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Tofu Lettuce Cups: Vegan + Gluten-Free

Looking for a quick, healthy weeknight dinner recipe? Check out these Asian-inspired tofu lettuce cups! These lettuce cups are zesty, flavorful, easy to make and even more fun to eat. Full of fresh ingredients like ginger, garlic and cilantro – and wrapped in lettuce (which makes it salad, right?) – this is sure to be a winner. 


  • The water chestnuts give a fabulous crunchy texture to the lettuce cups, so I recommend not skipping them. You can find canned water chestnuts in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
  • Feel free to use other veggies instead of the mushrooms and carrot. Onions, bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, etc. would all be delicious in this recipe. Just be sure to chop the veggies small enough.
  • A “dipping sauce” drizzled on top is certainly not necessary, but it does add a nice flavor. We used the Trader Joe’s Gyoza Dipping Sauce, and it was perfect (note that it is NOT gluten-free). Other great sauces to drizzle on top include teriyaki, hoisin, or even sriracha if you’re looking to amp up the heat.

Bon appetit!


  • 15.5 ounces firm tofu, pressed*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3.5 ounces shiitake mushrooms (about 4 medium-sized mushrooms), diced
  • 1 medium-size carrot, shredded
  • 5 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4-5 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste**
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 inch piece ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Large inner romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • Sliced green onions to serve
  • Dipping sauce of choice to serve, optional

*Before cooking tofu, drain and place between paper towels. Press/squeeze any extra water out. This will allow it to cook up crisply. **Be sure to choose gluten-free soy sauce if making recipe gluten-free.

To Prepare:

  1. Mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and rotate skillet to coat pan. Grabbing a handful of tofu at a time, crumble into pan. Stirring frequently, cook for about 7 minutes or until the tofu begins to get golden. Stir in shiitake mushrooms and grated carrot, saute for another 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Add water chestnuts and cilantro to tofu, mix to combine. Add soy sauce mixture to tofu and stir. Cook on low for another couple of minutes or until everything is well-coated. Adjust seasonings to taste. 
  4. To serve: place romaine lettuce leaf facing up (like a cup) on a plate. Fill the leaf with the tofu mixture. Drizzle sauce on top, if desired. Eat right away and enjoy!

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