Ladies and gentleman, lett-uce not forget to nourish ourselves with nutritious plant-based foods, including this beautiful fresh lettuce and our delicious friends, teriyaki and tempeh. It’s the time of year to enjoy fresh lettuce, as the nights are still cool but the days have a higher sun and some warmer temperatures (…sometimes). Lettuce is thriving, and so should we! Why not celebrate the spring season with some gorgeous lettuce wraps for dinner? It seemed like a grand idea to me.
Lettuce wraps always remind me of PF Chang’s – an iconic appetizer on the menu of the popular chain Chinese restaurant – but their wraps are filled with ground chicken. Back in my omnivore days, I was really into that, but now, I’m into finding a vegan solution. You’ll notice I said vegan “solution” because I’m trying to avoid saying the word “substitution“, as I want to encourage the idea that the vegan option should be considered the rule, not the exception. Who’s with me? But I digress.
Tempeh is always my go-to ingredient when I am trying to vaguely imitate ground meat, mostly because it crumbles well while still keeping its form, and takes on the flavors of whatever sauce you’re using. If you’ve never heard of tempeh, it is made of fermented soybeans and has been eaten in Asia (specifically Indonesia) for hundreds of years. I’m very grateful because it was just what I needed to fill these lettuce wraps.
1 cup white rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 green peppers
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 inch chunk fresh ginger
1 package tempeh
1/2 jar sesame teriyaki marinade
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1-2 grated carrots
1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce
To start, I put one cup of rice to cook in the rice cooker. Next I chopped the green pepper and onion, and minced the garlic and peeled fresh ginger. Then I cooked the veggies in 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium high until completely softened. Once soft, I crumbled in the package of tempeh and stirred in the sesame teriyaki marinade and soy sauce, and let it all fully heat up and meld together on low heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, I peeled and grated the carrots and separated the lettuce leaves. Once the rice was finished, I assembled the wraps with rice, tempeh mixture, and grated carrots, and topping with another drizzle of the marinade. Delish!