Flavorful and nourishing Vegan Lettuce Wraps with a crave-worthy Peanut Sauce make a hearty yet light veg-packed lunch or dinner. Garlicky, gingery lentils, and mushrooms are wrapped in sturdy lettuce leaves, topped with crunchy veggies then drizzled with peanut sauce. The peanut sauce will have you going back for more! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free.
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Vegan Lettuce Wraps Highlights
Summertime is the time to enjoy lettuce wraps. Farmer’s markets are brimming with fresh, peak-season produce, which is another reason to grab the cooler and go this weekend! That’s where you’ll find me.
These vegan lettuce wraps are filled with lentils and mushrooms in a simple Thai red curry sauce, topped with crunchy veggies then drizzled in a tasty miso peanut sauce. A good dousing of Sriracha sauce on top adds an extra hit of spice if you’re into spicy things!
These Lettuce Wraps Are:
- Fresh and Crunchy
- Vegan and Vegetarian
- Make it a Wrap or Salad
- Meal Prep Ready
If you love Thai inspired recipes, you’re going to love these vegan lettuce wraps!
Ingredients You’ll Need
It’s all about fresh veggies, lentils, spices, and seasonings. There’s room for ingredient swaps and variations depending on what’s in the larder! Here’s what you’ll need to make Thai Lentil Lettuce Wraps (see recipe card for details):
For the Wraps:
- Bibb Lettuce – you’ll need a large head of lettuce sturdy enough to hold the filling ingredients. Bibb works well, but iceberg or romaine will work here too.
- French or Puy Lentils – these are the same variety of lentils so you can use them interchangeably in this recipe. The difference is Puy are grown in the Puy region of France, while French lentils are grown in North America and Italy. These lentils hold their shape well and have a sturdy texture rather than turning to mush like red lentils.
- Red Onion – you’ll saute’ these in a bit of oil to build flavor in the filling.
- Shitake Mushrooms – these provide a meaty texture and umami flavor. You can sub crimini here, but their flavor won’t be as intense.
- Fresh Ginger and Garlic – use fresh for best flavor!
- Tamari – a gluten-free salty, umami-packed condiment. You can substitute soy sauce if not needed.
- Liquid Aminos – a umami flavor builder, I use it as a sub for fish sauce in vegetarian cooking. You can use more Tamari or coconut aminos as a sub.
- Maple Syrup – adds a bit of natural sweetness to the sauce.
- Prepared Red Thai Curry Paste – this is the base of the sauce. It’s bold and warm with hints of ginger and garlic. Made with a blend of red chilis, it’s moderately spicy. A small jar will last for months in the fridge! I like Thai Kitchen brand.
- Sriracha – a little acid and spice to bring all the flavors together. Sambal Oelek may be subbed if needed. Adjust to taste!
- Carrots – add crunch, color, and flavor. To prep the carrots fast, I use a julienne peeler.
- Sugar Snap Peas or Snow Peas – for crunch! When snap peas or snow peas are out of season, sub-thinly sliced purple cabbage.
- Scallions – the green parts of green onions, they add crunch and grassy, oniony flavor.
- Sesame Seeds – add texture and flavor. Chopped toasted, unsalted peanuts can be used as a tasty sub.
For the Peanut Sauce:
- Peanut Butter – use natural, no salt added, crunchy or creamy.
- White Miso Paste – adds a umami salty flavor to the sauce. You can omit it and add Tamari to taste.
- Fresh Ginger and Garlic – use fresh for best flavor!
- Fresh Lime Juice – adds a bit of acid and interest.
- Sriracha – a little acid and spice to bring all the flavors together. Sambal Oelek may be subbed if needed. Adjust to taste.
- Maple Syrup – balances the spicy and adds natural sweetness to the sauce.
At a Glance: How to Make Vegan Lettuce Wraps
Although the ingredient list looks long for these Thai-inspired wraps, utilize mostly pantry staples with a few fresh ingredients. There’s some overlap in the filling and sauce so you can prep those ingredients simultaneously. In summary, here’s how to make em’ (see recipe card for details):
- First, in a small sauce pot, cook the lentils.
- Next, saute the onions and mushrooms in a skillet while the lentils are simmering. To the onion and mushroom mixture, add the Tamari, maple syrup, curry paste, Sriracha, and liquid aminos (or more Tamari). Stir and cook on low.
- Last, set aside to cool while you make the sauce.
The lentil mixture can be made at least two days before and stored in the fridge.
An Alternative to Fish Sauce
Traditional Thai recipes typically call for fish sauce. A no-go for vegans and vegetarians. So I started looking for a different way to bring out that umami flavor in my Thai cooking.
Have you heard of liquid aminos? It’s an umami flavor builder and an excellent ingredient in vegetarian and vegan cooking because it’s a genius substitute for fish sauce. I read about it on America’s Test Kitchen, and since then, I’ve been using it in Thai recipes. It works beautifully. Coconut aminos also work well!
PRO Tip: Look for French Lentils in the bulk bins for the freshest selection and best value.
