Vegan Lettuce Wraps – Korean inspired!
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These vegan lettuce wraps are inspired by Korean ssam, which are basically like little lettuce tacos!
The idea is that you lay out all the fillings, then assemble them as you please in a lettuce leaf and enjoy. They make a super fun DIY lunch or snack to enjoy with friends or family.
We have chosen crispy tofu, veggies and pickled beetroot for our easy lettuce wraps, but you are free to get creative with them!
Ssam-pling a Korean recipe: vegan lettuce wraps!
So what are the Korean lettuce wraps that inspired our vegan lettuce wraps?
A traditional Korean ssam recipe contains meat, which is then topped with garlic and ssamjang. Ssamjang is a thick spicy paste made of soy paste, chilli paste, sesame oil, garlic and green onions.
In fact, ssam actually means ‘wrap’ and ‘jang’ means sauce so ‘ssamjang’ means ‘wrap sauce’!
Our recipe does not use ssamjang, as it can be hard to get hold of outside of Korea, unless you live near a Korean supermarket. We have recommended soy sauce and sriracha instead, but of course, if you can get hold of ssamjang, you should certainly try it!
Fun fact: ssam actually dates back to roughly the year 918, which is when the first records of such a dish are found!
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Light as a….lettuce – the perfect weight loss wraps
These healthy lettuce wraps fit in perfectly with a weight loss meal plan as a light lunch or dinner (they’re one of our favorite low fat vegan recipes).
The wonderful thing about this healthy asian lettuce wrap recipe is that, unlike most bread based wraps, these ones are light as anything.
At 370 calories per serving, these make a very light lunch. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend going below 370 calories for any meal, because it simply won’t be doing its job – filling you up!
We know that ‘low-calorie’ foods are lauded by ‘diet culture’, but this is complete nonsense! Weight loss happens when you have a slim calorie deficit, but that doesn’t mean the less calories the better!
Calories are not the enemy – they are just a measure of how much energy your food is giving you. You need enough calories to have enough energy to function healthily and not be hungry.
So while you will have to cut down calories a little bit in order to lose weight, you still need to consume a certain amount. Find out more by checking out our vegetarian weight loss course!
These vegetarian lettuce wraps hit just the right balance.
Info on Tofu!
Tofu is kind of a key player in our vegan lettuce wraps, and definitely an ingredient worth getting into for anyone who has cut out meat!
Tofu is often accused of being bland, but our Korean tofu recipe is anything but that! Tossing it in cornstarch and frying it gives it a wonderful rich, fried taste and crispy texture. The flavour of the pickles, soy sauce and sriracha jazz it all up!
Furthermore, tofu plays an important role in providing the protein content of this dish. One serving contains 15g protein!
Protein is super important for general health, as protein provides the building blocks of cells.
However, it is doubly important to get enough protein if you are trying to lose weight, as protein rich foods suppress the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. In simpler terms: protein makes you feel full!
- ⅓ cup rice
- ½ cup cucumber (sliced)
- ¼ cup green onion (sliced)
- 1 small romaine lettuce (cleaned)
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- Cook rice according to the package instructions.⅓ cup rice
- In a small bowl add the rice vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Mix until the solids have dissolved. Add the sliced beetroot and reserve until needed.¼ cup rice vinegar, ¼ cup water, ½ tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 2 oz beetroot, pre-cooked
- Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes. Cover cubes with a kitchen towel and press them with the help of a flat plate. Do it several times until you feel most moisture has come out of them.10 oz firm tofu
- Season tofu heavily with salt. Then coat them evenly with the cornstarch. Tip: Add tofu and start into a container, lid on top and shake = wonderfully coated cubes!¼ cup cornstarch
- In a medium sized non-stick pan, heat the vegetable oil. Sear tofu from all sides. Allow each site to become quite browned and crispy. This will take anywhere from 10-15 minutes. If necessary, add an extra tbsp of oil to the pan.1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Serve lettuce leaves, cooked rice, sliced cucumber, green onion, bean sprouts, pickled beets and crispy tofu. Eat by creating little wraps of lettuce filled with all the components. Season with soy sauce and sriracha.½ cup cucumber, ¼ cup green onion, 1 small romaine lettuce, ½ cup bean sprouts, Soy sauce, Sriracha
- If you don’t find bean sprouts, so be it. I found store bought pickled beets, so I skipped the ‘home pickling’ bit.
- If tofu is not your thing, any meat replacement will work here too. Or cooked lentils!