Well, I had the greatest time soaking in Yellowstone’s scenery over the last five days, but I’m glad to be home with my Cookie girl. I felt a little pang of dog-owner guilt every time I saw a wagging tail in Yellowstone. I’m trying to make it up to her with extra walks and quality time this weekend.
These fresh lettuce wraps are coming to you from Megan Gilmore’s brand new cookbook, titled Everyday Detox: 100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, and Lose Weight Naturally. Megan, also known online as The Detoxinista, is a nutritionist who actually grew up in my neighborhood! Her cookbook is full of sound nutrition advice and over 100 super simple, whole-foods focused recipes, all geared toward cleaning up your diet and improving digestion. Almost all of them are gluten free and vegetarian, and I found quite a few to dog ear.
I couldn’t resist the sound of these fresh lettuce wraps, which reminded me of the lettuce wraps I’ve eaten at P.F. Chang’s in a former life. Her wraps are vegetarian and gluten free, requiring only a few basic ingredients. She used raw pecans instead of meat, which are totally perfect after a five-minute marinade with cooked carrots, celery, onion and a savory, condensed tamari-honey sauce.
My only changes were to add some torn cilantro and red pepper flakes at the end, which are optional. I like my savory-sweet appetizers to lean toward savory and found these to be a little too sweet for my preferences, so I listed a range from half to the full of amount of honey below. I’m going to have to throw a party so I can serve these to my friends! I know they’ll be a hit.
Cuisinart 7-Cup Food Processor
Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 1.5 Qt. Covered Saucepan
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Thai-Style Lettuce Wraps
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: About 6 wraps 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: Asian
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 ½ 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.
Recipe minimally adapted from Everyday Detox: 100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health, and Lose Weight Naturally by Megan Gilmore, with permission.
Make it vegan: Replace the honey with maple syrup.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use gluten-free tamari rather than another variety of soy sauce.
Make it soy free: Replace the tamari with coconut aminos.
▸ Nutrition Information
I love this healthier version of those addictive lettuce wraps! What a perfect summer meal!
I will make this soon. Sounds great?
Thanks, Nan. Hope you love them!
Tessa | Salted Plains
These sound delicious! I can’t wait to hear more about your Yellowstone adventure!
These look awesome! Love your blog – have found so many great recipes to get my family eating healthy and tasty, and even easy! Thank you!
Anyway, wondered if you had a nut free (and soy and gluten free) alternative idea for the pecans? We have allergies here. Do you think sunflower seeds would work here?
Thanks so much!
Hi Sarah, so glad to hear you’re enjoying my recipes! Hmmm. Yes, sunflower seeds might work! I’ll let you know if I think of anything else!
I use cauliflower for taco filling and it might work well for this!
Homemade & Yummy
These sound great! I LOVE Thai food, and having a healthier version is a good thing!!
This sounds so delicious, I love using cabbage or lettuce to make wraps – so much fresher than bread ones!
These look great! I will be making them soon. Just pinned them.
Thanks, Michelle! Please let us know how they turn out for you!
Megan @ Detoxinista
Wow, you made them look so beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing, Kate. I hope we’ll get to meet up the next time I’m in Kansas!
Thank you for sharing your book with me, Megan! Such an accomplishment. Definitely let me know when you’re in town, please!
I am looking forward to trying this. My kids love the tradition lettuce wraps but my husband and I aren’t eating meat so I’m looking for an alternative for us. This is on my list for this week
You just saved me from eating a whole lot of cinnamon swirl bread for lunch. I just got this post and made half a recipe for lunch. I can’t eat Thai food without a spritz of lime juice and a few peanuts on top completed the yummy healthy lunch. Thank you and also to Detoxinista!
How perfect! Your version sounds terrific, Janet.
OMG. Lettuce wraps are my kryptonite!!
Becky Winkler (A Calculated Whisk)
I thought these were going to involve tofu, and was pleasantly surprised to see pecans! I bet the texture is great.
