We’ve all be there, stranded in a strange city, perhaps, or compromising so you can go out for a meal with omnivore friends or family.
Or maybe you just really like it. Truth is, the times I’ve found myself at P.F. Chang’s, the staff have been super helpful, pointing out vegan dishes or suggesting ways to veganize others. One screams-of-chain-restaurant-appetizer dish I actually wanted to recreate is the tofu lettuce wrap. It’s light, satisfying, and super easy to customize to fit any flavor preference.
I searched online for ideas, because frankly, the only time I had this was during my trip to Vegas this summer, for Birthnukah. It was, no kidding, 110° and we stumbled into one for lunch. Considering at the time the water was the best-tasting water I’d ever had…I wasn’t going to trust my memory completely for this dish. Anyway, the Internet has a bunch of recipes for vegan lettuce wraps, with all kinds of tofu, seitan, Gardein, and tempeh. I used the Trader Joe’s baked tofu and it worked a charm.
I’m no recipe developer, so here’s my version of a recipe. Add more of what you like and leave out what you don’t. It’s your food! Want to add bean sprouts? Sounds awesome.
• 1 pkg Trader Joe’s baked tofu, Teriyaki style, diced (no draining or pressing or marinating necessary!)
• 8-ounce can of water chestnuts, drained and diced
• half onion, diced
• 3 decent cloves garlic, minced
• nub of ginger (½-inch cube, sorta), grated or at least super minced
• 3-4 scallions, chopped
• few tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s
• teaspoon-ish chili paste
• rice vermicelli (maifun), flash-fried—you will not need much of this…no, less than that.
• lettuce for wrapping, washed and dried (I used iceberg today but would probably go with a green leaf or something else way easier to separate from the head.)
What to do with it all:
Throw into a medium-heat pan (with just a tablespoon or so of sesame oil) the tofu & all the vegetables, save the scallions. Hit it with the sauces and cook until the tofu firms up a bit and everything starts to brown, maybe even crisp up a bit.
At the end, toss in your scallions. Sesame seeds would be good, too.
To assemble, lay your lettuce leaf down, add a little scoop of tofu filling and some rice noodles (not too much or you’ll be a messy Bessy), roll up, and crunch away!
This made two very hungry people very full. It could easily have stretched to three. And if you’ve got a big enough pan, this would probably be great for larger batches…and I’d imagine it’d refrigerate/reheat pretty okay.