Vegetable Lettuce Wraps
August 2, 2011

One of the best benefits of learning to cook is being able to replicate your favorite restaurant dishes. Often they employ techniques, flavors, or constructions you don't usually use at home, so they help to expand your skills as well. You can improve upon the dish by making it more to your taste, you can cut out ingredients like sugars and oils to make it substantially healthier, and typically you can save a heap of money. This recipe is a replication of my favorite dish from a certain upscale American-style Chinese restaurant chain. This meaty but meatless vegetable stir-fry hits the key notes of sweet, spicy and salty, while being surrounded by cool, crunchy lettuce. Lettuce wraps are usually served cold for a light and crisp summery dish, but can also be served hot or at room temperature, which makes them great for every season and for occasions like parties and picnics where temperature is hard to control.

Since these Lettuce Wraps are primarily made of vegetables they have lots of fiber, but they also have a good amount of protein and no cholesterol. They have a fair amount of fat and sugar, but the fat is from healthy vegetable oil. Both the sugar and the oil can be reduced and the sugar can be replaced with agave or honey, but keep in mind the caloric information is based on you using all of the special sauce that is served on the side, which you likely won't do. While I enjoy this recipe as a main dish for two people, it also makes a great appetizer for six at 138 calories and 6 grams of fat for each filled leaf. Any of your favorite veggies can be substituted and the amounts adjusted, as long as you end up with around the same volume of stir-fry. I adapted this recipe from the original recipe found here by substituting more vegetables for the chicken and simplifying the sauces. Removing iceberg lettuce leaves without breaking them can be tricky and may take some time to perfect, so make sure to have some extra lettuce on hand. Try to remove the leaves slowly and evenly, and trim off any ragged edges. Push the leaves them up and off, rather than peeling them away.

Vegetable Lettuce Wraps
Todd Wilbur,

[Special Sauce]
14 cup Sugar
12 cup Warm Water
1 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Ketchup
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Red Chili Oil
2 teaspoons Minced Garlic

[Stir Fry]
1 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
12 cup Canned Water Chestnut, drained
12 cup Canned Bamboo Shoots, drained
1 12 cups Fresh Sliced Button Mushrooms
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
14 cup Chopped Yellow Onions
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
6 leaves Iceberg Lettuce

Begin making the special sauce by dissolving the sugar and water in a small bowl. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, chili oil, and garlic. Mix well and refrigerate until needed.

Prepare the stir-fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mince your water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms to around the same size. Bring vegetable oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Add water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, onion and garlic.

Add the stir-fry sauce and sauté the whole mixture, keeping everything moving, for a few minutes or until the vegetables soften. Take care not to burn the sauce or the garlic.

Divide the mixture evenly among the iceberg lettuce leaves and serve the special sauce on the side.

Calories*: 413 Fat*: 18 g Carbs*: 42 g Cholesterol*: 0 mg
Sugar*: 20 g Fiber*: 9 g Protein*: 8 g Servings*: 2 (3 Filled Leaves each)

Ease*: 7/10 Categories: Main Dish, Appetizer
Total Time*: 30 minutes Active Time*: 30 minutes
Kosher: Parve

Calorie Information is for Main Dish servings, not Appetizer.


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