These look deliciously healthy. Can’t wait to try them. Thank you.
Laura (Tutti Dolci)
I love lettuce wraps, perfect summer meal!
These sound amazing, I can’t wait to make them. I may try them made with brown and wild rice too. Thanks.
That’s a great idea! Thanks, Valerie!
Bronnie - Maid In Australia
I love these. Except if I make them for my son, who is allergic to tree nuts, I would have to substitute something for the pecans. What do you suggest? Thanks.
Bronnie, that’s a great question. I bet that adding some cooked brown rice would be a great sub.
Bronnie - Maid In Australia
Good idea! They would taste nutty too. Thanks x
Brown rice with some water chestnuts for texture, bet that would be yum
I’ve tried all three diets- veganism, vegetarianism, and a meat diet and I’ve always felt the healthiest with a vegan diet. Eating meat always made my energy levels decline and milk and eggs did the same but to a lesser degree. Plenty of protein can be found in so many natural vegan sources so the myth that vegans don’t get enough protein is wrong too. Keep up your good work.
Glad you’ve found what works best for you, Corey! I’ve been a vegetarian for five years and I think I’ll stick with it indefinitely.
this looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it. I live in a semi-rural area, what should I do if I can’t find Raw pecans? I’d love to hear any substitutions that work. Thanks!
Hi Allie! I’d substitute peanuts or walnuts. Hope you can find those!
Just looking at them makes me hungry :) Beautiful food!
Wow great post perfect meal indeed Thanks for sharing
These sound absolutely delicious and I just know I am going to love them. Thanks for such great recipes :-)
bev @ bevcooks
GORGEOUS gorgeous. Those pecans, are you kidding me? Yes.
Hey! I made this for tea last night and it was delicious! I love the bulk from the pecans rather than using mushrooms. I used soy sauce which made it too strong – next time I will head to an Asian food store and pick up tamari.
I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!!
Thanks, Claire! Glad to hear it! I really prefer the flavor of reduced-sodium tamari to all the other soy sauces, so I hope that does the trick for you next time.
I feel like I would eat so many of these, they would pretty much qualify as a main meal, not an appetizer! Love that you used pecans in the filling..not something you see too often!
Hi, how do you eat this at home? Do you just serve it by itself or do you pair it with something else? Do you have tips on how to make a vegetarian menu? I want to be vegetarian, but I’m at a loss on how to plan a menu.
Hi Sylvia! That’s a really good question. I just ate these as a meal, but that’s pretty typical for me since I’m developing recipes all the time! I think the first step in planning a vegetarian menu is to forget the protein/starch/vegetable formula. Often, in a well-balanced vegetarian main dishes, those components are all mixed together in one dish! I’d suggest starting on my dinner recipes page. Pick something hearty and serve it with a big green salad and you should be good to go!
Thank you Kate!
More power to you and your blog. Thanks for making vegetarian food look yummy and easy to do. I will try your suggestion.
These were so good I didn’t even get a photo before they were demolished at my potluck. Several colleagues asked for the recipe! Amazingly good and suprisingly simple to make. Couldn’t get them to “wrap” per se, but “fold” was still good.
Thank you, Jill! Delighted to hear it!
Thanks Kate! Will try your suggestion.
This was so delicious!! I accidentally completely pulverized the pecans but decided to use them anyway, and it was still amazing. I used romaine as the lettuce cups and couldn’t have asked for a better dinner. Thanks for such a great recipe!
Thank you, Jen! So glad you enjoyed them!
Sarah | Well and Full
These are calling my name right now!! I used to love the lettuce wraps at PF Changs, and I’ve been searching for a vegan version for a while!! So this was a perfect find :)
Perfect! Enjoy! :)
That is the most beautiful lettuce I’ve ever seen!! I´ve been craving lettuce wraps for a while and this is the kick that I needed to make them
I made these last night with one alteration: to make them more of a meal I added sauteed cubed tofu. Delicious! I would have never thought of using pecans like this. Thanks for the idea and the tasty recipe!
