A while ago, a friend told me that he made himself some spicy tofu lettuce wraps. I never really got the full recipe from him, but he did tell me generally what he used to make them. I made some slight ingredient modifications and created my own recipe during Lent one year.
Now, I’m not a proponent of veganism by any stretch of the imagination, so I just want to make that clear. Nonetheless, this recipe is low in calories, tasty, and surprisingly filling. The spices give the tofu a real kick and the baked, toasted texture of the tofu gives you the illusion of eating something heartier than simple bean curd. This meal is a pleasant surprise for even meat lovers like me.
Total Calories: 527
Makes 6-8 rolls at 88 to 66 calories per wrap.
- 12 -14 oz. of Lite, Firm Tofu (about 45 cal. per 3 oz. or 203 cal. total)
- 3 oz. shitake mushrooms (about 50 cal.)
- 1 bunch of scallions (about 48 cal. in six scallions)
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce to pull 7-8 large leaves (about 2 cal. per leaf or 16 cal. total)
Note: You can also use Romaine or another lettuce, but iceberg has large leaves that are ideal for wrapping.
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (about 30 cal.)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (about 87 cal.)
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable or sesame oil (about 40 cal.).
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (about 53 cal.)
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (this adds a good amount of spicy heat)
- Cutting board
- Wooden cooking spoon
- Paper towels
- Tablespoon and teaspoon measurements
- Large skillet
- Large baking sheet
- Large and small bowls
- Aluminum foil
- Large plate
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Open and drain one container of Lite Firm Tofu
- Slice the tofu into 1/2 or 1/4 inch slices.
- Then slice the tofu into 1/2 or 1/4 inch cubes.
- Cover the tofu with paper towels and lightly press down to absorb the extra moisture. You may need to repeat this a step couple of times to really get a lot of the excess liquid.
- After blotting the tofu with paper towels, transfer the tofu into a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and optional red pepper. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly, but make sure not to mix too hard or you will pulverize the tofu.
- Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and then spread the tofu over the baking sheet.
- Place the tofu into the oven for 25 minutes.
- While the tofu is cooking, dice up some shitake mushrooms (I bought mine pre-diced) and roughly chop the scallions.
- Put 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil into a skillet set over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms to the skillet once the pan is hot.
- Once the mushrooms get a little bit of color on them (maybe after 5 minutes or so) then add in the scallions. Sautee them together until the scallions just start to wilt and remove the skillet from the heat and place the mixture into a small bowl for serving.
- After cooking the tofu for 25 min., take it out and mix the tofu so that most of the pieces are flipped over. Then place the tofu back in the oven for 5 or ten more minutes until they are golden brown.
- Remove the tofu and let it cool a bit before transferring it over to a bowl for serving. Add in two teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds and mix well. You can also try adding some crushed up peanuts to change up the flavor even more, but I didn’t go that far.
- Take a head of washed iceberg lettuce and carefully peel off layers of leaves while trying to keep each layer as intact as possible. The larger and more intact the leaf, the better it is for wrapping. If you rip a couple of leaves, you can always use a couple of them together to make one wrap.
- Take a lettuce leaf and place a heaping tablespoon (or more) of the tofu mixture into the center of the leaf, along with a bit of mushroom and scallion.
- Roll up the leaf around the mixture and tuck in the sides to fully enclose the tofu. Eat them just like that or before rolling them add in a little sriracha sauce for extra kick or dip the wraps into diluted fish sauce. Repeat until you are full of tofu.
This looks delicious. We aren’t vegetarians either but we do cook a lot of meals without meat. Less expensive in the long run!
Agreed! It’s also kind of fun to roll up your food every now and then.
And lettuce is perfect to use when you are trying to be good in the new year.
I love this recipe. Some other modifiers include using fresh ginger, lemongrass, and or canned water chestnuts (for added crunch). Manfuel mentioned peanuts, which I always use for garnish, but some others I’ve used are mint / cilantro and shredded carrots.
Good call on the garnishes. Take it from this guy, folks. He’s the the one that told me about the lettuce wraps in the first place!
I suspect the filling would also be good over rice or noodles (though that would add calories). Still vegan, and maybe a little better than lettuce when it’s four degrees outside and lettuce doesn’t have its usual appeal.
Sure. Goes really well in a fried rice too.
Yo, have you ever had my mom’s deep-fried tofu & fish sauce? Wonder how that would fare as the filling.
Um… you know I’ve had your mom’s deep-fried tofu with fish sauce. It’s really good and, yes, it would do just fine as filling rolled up in lettuce. Definitely a different experience altogether though since it’s fried instead of baked and it has less spices added to it than the tofu in this recipe.
You’re gonna need my mom’s fish sauce recipe.
This looks great! I love vegetarian meals!