Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps – PF Chang-style Recipe

The first time I visited PF Changs in the theatre district of Boston, was with a large group of friends to see The Lion King musical. Each person in the group thought the next person had made dinner reservations. We ended up at the Asian-style restaurant chain PF Changs as it was our only option for last-minute seating of a large group. The food was fine but the chicken lettuce wraps were pretty awesome.
Asian lettuce cups with tasty vegetarian filing
Over the years I’ve made variations of them at home with ground chicken but I recently had a vegetarian friend over for dinner. I had lettuce wraps in mind but all of the recipes I searched for included tofu. And I’m not a tofu fan. Yes, I’ve had good tofu. No, I still don’t love it.

This got me thinking about mushrooms. A good mushroom has a great meaty flavor and texture, it’s rich in umami and it’s not a “pretending to be meat” option. As luck would have it, there was a great selection of mushrooms in our local Whole Foods in Portland, ME and at the Portland Farmers Market (Wed and Sat).
Wild mushrooms for vegetarian lettuce cups in the style of PF Chang

So here it is. A great recipe for when you have a vegetarian friend over or when you’re just thinking about reducing the amount of meat you eat. Pairs well with a light Chinese beer like Tsingtao or a dryer Riesling like Kung Fu girl. Don’t be alarmed by the length of the ingredients in the recipe, it’s mostly just a bunch of vegetables and some store-cupboard/fridge-door staples!
PF Chang (style) Lettuce Wrap Recipe

Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps in the style of PF Chang

  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Author: Mainely Eating – a Maine Food Blog all about home cooking and fine dining in Maine

Ingredients
~20 oz of mushrooms. I used a mix of white, shitake, oyster and enoki.
3 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 half onion, peeled and finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely diced
1tbsp vegetable oil
A few drops of sesame oil
1-3 cloves of minced garlic (depending on how garlic-y you like things)
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (with a microplane) or finely chopped
2 tbsp rice wine (Mirin)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1-3 tsp sriracha hot sauce (depending on how hot you like it!) plus extra for serving
2 tbsp+ of water (if needed)
1 lime – half of it cut into wedges, half of it juiced
A small handful of roasted, unsalted cashew nut pieces or halves
1 small can (8oz) of sliced or whole waterchestnuts – diced
A large handful of beansprouts plus extra for serving
1 whole head of Bibb, Butter or Iceberg lettuce

As with most Asian-style recipes, the cooking happens pretty quickly so you want to have all of your vegetables chopped and ready to go before you start cooking.

Directions:

  1. Carefully separate the leaves of the lettuce, wash and dry in a salad spinner.
  2. Set up everything ready for serving – lettuce leaves, small dish of sriracha, small dish of beansprouts, small dish of lime wedges
  3. Over medium heat, in a large frying pan or wok, sauté onions, carrots and celery in the vegetable/sesame oil for ~3 minutes until they just start to soften but still have some crunch
  4. Add minced garlic and ginger and cook for another minute, stirring frequently
  5. Add finely chopped mushrooms and cook until they’re soft and starting to just turn golden and smell nuttty
  6. Add rice wine, soy sauce, hoisin and rice wine vinegar and stir thoroughly.
  7. Add cashew nuts and waterchestnuts and cook for 30 seconds
  8. Add enoki mushrooms (if using) and beansprouts. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
  9. Add the lime juice. If the mixture seems dry you can loosen it with a spoon or two of water.
  10. Serve in a warm bowl with lettuce leaves on the side for guests to make their own wraps or put a large spoon of the mushroom mix into each leaf.

This is a fairly forgiving recipe, and you can easily substitute in a different vegetable. Red or yellow bell peppers, raw diced jicama, baby corn, corn kernels are all great options! Scallions are also lovely chopped on the top – I just forgot to buy them 😉 Step by step recipe for Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps

And of course, if you *have* to have meat you could replace the mushrooms (or leave the mushrooms in) and add 1lb of ground chicken or turkey or pork.
Vegetarian lettuce wrap recipe in the style of PF Changs

One thought on “Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps – PF Chang-style Recipe

  1. Pingback: Updated Waldorf Salad Cups Recipe from Andie Mitchell's Cookbook - Cookin Canuck

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