At a Glance: How to Make Peanut Sauce
Oh. My. Goodness. The peanut sauce!
…you may want to make extra. It’s a bit spicy and salty, but not too much, with a nice peanutty flavor. The garlic and ginger play off each other while the maple syrup yields a hint of sweetness which balances the spicy. Here’s how to make it:
- First, in a food processor, add the peanut butter, miso paste, garlic, ginger, lime juice, Sriracha, maple syrup, and about three tablespoons of hot water, just enough to thin.
- Last, process until smooth, adding additional water to adjust consistency. The sauce should be pourable and smooth but not runny.
The sauce can be made in a food processor or whisked in a bowl. If using crunchy peanut butter, I use a food processor to break down the peanuts. Make the lettuce wrap sauce ahead, at least two days in advance, if needed. Drizzle it on everything!
- Packing it out for Lunch: If lettuce wraps seem too fussy or you’d rather pack this out for lunch and eat it with a fork, these lettuce wraps easily turn into a salad. Chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces and combine with the filling and toppings. Dress it with peanut sauce.
- Meal prep ready! Make the lentil filling and lettuce wrap sauce at least two days in advance and store in the fridge separately in lidded containers. Assemble when ready to enjoy.
- How to Serve: these are fun shared family style with fillings and toppings in separate bowls assembly line style. Share the filling warm, room temperature or chilled
More Thai Inspired Recipes to Love
- Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
- Thai Ginger Garlic Noodle Bowls
- Thai Vegetable Fried Rice with Cashews
- Forbidden Rice Salad with Mango and Creamy Coconut Dressing
- Thai Red Curry with Eggplant
Vegan Thai Lentil Lettuce Wraps Recipe
For the Filling:
- 3/4 cup (160 grams) French Green Lentils
- 2 1/2 cups (572 grams) Water
- 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil use toasted for extra flavor or regular
- 8 ounces (200 grams) Shiitake Mushrooms
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) Purple Onion small dice
- 1 teaspoon Grated Ginger *see note
- 1 teaspoon Grated Garlic *see note
- 1 1/2 Tbs Tamari
- 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons Prepared Thai Red Curry Paste
- 1 teaspoons Sriracha
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Liquid Aminos or more Tamari
For the Sauce:
- 1/4 cup (70 grams) Peanut Butter smooth or chunky
- 1 tablespoon White Miso Paste
- 1 teaspoon Grated Garlic*
- 1 teaspoon Grated Ginger*
- 1 Lime juiced
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha + more to taste
- 1 teaspoon Maple Syrup
- 3-5 Tbs Hot Water increase or decrease depending on consistency
For the Wraps:
- 1 Bibb Lettuce or butterhead, one large head.
- 1 cup (100 grams) Snow Peas or Snap Peas trimmed and sliced into 1/4" pieces on the bias**
- 1 cup (75 grams) Carrots julienne or grated, about two carrots
- 3 tablespoons Scallions green parts sliced thin on the bias, about two scallions
- Sesame Seeds
- Thai Basil and/or Cilantro
- Lime wedges
For the Filling:
- In a small sauce pot add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil, stir then simmer on medium low for about 25-27 minutes. When done, the lentils will be soft but still firm enough to hold their shape. Set aside, unlidded to cool and steam off a bit. There still should be a few tablespoons of water left when you add the lentils to the mushrooms.
- While the lentils are simmering, destem the mushrooms and slice the caps thin. The stems tend to be tough so discard them. Add the sesame oil to a large saute pan and heat on medium high until shimmering. Add the onion and saute for about two minutes, or until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium-low for 10-15 minutes until golden. Allow the mushrooms to set in the pan for 2-3 minutes at a time, without stirring to get a bit of a sear on them. About two minutes before the mushrooms are done, toss in the ginger and garlic. Stir for just about a minute.
- To the onion and mushroom mixture add the tamari, maple syrup, curry paste, Sriracha, and liquid aminos. Stir and cook on low for 2-3 minutes to incorporate the flavors. Add the lentils to the mushroom mixture and stir to incorporate. Add a splash of water if the mixture seems dry. Stir. Remove from heat. Taste for seasoning adjustment and add a few pinches of salt if necessary. A squeeze of lime juice is nice here, but is optional.
For the Sauce:
- In a food processor (or you can simply whisk the ingredients together), add the peanut butter, miso paste, garlic, ginger, lime juice, Sriracha, maple syrup and 3 tablespoons of hot water. Process until smooth, adding additional water if needed to adjust consistency. The sauce should be pourable and smooth but not runny.
- Rewarm the lentil mixture if desired or serve the filling at room temperature or chilled. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons full of filling in the bottom of a piece of lettuce. Top with snow peas, carrots, scallions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Spoon the sauce over the wrap and garnish with leaves of fresh Thai basil and/or cilantro. Serve with a wedge of lime, more sauce for drizzling and Sriracha on the table.
- Store lentils and toppings separately in the fridge in lidded containers for up to three days.