Crispy Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

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Picking up a Thai-inspired tofu lettuce wrap

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!

Carrots, radish, green onion, bean sprouts, lettuce, tofu, cornstarch, peanut butter, chili garlic sauce, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil, and tamari

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.

Bean sprouts, carrots, radish, and green onions

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.

Cutting board with lettuce for wraps

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.

Skillet and baking sheet of crispy cubed tofu

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!

Lettuce leaves topped with crispy tofu and sliced carrots

Lastly, top with peanut sauce and prepare for a flavor explosion in your mouth.

Tray filled with tofu lettuce wraps drizzled with peanut sauce

We hope you LOVE these tofu lettuce wraps! They’re:

Saucy
Crispy
Fresh
Peanutty
Satisfying
& 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

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!

Close up shot of an Asian-inspired tofu lettuce wrap

Crispy Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

Crispy, flavorful tofu wraps with fresh veggies and our go-to peanut sauce. Crunchy, light yet satisfying, and BOLD flavors. Just 10 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Platter of crispy tofu lettuce wraps with fresh vegetables and peanut sauce
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 10 (Lettuce Wraps)
Course Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine Chinese-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Indonesian-Inspired, Thai-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? Best when fresh

Ingredients

TOFU

  • 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

PEANUT SAUCE

  • 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)

FOR SERVING

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

*The best peanut butter to use is made with just peanuts and salt (no other additives). Our favorite brand currently is Wild Friends.
*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.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 lettuce wrap Calories: 160 Carbohydrates: 11.1 g Protein: 9.6 g Fat: 9.6 g Saturated Fat: 1.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.7 g Monounsaturated Fat: 4.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 475 mg Potassium: 272 mg Fiber: 1.9 g Sugar: 3.9 g Vitamin A: 790 IU Vitamin C: 3.9 mg Calcium: 177 mg Iron: 2.4 mg

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  1. Iralyn says

    Delicious and easy! Made exactly to recipe except omitted the chili garlic sauce (we have a preschooler) and did some garlic powder instead. We ate them as wraps with all the toppings and did them “deconstructed” for our daughter so she could choose what to eat. Love meals like this, where we can easily adapt for her and still add sauces, spices, toppings, etc. for the adults. We made this into a full meal by serving with leftover takeout fried rice and egg rolls. Will definitely make again!

  2. Hillary says

    Another delicious recipe! I copied the tofu and the peanut sauce to a T and it was perfection. We needed to use some zucchini, asparagus, and broccoli so we sautéed it all up and covered it in the peanut sauce with some fresh peppers on top. My boyfriend said it tasted and looked like “restaurant tofu” so I think it is a winner!

  3. Caroline says

    Yum! Light, crunchy, flavorful and filling. It fed my family of four (2 toddlers) and came together quickly. Chopped extra veggies during prep and we have dressing and veggies for leftover salads. Next time, I’ll double the tofu or spread the sauce on grilled chicken. Thanks, Dana!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! So glad everyone enjoyed this recipe, Caroline! Thanks for the lovely review! xo

  4. Bethany B says

    Wow just made this for dinner and it was SO GOOD. The tofu was some of the best I have ever had and got so crispy. The peanut sauce was perfect and all the fresh veggies balanced it out wonderfully. Definitely will make it again!

  5. Rachel says

    Delicious! I always futz with recipes but we made this one exactly according to the instructions and it didn’t need a single change. So flavorful and perfect combination of textures!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried it, but another reader mentioned that technique. Let us know if you try it!

  6. Sarah says

    Yum! This was delicious. I only ended up needing 4 tablespoons of cornstarch and I think I may even reduce it a tablespoon next time. It was so flavorful and I love that peanut sauce. Finally, a recipe that actually gets the tofu crispy!

  7. Christa says

    This is delicious! My whole family loved it and wanted me to make it again soon. It takes a bit more time to both fry the tofu and then bake it but it did give the tofu a nice crunch. I used my absolute favorite chili crunch from Momofuku for the garlic chili paste. This recipe can compete with any restaurant. It is that good! I am going to make it when I host book club later this month. It is great in that people can just add the components that they like and get a custom meal.

    Thank you, Dana, for all of your marvelous recipes. You are my most turned to source for meal ideas. I would not have made it through the pandemic without you!!

  8. Camille says

    I haven’t cooked anything yet from this website but I love the dishes and the way they look! So luscious, I’ll try and emulate your gaddo gaddo sauce with the sides being amongst them boiled eggs. Fingers crossed CAMILLE

  9. Ray says

    Just made this and it looks amazing! Pretty followed the recipe exact so nothing but good things to say! Love how simple your recipes are!

  10. Cath says

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet Dana…it’s getting chilly in Australia, but will defs try in our Springtime. Just wondering though…have you tried potato starch? Thanks to Hetty McKinnon, it’s my new fave coating to crisp…so far have used it on tofu & eggplant, and it is life changing!

  11. Cindy says

    Very easy to make, just need to plan ahead a bit. My husband doesn’t like things too spicy and this was just right, you can adjust it to your liking. He said that I could repeat this recipe 😊. I tried it with cilantro on some and regular basil on others. Both were good, but the basil really added to the flavor. I did add peanuts on the top for more crunch.