Thai Lettuce Cups from Recipe Renovator, inspired by a Cooking Light recipeI saw a recipe for spicy basil-beef salad in Cooking Light and thought, Hmmm… I need to renovate that. This is different enough, in both method and meatless, that I’ll say it’s “inspired by” their recipe. Fresh and tasty, perfect for a hot summer’s Meatless Monday.

Suitable for:
vegan, gluten-free, reduced-sugar diets

Not for:
low-sodium or migraine diets

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Tempting Tuesday photos, Wednesday essays, Thursday how-to’s, and Flashback Fridays recipe posts. We support Meatless Monday.

Tha iLettuce Cups from Recipe Renovator, inspired by a Cooking Light recipe

Thai lettuce cups with basil

Spicy, savory, and filled with rich flavors, Thai lettuce cups are perfect as an appetizer or main on a hot summer day.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 shallots medium, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup texturized vegetable protein (225)
  • 1 handful basil leaves (fresh)
  • 1 cucumbers English or 2 Persian cucumbers
  • 1 tomatoes large, ripe, heirloon
  • 3 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos (or tamari) (reduce to 1.5 tbsp for lower-sodium version)
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass (fresh) minced, tender inner white part only
  • 1 tbsp dark toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (reduce to 1 tsp for lower-sodium version)
  • 2 tsp curry paste (Thai red) such as sambal oolek
  • 6-8 butter lettuce leaves


  • Peel and thinly slice the shallots, then add to ice water to soak while you work.
  • Heat 1 C. (250 ml) filtered water to almost boiling, then add the TVP and stir. Set aside. See notes below if using mushrooms.
  • Wash and spin dry the basil leaves.
  • Wash the cucumber, nip off the ends, and slice lengthwise. Use a grapefruit spoon or teaspoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut into quarters lengthwise, then finely slice. Put in a colander and lightly salt, allowing it to drain in the sink.
  • Wash and quarter the tomato, removing the seeds and goo. Finely chop. Salt lightly in a colander and allow to drain.
  • Add the last 6 ingredients (soy sauce through chile paste) to a blender and whiz until the lemongrass is pureed.
  • Heat 1 T. (15 ml) grapeseed or other light oil in a cast-iron or nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the rehydrated TVP and enough of the dressing from the blender to season it. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned.
  • Taste. If it isn't seasoned enough, add a bit more of the dressing. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Drain the shallots and pat dry. Pat dry the tomatoes and cucumbers. Combine the cooked TVP with the shallots, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a large bowl and mix well. Add a little more dressing if needed, but keep the mixture as dry as possible.
  • Serve in butter lettuce leaves with a few leaves of basil.


Per serving (4 as a main):
132 calories
4 g fat
1 g cholesterol
970 mg sodium (372 mg sodium with fish sauce and Bragg's halved)
232 mg potassium
10 g carbohydrate
6 g fiber
6 g sugars
12 g protein
3  Weight Watchers Points PlusMake sure you choose organic non-GMO soy TVP. If you can't eat soy, use shiitake mushroom caps. Remove the stems and compost them. Wipe the caps clean with a damp towel. Mince finely. Cook as directed above in place of the TVP.
Required FTC disclosure: I am part of the Cooking Light Bloggers' Connection. I was not paid to write this post.