Lettuce wraps are a staple when it comes to Asian cuisine, but they aren’t always the healthiest. The sweet, salty, crunchy and savory sensations are just so hard to resist.
My version, made with mushrooms, water chestnuts, cashews and a homemade hoisin sauce might just beat P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps in flavor, and most definitely in nutrition facts. Get the recipe for these Mushroom Cashew Lettuce Wraps below!
Growing up, my family dined at P.F. Chang’s often. The family-style menu meant that everyone could enjoy something that they liked. Of course, we always started with the chicken lettuce wraps and opted for brown rice instead of white rice. In my mind, these two choices lightened up my overall plate.
In college, the Cheesecake Factory was a go-to restaurant for my friends and I. Here, I would always order the Thai Lettuce Wraps for my meal, thinking this was the healthier option (and that meant I could have more brown bread — any other fans out there?!). To my defense, it probably was given the choices on the menu.
Somehow, the fact that everything was wrapped up in lettuce meant that it is somewhat healthy, right?
Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for the P.F. Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps (per order):
- Calories: 640
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Net Carbohydrates (Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber): 60g
- Sodium: 2060mg
- Sugar: 34g
- Protein: 24g
For comparison, here are the nutrition facts for the Better Than P.F. Chang’s Mushroom Cashew Lettuce Wraps (per serving):
- Calories: 259
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Net Carbohydrates: 18g
- Sodium: 756mg
- Sugar: 10g
- Protein: 7g
I’ve got to be honest and tell you that I’ve never actually looked up the facts until now. It was shocking to me. I know that restaurant food is more often than not going to reflect an imbalance of nutrients, but my go to lettuce cups?!
Don’t worry. I’ve come up with a recipe that will blow your mind with how good they are. We have made this recipe twice in my group cooking classes and THIS is the recipe everyone goes home talking about it.
Mushrooms make up the “meatiness” part of this recipe. They are hearty, absorb the flavors of the sauce like a sponge and are incredibly nutritious. Mushrooms are a fantastic source of B vitamins (hello, energy), fiber and naturally-occuring vitamin D.
Did you know that gourmet mushrooms (like shiitake) are not just fancier, they are higher in antioxidants?
This recipe for Mushroom Cashew Lettuce Wraps includes a homemade version of hoisin sauce that is lower in sodium and sugar, but just as delicious. The main swaps made here are coconut aminos for soy sauce, and coconut sugar (if you choose to add it) instead of cane sugar. Those of you who don’t like coconut, don’t worry. This recipe doesn’t have a coconut taste!
Serve these Mushroom Cashew Lettuce Wraps as a main dish along with steamed vegetables, or as an appetizer if you’re entertaining. You could serve completely plated, or create a build your own lettuce wrap station to make it even more fun!
Note: If you wanted to swap out the mushrooms for chicken, brown 1 pound ground chicken instead of the mushrooms in the recipe, then add the remaining ingredients.
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to make these Mushroom Cashew Lettuce Wraps:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 16 ounces assorted mushrooms (white button, Portobello and shiitake mushrooms would all work well), chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced (save some for garnish)
- 4 ounces sliced water chestnuts, chopped
- ½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 heads iceberg or butter lettuce for serving
- For garnish: green onions, chopped cashews, cilantro
For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and mushrooms to the pan. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to get golden brown, stirring occasionally but not too often. Once cooked, add the garlic, green onions, water chestnuts, cashews and salt. Stir to combine and continue to cook while preparing the sauce.
- To make the sauce, add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over the mushroom filling and stir to coat. Continue cooking until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken.
- To serve, spoon the mushroom filling onto butter or iceberg lettuce leaves. Top with sliced green onions, chopped cashews and/or cilantro.
If you wanted to swap out the mushrooms for chicken, brown 1 pound ground chicken instead of the mushrooms in the recipe, then add the remaining ingredients.
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