These vegetarian (and easily vegan) lettuce wraps are similar to the version served at Thai restaurants, but free of harmful additives like MSG. Crunchy pecans lend a hearty, almost meat-like texture to these wraps. Butter lettuce provides the perfect base for these appetizers, but if you can’t find any, try substituting cabbage leaves carefully pulled off the smallest green cabbage you can buy. Recipe yields about 6 modest wraps, so multiply as needed for a bigger crowd or party.
1⁄4 cup tamari
1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons honey, to taste
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1⁄2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup raw pecan halves, briefly pulsed in a food processor
Wraps and garnishes
1 head butter lettuce, individual leaves carefully removed
Garnishes: Torn cilantro leaves and red pepper flakes, optional
Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, honey, vinegar, ginger and garlic until well blended.
Prepare the filling: In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the carrot, celery, and onion and cover with the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then cover and allow the vegetables to cook until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the lid and increase the heat, bringing the sauce to a boil. Allow the sauce to boil until the liquid has condensed and almost evaporated (this took about 15 to 20 minutes for me), then remove from heat. Add the pulsed pecan pieces and stir well to coat. Let the mixture marinate for 5 minutes, then scoop into butter lettuce leaves and top with cilantro and red pepper flakes, if you’d like. Serve immediately.