The first person who thought of using a lettuce leaf as a food delivery system was very smart indeed. A few years ago at a neighborhood vegetarian restaurant, I enjoyed my first “lettuce cups” entrée—diced, seasoned, stir-fried veggies and tofu served with a handful of lettuce leaves. I was completely hooked. I love the contrasts: the warm, tasty vegetable and herb mixture wrapped in the crunchy, cool lettuce. And this is a very adaptable dish—a great way to use whatever veggies might be lurking in your fridge.
Lovely Lettuce Cups
- Olive oil
- Fresh ginger, minced
- A colorful assortment of vegetables (eggplant, mushrooms, carrots, shallots, summer squash, peppers, chiles, green beans, scallions, fennel bulb, celery, salad turnips, and so on), cut into 1/2-in. dice
- Tofu and/or seasoned tofu, cut into 1/2-in. dice
- Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), or pine nuts
- Cilantro, chopped
- Fresh basil or Thai basil leaves, chopped
- Toasted sesame oil
- Salt and pepper
- Lettuce leaves, preferably butter or romaine
- Cooked brown rice
- Hot sauce or fresh salsa
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Cook the ginger, stirring often, for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetables and tofu and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Cover the pan as needed to allow the vegetables to steam so they cook evenly. If the pan gets dry before the vegetables are cooked the way you like, add a little water (to create the moisture, I cut in a small, soft tomato that needed to be used).
- When the vegetables are done, add seeds, cilantro, and basil. Drizzle sesame oil on top and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and serve with lettuce leaves, hot sauce, and brown rice.