Awesome! Thanks, Elizabeth! I bet tofu made them more filling. Great idea.
I made these last night. I thought it looked like too many vegetables for the small amount of sauce, so I doubled the sauce. That was a big mistake on my part since it was a bit strong. So since I loved them anyway, I’m going to follow the recipe. They are really good (but folks, follow the recipe)!! :-)
Thank you, Karen! :)
Was expecting more of a Thai taste. Flavor isn’t bad just not what I was looking for. It taste exactly like honey roasted carrots.
Sorry to hear that, Ariel!
I have to agree with the previous comment of it tasting like honey roasted carrots. I had made a double recipe, because I wasn’t sure if 6 wraps would be enough for dinner for 3, and used 1/4 cup of honey (2 tablespoons per recipe). I had also used tamari with 50% less sodium, so maybe if it had more salt it would have balanced the sweet. Overall, I felt the sauce needed something else.
Hi Kate! I stumbled upon your blog via a quick google search of “vegetarian lettuce wraps,” and I’m so glad I did! It turned out this recipe called for nearly all ingredients that were sitting in my fridge, ready to be used, so this was the perfect meal. I used toasted walnuts instead of pecans, and it was delicious. Thanks for the inspiration!
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Would these go well with the peanut sauce from your Thai mango wraps?
Oh, I love that idea. Probably so!
This was delicious and very easy to make! My boyfriend is allergic to celery so I substituted some cooked faro I had sitting in the fridge and some bell pepper. So yum! It tasted like take-out.
Awesome! And so much healthier, at that. Thanks, Sara!
These were delicious! I made them using the low amount of honey and for my taste, I’d probably up it next time. I just love this blog and your tips and helpful suggestions. Thank you for another great, healthy, easy recipe!
And I forgot to add that they are great with a few peanuts in the wraps!
Aw, thank you, Meg! I’m so glad you enjoyed these.
I have made a ton of Cookie and Kate recipes starting in college, and this one is another fantastic dish. My boyfriend and I are vegetarian and these flavors are just so delicious, and 100% comparable to non-veg lettuce wraps my family used to have. The pecans end up having a meaty texture with a nutty, delicious flavor that I absolutely love. We added extra pecans the second time we made it and it was so good!
Fried the onion then carrot followed by celery in light oil to bring out more flavor for about 5 min. Then added a bit of water and a hint of sauce and scallions and simmered for 15min.
Made the sauce using low sodium soy( That’s all we had) in lesser amount and added siracha and apples to it for more of a bit.
Added the sauce at the end with walnut/ peanut mix, stirred and left covered for a few minutes.
Really good. Thanks!
Mary B Stirrett
I’m in the process of making this for the second time. It is excellent. I shared it with my neighbor and now she keeps bugging me to make more. I like my neighbor so I’m making one for her today.
I double the amount of sauce and save half of it to use to pour over other recipes.
I love it! Thank you for sharing, Mary.
These *are* just like P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps! Really love the inclusion of pecans in this recipe–their texture and meatiness is perfect. Starting prepping the veggies before I realized I was out of tamari, so I MacGyvered a substitute with pantry items, and while it wasn’t vegetarian, the flavor worked. Looking forward to trying this again with tamari or coconut aminos!
This was delicious– thanks for a light and delicious dinner. I cooked some Thai Jasmine rice on the side and with that added to the wraps they were filling enough for dinner….stirred in some green onions and cilantro for color… had some Sriracha on the side for those who like spicey. :-)
These are awesome! We did a few changes second time around – only 1 Tbsp honey, added a generous squeeze of lime before serving, and just the teeniest tiniest drop of sesame oil to the sauce.
I just made this with my husband and OH MY, they were delicious. We have a tradition to have an “appe-dinner” every few months were we just eat appetizers for dinner. Today we decided to try these wraps and they are definitely a keeper! To make them slightly more filling, I added about 1/3 cup of chickpeas to the stuffing. So good! Can’t wait to make again.