Filled with lentils and fresh herbs, these easy vegetarian Thai lettuce wraps make a healthy summer lunch or dinner.
This recipe is a vegetarian version of the popular Thai lettuce wraps called Larb Gai, made from mixed chicken or pork cooked with lime, chillies, fish sauce and fresh herbs. In my easy version – which is actually vegan – I use lentils in place of the meat, together with a few common ingredients as vegetarian substitutions for Thai ingredients.
- Lentils – I use tinned lentils, but you could cook the lentils yourself from dry. Brown or green lentils work well in this dish.
- Miso paste – traditionally fish sauce is used in Thai lettuce wraps, but to get that unami flavour in this vegetarian dish, I use white miso paste.
- Lettuce – crunchy Romaine lettuce works well as a cup to hold the lentil filling; if you want to wrap the filling tightly in lettuce then use a softer lettuce such as butter lettuce.
- Cashews – add a lovely crunchy to the wraps. Use almonds, peanuts, or leave out altogether for a nut free wrap.
- Thai Basil – I love to use Thai Basil in these wraps pictured, as I had alot growing in the garden. If you can’t find Thai basil then use basil mixed with a little dill or coriander.
How to serve Thai lettuce wraps
You can make the lentil filling for these veggie wraps ahead of time, then all you have to do is assemble and serve, which takes a matter of minutes.
Or you could put everything on the table and let everyone assemble their own lettuce cups (which is useful when you have family members with multiple different tastes.) Lay out a pile of lettuce leaves, a bowl of lentils, then the toppings in individual bowls so everyone can top their lettuce wraps how they like.
For these I recommend using crisp Iceberg lettuce, or baby cos or romaine lettuce.
If you want to wrap your lentil filling, use a softer lettuce – like a butter lettuce or Oakleaf.
Use common basil, mixed with a couple of mint leaves, few sprigs of dill, or coriander.
Meal Prep Ideas
You can cook the lentils and keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The cashews can be toasted up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
You can assemble the wraps a few hours ahead, but longer than that the lettuce may start to wilt.
The lettuce wraps are best eaten on the day they are made. However, you can re-heat the lentils and serve over rice, or enjoy as a salad in your lunchbox the next day.
More Vegetarian Asian Recipes
I love creating Vegetarian and vegan versions of Asian classics, here are some of my favourites:
Thai Lettuce Lentil Cups
- 1 lettuce
- ½ tbsp oil
- 1 medium red onion finely diced
- 1-2 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1-2 red chilli finely chopped
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp white miso paste
- 1 carrot julienned*
- Zest ½ lime – or more
- Juice ½ -1 lime to taste
- 50g (⅓ c) cashews
- Bunch fresh mint
- Bunch fresh Thai basil – or basil – or coriander
- 420 g tin cooked lentils
- Dry fry the cashews in frying pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes until golden, shaking the pan.
- Tip out onto a plate then return the frying pan to the heat. Add the oil and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft, add a splash of water if it’s starting to burn.
- Add the carrots, garlic and ginger and chilli.
- Add ¼ tsp oil if needed.
- Cook for 2 minutes then stir through the miso, soy sauce and lentils.
- Turn off the heat. Add the lime zest and juice.
- Finley chop half the mint and half the thai basil, stir this through the letnils.
- Spoon into the lettuce cups – around 8 lettuce leaves, 2 per person.
- Top with the fresh herbs, roughly chop the cashews and sprinkle over those as well as red chilli and a squeeze of lime.
- Serve the lentils in a bowl and cashews, herbs etc in different bowls and let every family member help themselves to what they want.