Friday, June 3, 2011

Shitake Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Happy Doughnut Day!! For a great vegan doughnut recipe, check out my mini vegan doughnut recipe. They are so so good! I am choosing though, to feature something a bit healthier on this day o' doughnut. In honour of my diet...

Whilst on my current quest for amazing tasting low carb food, I remembered one of my long lost favorite restaurant dishes: P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps. I haven't been there in at least 42 years but the idea of a lettuce wrap sounded down right delish.

And so I made my own.

And like all of my meals, it was not only super easy, it was also super delicious. And score for me, it was low carb. I also made a version with corn tortillas, for my 'meat and potatoes' Honey Buns who needs a little more 'sustinance' (there is a photo at the bottom of this post).

The filling is spicy, yet intriguingly complex from the range of spices included in the Shitake Tofu Scrambler mix I picked up from the World Spice Merchants in Seattle. What a fantastical place! Stay tuned for more on them... I'm going to take a field trip down to Seattle again, just to feature them because they rock.

These wraps make a fantastic dinner or lunch; they would also be a fun appetizer for a dinner party. Or even better: a progressive dinner party. I have been itching to have one of those.

I served ours for lunch alongside that super tasty grilled asparagus salad. All in all: Just. Plain. Vegan. Deliciousness.

Extra virgin olive oil
1 package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed of excess liquid and cut into about 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes

1 package World Spice 'Shitake Tofu Scrambler' mix. Or sub your own spices... get creative!
1 sweet white onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 shitake mushrooms, sliced
1-2 heads red leaf or green leaf lettuce, washed and de-ended with leaves kept in tact

Put tofu cubes in a large bowl. Sprinkle World Spice 'Shitake Tofu Scrambler' spice mix on top. Toss gently to ensure even coverage of all tofu pieces. Note: I did not use utencils to toss. I just gently shook the bowl. This will ensure you won't crush your tofu.

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil on med/high heat. When pan is nice and hot, add tofu/spice mix and spread out evenly on pan. Let cook on one side for about 3-5 minutes, while intermittenly shaking the pan so the tofu doesn't stick.

When tofu is slightly crispy, flip all cubes as best you can and let cook another 3-5 minutes. Repeat for all sides (generally, since the cubes are small) until you have a nice 'crisp' on your tofu. The total process could be about 10-15 minutes.

When tofu is crispy, transfer to a separate bowl and set aside.

Add a little more olive oil to your pan then add onion and garlic. Saute for about 2-3 minutes then add mushrooms. Stir and continue to cook another 4-5 minutes until mushrooms are just barely soft.

While you are doing this you can prepare your lettuce. Make sure to wash it, of course, but also give them enough time to dry. I laid them out on towels, flipping every 10 minutes or so, so all the water would drain off the pieces.

When mushrooms are barely soft, add cooked tofu back into your saute pan and gently fold in to incorporate tofu and excess spice mix. Let cook another 2-3 minutes and you are ready to serve.

We served family style, as is nice for lettuce wraps. Arrange lettuce pieces on one end of a large serving tray then portion filling out on the other end.

This makes for easy serving at the dinner table and also an impressive looking appetizer for a party.

The warmth and spice of the tofu and mix pairs perfectly with the hearty earthiness of the mushrooms. Wrap it all up in the crisp, cool crunch of the lettuce and you have a sure winner, no matter where you are serving it.

(as a taco...)



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