These healthy Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps with a gluten free lentil walnut filling and a creamy peanut sauce will blow your mind! They’re packed with umami flavor and make for a quick (30 minute), easy and delicious weeknight dinner.
Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps: the answer to a healthy, quick weeknight dinner
One of my favorite parts about being a food blogger is that we try so many recipes that I may not have otherwise made for myself. Outside of my job, I’m definitely a creature of habit. I usually cook the same few recipes, mostly out of convenience and a lack of energy after spending most of my day around food.
When I have the time (and motivation), I love trying new recipes, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t happen often enough.
However, these easy vegan Asian lettuce wraps are upping my weeknight dinner game. The wraps, full of protein-packed quinoa and lentils, only take 30 minutes. They’re perfect for a healthy weeknight meal, and they’re certainly not lacking in flavor!
Plus, lettuce wraps are a great DIY dinner to please everyone at your kitchen table. You can change up the filling and toppings with so many different spices, sauces, vegetables and even proteins.
How to make Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps
These vegan Asian lettuce wraps are ridiculously delicious. Every bite gets the perfect amount of salty/umami richness, crunch and creaminess, all wrapped in a soft, buttery lettuce leaf.
We make the filling with lentils, walnuts and quinoa. These vegetarian protein sources team up to create a meaty texture similar to ground beef. They’re also just as filling as animal protein and provide plenty of healthy fats and fiber!
Tamari, sesame oil and Chinese 5 spice powder add a huge flavor boost. You might have a hard time convincing some that these healthy lettuce wraps are, in fact, vegan!
We also add some crunch to the lettuce wraps with lightly marinated cabbage and thinly sliced carrots. These veggies add crunch, color, and a vinegar-y punch that cuts through the richness of the vegan filling and sauce.
Speaking of sauce, I’ll be honest. To me, the peanut sauce is the best part of this entire dish. It’s silky smooth, nutty, rich and the perfect consistency for drizzling. If you’re anything like me, though, you’ll probably just pour half of the bowl on top of your lettuce wraps. (There’s nothing wrong with that, right?!)
To make the peanut sauce, simply whisk all of the ingredients together. When you first start whisking, the texture might look a little strange, oily and thick. Don’t panic – it will all work out with a bit of vigorous whisking. If all else fails, add more water to thin it out. You can always taste and adjust the seasoning if need be!
If you end up with extra peanut sauce (something that’s never happened at our house), repurpose it as a decadent dipping sauce for fresh carrots, cucumbers and other sliced veggies.
Simple lettuce wrap recipe substitutions for dietary needs
If your family, like ours, has multiple dietary preferences/restrictions, you can easily customize this recipe to fit most diets. My husband is most definitely not vegan (although he only eats chicken and turkey).
For his lettuce wraps, I subbed the walnuts, lentils and quinoa with ground chicken. I kept the other ingredients (veggies and peanut sauce) the same. A simple protein swap makes these wraps go the distance at our dinner table. He loves these, and he’s one of the pickiest eaters I know, so I’ll take that as a vote of confidence.
If you need a nut-free version of these healthy vegan lettuce wraps, you can sub the walnuts for sunflower seeds. The texture won’t be quite the same (walnuts are a bit softer), but they still taste great.
The same goes for the creamy peanut sauce. If you need a peanut free dipping sauce, you can sub peanut butter with sunflower seed butter or tahini. Tahini would probably be my first choice, and we especially love this brand.
Finally, the best part: these healthy vegan asian lettuce wraps can be on your dinner table in just about 30 minutes. If you make the lentil walnut filling ahead of time, you can prep these in about 15 minutes. The peanut sauce can also be prepped ahead of time!
Here are a few more quick, healthy and delicious vegan weeknight dinners to add to your menu:
- Quinoa Tabbouleh – add a protein of choice to make an easy, filling meal.
- Spicy Black Bean & Cauliflower Tacos – Our top choice for #TacoTuesday! Repurpose leftover beans on these Loaded Vegan Nachos.
- Roasted Vegetable and Tofu Sheet Pan Dinner – you can use just about any seasonal produce you have on hand.
- Homemade Vegan Ramen – prep the homemade broth ahead of time and get this on the table in 15 minutes. So delicious and comforting!
- Creamy Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta – you can’t ever go wrong with pasta for a quick weeknight dinner.
These Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps with a gluten free lentil walnut filling and a creamy peanut sauce will blow your mind! They’re packed with umami flavor and make for a quick (30 minute), easy and delicious weeknight dinner.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked)
- 1 cup cooked lentils (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup low sodium tamari
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp scallions, chopped
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Purple Cabbage & Carrots:
- 3 cups of purple cabbage, sliced thinly
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots, 2-3 depending on the size
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp low sodium tamari
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1/2–1 tbsp chili oil/sauce
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp grated, fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/4–1/3 cup water
- 1 large head butter lettuce (or other alternative)
- Cilantro and scallions
- Red pepper flakes
Purple Cabbage & Carrots:
- Prepare cabbage and carrots. Add to a large bowl with rice vinegar, salt and coconut sugar. Use hands to massage cabbage and evenly coat. Set aside.
- Cook quinoa and lentils according to package directions.
- Add the the oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. After a few minutes, add the green onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add all of the other filling ingredients to the pan and stir really well.
- Sauté over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust spices as desired.
- Whisk together all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Wash lettuce cups and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Add sliced carrots and cabbage, lentil quinoa walnut filling, peanut sauce and garnishes. Enjoy!
To make peanut free, swap peanut butter with sunflower seed butter or tahini.