Thai Lettuce Wraps

These fragrant, crunchy, delicious Thai lettuce wraps come with all your favorite Thai flavors and a hearty plant-based beef filling.

Recipe by Hot For Food

Preparation Time: 30minutes

Cooking time: 55minutes

Serves :2-4wraps

Calories: 261kcal



  • 15 g dried kombu seaweed (cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice powder
  • ½ teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt


  • 2 cups whole Thai basil leaves, divided (1 cup will be used as garnish)
  • Olive oil or cooking oil spray to coat the pan
  • 3 cups of your favorite plant-based ground beef
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup carrot, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced Thai red chili (about 1 chili — add 1 tablespoon extra for spicy + (optional) whole chilis for added color and garnish)


  • 1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Bibb lettuce (aka butter or Boston lettuce)
  • 2 cups green papayah, julienne (optional)
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 4 limes, cut into wedges

How To Prepare

  1. To prepare the sauce, add the dried kombu to water in the saucepan. Simmer on low heat for about 18 to 20 minutes until reduced to about a 1/2 cup. Remove the hydrated kombu leaves and save them for another use, as you can reuse them. In the same saucepan, add the soy sauce/tamari, lime juice, agave or maple syrup, Chinese Five Spice powder, white pepper and sea salt.
  2. Next you’re going to crisp up whole Thai basil leaves. Pull approximately 1 cup of leaves of Thai basil off the main stem. Coat a large skillet with a thin even layer of vegetable oil or cooking oil spray, and place the Thai basil leaves in one layer.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. While the oven is heating you will bake the Thai basil leaves in the skillet for about 10 minutes, flipping them halfway. Remove the smaller pieces once crispy (the larger pieces may take 1 to 2 more minutes). Then remove all the Thai basil leaves and set aside. You’ll use the same skillet to cook the plant-based beef filling.
  4. In a large bowl add the ground plant-based beef, diced red onion, minced garlic, diced carrot and Thai chili. Pour the kombu sauce mixture in and combine to coat everything evenly. Add all of this into the cast iron skillet and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway to brown the other side.
  5. Serve in the skillet. Move the filling to one side and top it with the crispy Thai basil leaves and whole Thai chilis, if desired. Then fill the rest of the skillet with red onion, mint leaves, fresh Thai basil, lime wedges, bibb or boston lettuce leaves and fresh green papaya (if adding) for wrapping. Squeeze lots of lime juice over the filling before serving.

Thai Lettuce Wraps


  • If you include papaya, make sure the papaya you buy is not a ripe or mature papaya. Green papaya has a smooth, hard green skin and its white flesh has a crunchy texture and a neutral taste. A soft, mature papaya is juicy like a melon. You can find green papayas in Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find green papaya, jicama is a good substitute — you can also use cucumber.
  • Kombu is a natural MSG, but if you don’t have it handy you can leave it out and skip that step. Just replace that liquid with a half cup of mushroom broth for the final sauce and add some plant-based oyster, fish or hoisin sauce to the rest of the sauce ingredients.

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Thai Lettuce Wraps