Chang’s & Shirataki Style Lettuce Wraps

Our family has gotten pretty hooked on lettuce wraps – we love the vegetarian ones at P.F. Chang’s, but prefer to make our own version at home. Here’s a quick overview of the way we do it – if you make something similar, let me know your spin! And by the way: check out the next post on Asian seasonings, sauces and resources. Obviously, any true Asian cook could shoot a million holes in my style – I’m not an expert. This is just how we like to wrap and roll at our house!

Step one: find a very small child to bring all of her worldly possessions into the kitchen, placing all of them right underfoot as you begin to work with exceptionally hot cooking oil.

20120808-223451.jpgWith that accomplished, move on to actually preparing the meal while attempting to not trip on said child.

I’ve got two variations below, but here are a few things in common with both: I heat sesame oil in a stainless wok (read about those in the next post) and add a substantial amount of minced garlic. I used fresh bulbs via the garlic press for years and still keep it around, but let’s just say that my family really likes garlic, and I like to add it to the pan as quickly as my cooking oil, so I keep a bulk jar of minced garlic in the fridge.

20120808-223620.jpgDice the vegetables into small cubes no matter which version you go with, and add them to the wok or cooking pan from most to least firm. I use good quality (and very inexpensive!) spices from the local Asian market or Pearl River Market (more in the next post). You would typically stir-fry all the vegetables at medium high after pre-heating the wok and the cooking oil.

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20120808-223904.jpgVersion 1: Chang’s Style Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps

  • Sesame oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Julienne carrots
  • Diced eggplant
  • Diced water chestnuts
  • Diced mushrooms
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sesame seeds

Version 2: Shirataki Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps

  • Sesame oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Diced zucchini & yellow squash
  • Diced mushrooms
  • Chopped green onions
  • Shirataki tofu noodles (pre-boil or microwave per package instructions)
  • Sesame seeds

As an aside, Shirataki tofu noodles are enthusiastically recommended by Hungry Girl – read a bit more here and try working these healthy noodles into other dishes!

20120808-224055.jpgWith either approach, prep and chop the vegetables in order as you add them. I find that if you heat the oil while chopping the firmest vegetable and add it, the appropriate time to add each of the less firm ingredients is also about the amount of time needed to cook. In other words, start the oil and garlic heating and dice the squash. Let it cook with an occasional quick stir while dicing the mushrooms, and so on.

Other than the sesame oil and spices (I like oriental white pepper and ginger), I don’t add anything else while cooking except a small amount of lower sodium Kikkoman soy sauce. Also, I prefer some browning for flavor in the vegetables. A good wok or stainless pan will always be easy to clean up no matter how bad it looks!20120808-224232.jpgIf you’re going with the shirataki version, add the noodles at the last minute. With either dish, I usually add sesame seeds just before serving, and we often add cashews to the Chang’s-style version.

20120808-224353.jpgServe with washed iceberg or green leaf lettuce for wrapping – prep that in advance to drain while you stir fry the vegetables. I let my kids have some La Choy sweet & sour sauce with these. They are eating an entire plate of vegetables, for Pete’s sake, so I don’t sweat the sugar (no high fructose corn syrup!) in this small additional treat, which has made lettuce wraps one of their favorite meals!

This is a pretty light meal, so I’ll usually serve some edamame, brown rice and/or egg rolls with it. I’ve made my own egg rolls, but there are plenty of healthy and good options in the freezer section – if you read ingredients carefully, they’re a great and easy addition. My husband sometimes uses some Thai sriracha sauce or Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce with both the lettuce wraps and the egg rolls.

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20120808-224423.jpgHope you enjoy – and let me know your variation!

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6 comments

  1. This looks SO yummy! Of course the probability of my “I’m not a picky eater” husband actually trying these is WAYYYYYYY down. Perhaps I need to find a man conference he can attend for a weekend and I can make these for myself!

    1. Yes, Jules – you need to ship him off occasionally so you can eat and drink what you please! Or just come to my house. 🙂

  2. lisamullis · · Reply

    I’ve attempted to use the Shiratake noodles in a few dishes with limited success but this recipe looks so yummy. I’ll have to give them another try.

    1. Hey Lisa! They are definitely an acquired taste. I love them, but I like just about anything Asian.

      I was just thinking that spaghetti squash innards would make a good and flavorful substitute… hmm, may have to try!

      Thanks for reading!

  3. […] As with any effort in the kitchen, the right tools (but not an over-the-top arsenal) can make all the difference.  My Mom bought me a really high quality stainless steel wok a few years later, and I always use it to stir fry.  Here it is in action during prep of minced garlic in sesame oil for my lettuce wraps post from last month: […]

  4. Dandq2 · · Reply

    Love the idea of these. Made some tonight before finding this online. I sort of made mine up: same ingredients with yours but used water chestnuts and red bell pepper and made mine paleo with some lean minced chicken. I also chopped up the shirataki after dry frying it and added it to the mixture. My 9yr old who hates the texture of lettuce gobbled it up as I explained the lettuce was a tortilla! LOL. Very filling.

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