I had such a great time in Rouxbe’s Professional Plant-Based Certification program that I finished in half of the allotted time. I learned a lot, and I created quite a few of my own recipes. This dish was for a project towards the end of the course. The assignment was to cook a dish using tempeh with a flavor profile from another area of the globe. I love Thai peanut sauce (a lot), so decided to take my dish to that area of the world. Rather than create a standard stir-fry, I opted for Thai Tempeh Lettuce Wraps.
Back when I worked in an office, we would go out to eat for lunch on Fridays. We almost always went to one of those chain restaurants that are so ubiquitous across the U.S. Without fail, one of my coworkers would always order some sort of lettuce wrap. Their plate would be full of bright green lettuce leaves and a multitude of colorful vegetables, along with a pile of some sort of ground meat. They would assemble their wraps and cheerfully chew their lunch, while I watched and secretly wondered why no one was offering a meat-free version of this dish. Lettuce wraps just seen to scream, “Vegan!”
So, I created my own Thai Tempeh Lettuce Wraps, using crumbled tempeh and hearty mushrooms. I’m a sucker for spicy peanut sauce, and it pairs perfectly with tempeh. If I had my own chain restaurant, these wraps would definitely be on the menu.
Thai Tempeh Lettuce Wraps are perfect for lunch, and they make a great appetizer or light dinner.
Thai Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 8 ounces tempeh
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 pound crimini or button mushrooms coarsely chopped
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated or minced
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste or more, to taste
- 1 head bibb or leaf lettuce carefully separated into individual leaves
- 1 small carrot julienned
- 1 red bell pepper julienned
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- ¼ cup peanuts toasted and crushed
- Sea salt
Add the stock to a large pan over medium heat, and add the full block of tempeh. Allow to simmer for about half an hour.
Remove the tempeh from the pan and allow to cool
Over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil to a pan and then add the diced onion. Cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is fragrant and lightly browned.
Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook until the mushrooms have softened and they have released their liquid.
Crumble the tempeh and add it to the pan. Cook until the mushroom liquid has been absorbed, stirring frequently.
While the tempeh and mushrooms are cooking, whisk together the coconut milk, peanut butter, agave, garlic, ginger, tamari, lime juice, and garlic chili paste in a small bowl.
Add the sauce to the pan and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the sauce has cooked thoroughly and thickened. Taste and add more salt, if desired.
Serve the wraps by placing a lettuce leaf on a plate. Place some of the tempeh mushroom mixture in the middle of the leaf and top with the red pepper, carrot, scallions and peanuts.