Keeping to the simple and healthier recipes this month with a recipe for shiitake mushroom lettuce wraps. Last year, I watched a documentary on Netflix called “The Game Changers”. It was about how switching over to a plant based diet had changed the lives of professional athletes. They not only felt healthier, but they also noticed better performance levels in their respective sport. Personally, I am not exactly sure if eating a completely plant based diet is better for me, but the documentary did inspire me to eat less meat. After watching it, I transitioned into eating meat only once a day. This was my version of a baby step to reducing my dependence on meat based proteins. All of this led me to experimenting with more plant based ingredients in the kitchen. One ingredient that I have always loved is mushrooms! I could eat mushrooms for every meal and still love them. My favorite kind of mushroom is shiitake mushrooms.
What are shiitake mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are fungus native to East Asia. They are a pretty popular ingredient worldwide but are especially known to be used in Asian dishes. For me personally, there was never a time in my life when I didn’t know what shiitake mushrooms were. My mom used to make a variety of dishes for me with shiitake mushrooms like soups, stir fries, and side dishes.
Shiitake mushrooms are known to have a umami flavor profile meaning they taste savory and earthy. Because of this, they are frequently used as a meat substitute. In addition to being extremely tasty, they are also good for your health. Shiitakes are known to boost your immune system, help fight cancer, and improve heart health.
- Shiitake mushrooms – Seriously one of my favorite ingredients of all time. These mushrooms add a umami flavor to these lettuce wraps. You can use any mushrooms for this recipe.
- Water chesnuts – I wanted to add a little texture to these lettuce wraps, so I chose to throw in water chesnuts. They have a nice crispy texture that makes the dish a little more interesting.
- Soy sauce – Soy sauce adds more umami flavor to this dish. I like to use Kikkoman soy sauce.
- Sesame oil – To give this dish some earthy flavor, I used sesame oil instead of vegetable oil. Feel free to substitute with vegetable oil.
- Rice wine vinegar – This ingredient helps balance out some of the earthy/salty flavors of the soy sauce.
- Coconut sugar – I wanted to added a bit of sweetness to this recipe. I used coconut sugar because it is a slightly healthier alternative to regular brown sugar. Brown sugar can be substituted for coconut sugar.
- Salt – To season the dish.
- Garlic – To help add some more flavor to the dish.
- Lettuce – I used romaine lettuce for this recipe, but any type of lettuce should work. I would recommend iceberg lettuce or butter lettuce as alternatives.
Making shiitake mushroom lettuce wraps
This dish takes about 30 minutes to make which makes for an easy weeknight appetizer or work lunch. First heat the sesame oil in a large pan over medium high heat. After about 30 seconds, add in your minced shiitake mushroom and cook for about 1 minute. Then add in your water chestnuts and salt. Mix and cook for another minute until the mushroom has softened and are almost cooked through. Finally, add in your soy sauce, coconut sugar, and rice wine vinegar. Stir and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat. Add a few spoonfuls of the shiitake mushrooms to pieces of lettuce and serve. Alternatively, serve the mushrooms and lettuce separately and assemble them as you eat! I personally prefer the latter.
The optional component: hoison peanut sauce
These lettuce wraps are great just as they are, but I wanted to add something extra to make them even better. I made a hoison peanut sauce using a 1/3 cup of hoison sauce, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and 2 tablespoons of water. Add all the ingredients to a sauce pan and mix over low heat. Stir until a smooth sauce forms. The sauce is done when you add some to the back of a spoon and when you pull your finger through the sauce, the trail created stays fully formed. I personally think this sauce took my lettuce wraps from great to amazing! Give it try!
Did you make these Shiitake Mushroom Lettuce Wraps?
If you made this dish, I would love to see!
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Shiitake Mushroom Lettuce Wraps
- Heat sesame oil over medium high heat.
- Add in your garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Next, add in the shiitake mushrooms and cook for ~1 minute.
- Add in the water chestnuts and salt. Mix and cook for another minute until the shiitake mushrooms have softened a bit and are almost cooked through.
- Finally, add in the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and coconut sugar. Stir and cook for ~1 more minute until the shiitake mushrooms are cooked through.
- Spoon some of the mushrooms into lettuce leaves and serve.