These Thai-Style Lettuce Cups Make for a Satisfying Lightened-Up Lunch
A plant-based spin on traditionally meat-filled lettuce cups, this recipe will satisfying your hunger without leaving you feeling sluggish all afternoon.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Looking for a lunch that won’t make you hit the afternoon slump hard? We’ve got a recipe that’s light but filling: our Loaded Thai-Style Lettuce Cups. At first glance, these leafy little wraps look like your basic meaty lunch. But there’s a bit of a secret inside.
We’ve taken the Thai-inspired lettuce cup and made it meatless, swapping out chicken for plant-based alternatives. Inside each crispy leaf of Bibb lettuce, you’ll find a mixture of extra-firm tofu and baby oyster mushrooms. These ingredients deliver everything you need midway through the day, from satiating protein to filling fiber, without adding a whole lot of calories. This handheld lunch totals just 185 calories per serving – and because it’s made with only plant-based ingredients, it’s light while delivering one seriously significant dose of veggie-based nutrients.
Plenty of flavor without any meat-based ingredients
One of the best features of Thai-style lettuce cups? It’s definitely the mix of flavors, and fish sauce is traditionally a key component. But if you’re vegan or vegetarian, fish sauce – including oyster sauce – won’t work. We’re keeping these cups completely plant-based, which means we’ve swapped out the fish sauce for our own unique, flavor-packed alternative. Our tofu-based filling is made with a tamari-based sauce, featuring a mix of lemongrass and vegetarian oyster sauce so you can enjoy a wholly different take. And you can’t overlook the fresh herbs, like Thai basil, cilantro and mint.
Plus, with the addition of ingredients like red Thai chile, fresh limes and a little sriracha (or another one of your fave spicy-yet-sweet sauces), you’ll also love the light heat these lettuce cups deliver. You definitely won’t feel like anything is lacking when it comes to both your appetite and flavor.
Loaded Thai-Style Lettuce Cups
- 2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1½ tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp safflower oil
- 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped
- ¼ tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper
- 1 16-oz pkg organic extra-firm tofu, drained and halved lengthwise
- 2 tbsp safflower oil, divided
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- 1½ cups Thai basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red Thai chile, finely chopped (TIP: For less heat, remove the seeds)
- 7 oz baby oyster mushrooms, chopped
- Pinch each sea salt and ground black pepper
- 2 small heads Bibb lettuce
- 1 cup each Thai basil and cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup fresh mint sprigs
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 limes, quartered
- sriracha or finishing sauce of choice (TRY: Primal Kitchen Special Sauce with Avocado Oil)
- Prepare sauce: In a small bowl, stir together all sauce ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Prepare filling: Press tofu slices well with clean kitchen towels. Crumble into a bowl.
- In an extra-large nonstick skillet on medium-high, heat one-half of oil. Add onion, basil, garlic, chile and cook, stirring, until mushrooms expel water and it’s reabsorbed, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.
- Heat remaining oil and add tofu; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add reserved sauce and reserved mushroom mixture and cook until liquid is absorbed and mixture becomes brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve tofu mixture in lettuce layered with basil, cilantro, mint, onion and lime wedges alongside. If using, drizzle with sriracha or choice of finishing sauce.
- Serving Size ⅙ of recipe
- Calories 185
- Carbohydrate Content 16 g
- Cholesterol Content 0 mg
- Fat Content 10 g
- Fiber Content 4 g
- Protein Content 11 g
- Saturated Fat Content 1 g
- Sodium Content 495 mg
- Sugar Content 5 g
- Monounsaturated Fat Content 2 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat Content 6 g