibly well with fresh lettuce cups and spring veggies. The best part? Our go-to, 5-ingredient, super flavorful peanut sauce, which marries everything together perfectly. Let us show you how it’s done!
Origins of Lettuce Wraps
It’s believed that lettuce wraps originated in Southeast Asia thousands of years ago. They’ve been popular in Thailand and Southwest Asia as well. And more recently, their popularity has spread throughout the world (P.F. Chang’s, anyone?)!
Our version draws influence from Thai and Indonesian cuisine with the inclusion of peanut sauce and fresh herbs. You can learn more about the origin of peanut sauce here.
Best Lettuce For Wraps
Our preferred varieties for lettuce wraps are Bibb or Boston lettuce or green cabbage. They’re sturdy, non-bitter, and can hold a lot of goodness in each leaf.
Tofu Lettuce Wraps
These 10-ingredient wraps are made with four main components: lettuce leaves, crispy tofu, fresh vegetables and herbs, and a flavorful peanut sauce.
To make the tofu, we press it to remove moisture, marinate it to infuse with flavor, and coat in cornstarch for a crispy exterior. Tamari adds a savory/umami element, chili garlic sauce adds heat, toasted sesame oil gives it sesame flavor, and maple syrup provides a hint of sweetness.
For the fresh vegetables, we like using carrots, radish, and bean sprouts for crunchiness. Green onion, fresh cilantro, and basil add extra flavor dimensions and a feeling that spring is here!
Lastly, top with peanut sauce and prepare for a flavor explosion in your mouth.
We hope you LOVE these tofu lettuce wraps! They’re:
& SO delicious!
Serve as an appetizer or entrée when you’re craving something lighter. Or for a Thai-inspired feast, try with our Perfect Coconut Rice, Easy Tofu Pad Thai, 1-Pot Yellow Chickpea Cauliflower Curry, Thai Yellow Coconut Curry with Mango, Vegan Papaya Salad, Pad Thai Spring Rolls, or Vegan Thai Iced Tea.
More Lettuce Wrap Recipes
- Mexican Quinoa Salad Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Rainbow “Raw-maine” Taco Boats
- Spicy Korean-Style Cauliflower Wings
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Crispy Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed (see instructions for pressing)
- 3 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free eaters)
- 2 tsp chili garlic sauce (reduce or omit for less heat)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (plus more for cooking)
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 5-6 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup salted creamy peanut butter* (or almond butter or sunflower butter)
- 1-2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (or sub coconut aminos* but add slightly more as it’s less salty)
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (plus more to taste)
- 1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce (or 1 red Thai chili, minced // or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake // adjust to preferred spice level)
- 2-3 Tbsp lime juice
- 3-4 Tbsp water (to thin)
- 1 cup thinly sliced / shredded vegetables (e.g. carrots, radish, green onion, and/or bean sprouts)
- 1 small head green (non-bitter) lettuce or green or purple cabbage (as recipe is written, ~10 cup-size leaves of lettuce or cabbage // we prefer green cabbage or Bibb or Boston lettuce)
- Fresh cilantro or Thai basil (optional)
- Begin by pressing tofu: Either wrap in a clean towel and set something heavy on top or use a tofu press. Press for a total of ~30 minutes.
- PEANUT SAUCE: In the meantime, prepare peanut sauce by adding all ingredients except water to a small mixing bowl (starting with the lesser quantity of each ingredient). Whisk to combine then add a little water at a time and whisk until creamy, smooth, and pourable. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more tamari or coconut aminos for saltiness, maple syrup for sweetness, chili garlic for heat, or lime for acidity. Set aside for serving.
- TOFU: Once pressed, slice tofu into ~3/4-inch cubes and add to a large mixing bowl or Tupperware with a lid. Add the tamari, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, and maple syrup (reserve the cornstarch for later). Seal with the lid and toss gently to combine. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
- At this time, heat your oven to 400 degrees F (204 C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- After 15 minutes, add cornstarch (starting with the lesser quantity and working your way up), and cover again and toss gently to coat. You’ll know you’ve added enough cornstarch when the tofu no longer appears wet and the cornstarch is evenly coating each piece.
- Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a bit more sesame oil. Then add only as much tofu as will fit comfortably in the pan (be careful not to crowd). Cook until golden brown on all sides — ~2-3 minutes per side — flipping with a fork or small spatula. Then transfer to your prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes (at 400 F / 204 C), or until crispy and firm. We find this step really elevates the tofu’s texture and gives the coating more crispiness.
- VEGGIES: In the meantime, prepare veggies and herbs (optional) for serving. We recommend finely shredded carrots, thinly sliced radish and green onion, and fresh cilantro and/or Thai basil. Set aside.
- Lastly, prepare lettuce or cabbage by washing and drying and gently separating ~10 cup-size lettuce or cabbage leaves. They should be slightly larger than the palm of your hand (big enough to accommodate ~5 cubes of tofu and veggie toppings).
- TO SERVE: Arrange cups/leaves on a platter and top each with ~5 cubes tofu (as original recipe is written, you should have ~10 lettuce cups). Top with veggies and herbs of choice and serve with peanut sauce on the side.
- Best when fresh. Ingredients keep separately in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (peanut sauce = 1 week; tofu = 3-4 days, veggies = 1 week, herbs = 1-2 days). Reheat tofu on the stovetop over medium heat or in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven until hot.
*If subbing coconut aminos, know that they aren’t as pungent or salty in flavor as tamari and soy sauce. So you may need to add a bit more than the recommended amount. Season to taste.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount where ranges are provided, with 1/4 each carrots, radish, green onion, and bean sprouts, and without optional ingredients.
*Recipe as written makes ~50 pieces of tofu, which yields ~10 lettuce wraps.