Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps
When Alex and I were visiting college campuses in her junior and senior year of high school, one of our favorite things to do was to eat at the ethnic restaurants. Our favorite of all time was the Siam House at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. They had a spinach leaf wrap that was so good, it was like having a party in your mouth. Seriously, four and a half years later, the explosion of flavors and textures in those wraps, still calls to us.
As I was driving home from the gym this morning that craving struck. So, I did what any foodie would do, I stopped at the supermarket and bought the ingredients that I needed. However, I had to be creative, because the originals had dried shrimp as the protein. Since tofu is a protein, and it’s used in many Asian dishes, I decided that was going to be the replacement. It worked! The tofu is actually better than the shrimp. Of course, what vegan wouldn’t say that, right?
As I sit here, sharing this delicious recipe with you, my tummy is full, and my mood is light. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
Note: I couldn’t find spinach leaves large enough for wraps, so I bought iceberg lettuce. I know, there’s nothing nutritionally worthy about this plant, but it was the best I could do on such short notice. If you can find large spinach leaves, please buy them for this dish.
- 1 tbsp. sesame seed oil
- 1 large red onion – sliced
- 2 tbsp. fresh ginger – peeled and minced
- ¼ cup basil leaves – minced
- ½ cup roasted peanuts – chopped
- 1 lime – peeled and sliced into wedge
- ½ lime
- 1 ¼ tbsp. Chinese Five Spice – In the spice section of the supermarket
- 1 package extra firm tofu – chopped into small pieces
- 6 large spinach or lettuce leaves – washed and patted dry
- Salt to taste
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce
Wash and dry the spinach or lettuce leaves. Set aside.
Prepare the onion, ginger, basil, peanuts, lime, and tofu.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan on high heat. When the oil is hot add the onions and cook until they start to look translucent. Add the ginger, peanuts, and tofu. Add the Chinese five spice and salt. Stir until the spice is evenly distributed amongst the tofu. The tofu should look slightly brown. Add the basil and squeeze the juice from the ½ lime over the tofu mix. Stir constantly until the tofu is done, approximately three more minutes.
Let the tofu cool for a few minutes. Spoon into leaves, add the lime wedges, drizzle some soy sauce over them, and take a bite. Now dance! You’ll want to, I promise.
If you like really spicy food, you can add a tsp of hot pepper flakes to the mixture. If you don’t like the lime wedges, squeeze a little extra juice on the wrap, or omit it all together. This is your wrap, do what you like.