This Copycat PF Changs Vegetarian Lettuce Wrap recipe is not only healthier than the original but so much tastier! Made with crispy tofu, mushrooms, and a flavorful sauce, you won't miss this meat in these flavorful lettuce wraps.
While I call this a PF Changs' copycat recipe, this homemade version of their vegetarian lettuce wraps is better. WAY BETTER!
The tofu is seared to perfection and is perfectly crispy and nothing is over-sauced. These lettuce wraps are not overly salty, soggy, greasy, or mushy--they are absolute perfection.
PF Changs has both chicken and tofu lettuce wraps on its menu. And while both are delicious, I more often opt to make the vegetarian version.
Why tofu over chicken? Not only is tofu more affordable than chicken, the tofu absorbs the flavor of the sauce much better than chicken, making the lettuce wraps more flavorful in my opinion.
Plus, then this recipe is suitable to serve EVERYONE--meat-eaters, vegetarians, and those following a plant-based or vegan diet.
Ingredients Needed for Lettuce Wraps
- Tofu: Be sure to select firm, not silken tofu. Extra Firm tofu is fine as well. For those of you not familiar with where to find tofu, it is typically found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores.
- Mushrooms: I highly suggest opting for rehydrated dried wild mushrooms for the best flavor, but you can use fresh cremini or oyster mushrooms in place of the dried mushrooms.
- Water Chestnuts: Canned water chestnuts are found in the Asian section of your local grocery section. They add incredible crunch and texture to the lettuce wrap filling.
- Sauce: The flavorful lettuce wrap filling sauce is made with Sweet Chili Sauce, minced garlic, grated ginger root, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. It is sweet, spicy, salty, and irresistible. If you don't happen to have Sweet Chili Sauce on hand, use my recipe for making Sweet Chili Sauce OR you can use Hoisin Sauce. Hoisin sauce is much more savory than Sweet Chili Sauce. Personally, I prefer the flavor and balance of the sweet chili sauce.
- Toppings: I love to add sliced green onions for flavor, Chow Mein Noodles for crunch (just like PF Chang's), and a bit of hot sauce for kick.
How to Make Lettuce Wraps
- The first step to preparing lettuce wraps using tofu is to press the tofu to drain off excess liquid. This is as simple as placing the block of firm tofu in between thick paper towels and placing it on a plate or tray and top with a heavy skillet. Let the tofu sit for 20 minutes, changing out the paper towels halfway through if needed.
- Once the tofu is dried out, chop it into ½-inch chunks. Or crumble into small pieces if you prefer the texture to be more like ground meat.
- While the tofu is draining, soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. And mix together the sauce for the lettuce wraps.
- Once the tofu, mushrooms, and sauce are ready, these lettuce wraps come together extremely quickly.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and saute the tofu until golden. Add the mushrooms, water chestnuts, and sauce to the skillet and simmer until just thickened.
- Dish up the tofu mixture into lettuce leave and top with sliced green onions, chow mein noodles, and hot sauce. Serve immediately.
The tofu filling can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat gently in a dry skillet with a bit of water over medium heat until warmed through and then serve on lettuce wraps.
I do not recommend freezing the filling.
When made with soy sauce and chow mein noodles, they are not gluten-free. Use Tamari in place of soy sauce and omit the chow mein noodles for a gluten-free dish.
Many plant-based diets prefer to use no oil in cooking. To make this filling without the oil, you can saute the tofu and veggies in a couple of tablespoons of vegetable broth, pineapple juice (which adds great flavor), or water. Just keep in mind it will be harder to crisp up the tofu. You may want to opt to broil the mixture for a couple of minutes after sauteeing. You will also want to omit the sesame oil from the sauce.
More Vegetarian Asian-Inspired Recipes
- Vegetable Potstickers--Filled with seasoned vegetables and steamed to perfection, these potstickers are another classic Asian hand-held favorite.
- Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls--Crispy, crunchy, and absolutely delicious, these egg rolls are a bit healthier, as they are stuffed with vegetables and baked instead of fried.
- Easy Fried Rice--One of the FASTEST recipes and the best way to use up leftover rice!
- Thai Noodles--In just 15 minutes a simple, pasta dish comes together made with a sweet and savory Thai sauce and tons of veggies.
- Asian Noodle Salad--If you love pasta salad AND Asian flavors, this recipe is for you!
- Spring Rolls--Made with shrimp, fresh vegetables, sweet mangoes, and a delicious peanut dipping sauce, these Spring Rolls are fresh and light.
If you tried these Veggie Lettuce Wraps I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
- 2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms see note
- 2 tablespoons Sweet Chili sauce see note
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu NOT silken!
- 1 (8 ounce) water chestnuts drained and finely chopped
- 2-3 green onions thinly sliced
- 10-12 large lettuce leaves romaine heart leaves or butter lettuce leaves
- ½ cup Chow Mein Noodles optional
- If using dried mushrooms, place the dried mushrooms into a heat-safe bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 20-30 minutes.
- Place the block of tofu between thick paper towels and place onto a plate and top with a heavy skillet or plate and let sit for 20 minutes, changing out the paper towels after 10 minutes if needed.
- In a small bowl, stir together the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.
- Chop up the dried tofu into small ½ inch chunks, alternatively, you can crumble up the tofu into small bits.
- Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu and let saute for 3 minutes to brown and then flip and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Drain off the mushrooms and chop into small pieces and add to the tofu. Saute for another 2-4 minutes, or until the tofu has browned slightly.
- Add the water chestnuts and the sauce, stirring to coat everything evenly with the sauce. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Spoon the tofu mixture into individual lettuce leaves. Top with sliced green onions, chow mein noodles, and Sriracha hot sauce as desired. Serve immediately.
- Dried Mushrooms: In place of the dried mushrooms, feel free to use 5 ounces fresh shiitake or baby cremini mushrooms, finely chopped.
- Sweet Chili Sauce: Use your favorite store-bought sweet chili sauce, my homemade sweet chili sauce, or for a more mild, less spicy sauce, use Hoisin Sauce.
- Leftovers: The tofu filling can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat gently in a dry skillet with a bit of water over medium heat until warmed through.
- Gluten-Free: Use Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce and omit the chow mein noodles.
- Oil-Free: You can saute the tofu and veggies in a couple of tablespoons of vegetable broth, pineapple juice (which adds great flavor), or water. Just keep in mind it will be harder to crisp up the tofu. You may want to opt to broil the mixture for a couple of minutes after sauteeing.