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Curried Tofu Lettuce Cups

With warmer weather here, it’s nice to have a filling, flavorful, and refreshing lunch or appetizer option. That’s where these Curried Tofu Lettuce Cups come in! Perfect for enjoying in the sun.

several curried tofu lettuce cups on a marble surface

If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I worked at Whole Foods for a bit in 2014. I worked in prepared foods, and because it was a smaller store (Laguna Beach), I worked a few different positions in that area – one of them being Chef’s (deli) case. That shift required coming in at 5am (don’t miss that!), and prepping all kinds of cold salads and other items for the case that day.

Ingredients for lettuce cups in steels bowls: tofu, cabbage, red onion, raisins, cilantro, vegan mayo, etc.

One of my absolute favorite items was a Curry Chick’n Salad made with Beyond Meat’s chicken, and I think they still serve that occasionally. The other day I was craving something easy but satiating and because I had some curry paste in the fridge, I put a simpler version of this together. But! I know that not everyone has access to an Indian or International market, so I tried to make this as accessible as possible.

Image collage of steps to marinate and air fry tofu

Aside from yellow curry powder being a powerhouse spice-wise, there are a few other flavors mingling here, red onion, cilantro, raisins, cabbage, and more. I find that it’s a nice balance of tangy, savory, subtly spicy, and sweet! Of course, you can customize this to your liking, because the ingredients really are quite simple. Just like I used black raisins instead of the currants that are usually in the WF salad, because that’s what I had on hand!

Substitutions & Tips

  • Extra-firm tofu – I used this in place of vegan chicken and loved how I prepared it. You could also use firm tofu, just make sure to press the moisture out of it before hand, or it will be too soft.
  • Vegetable bouillon – I love the idea of using this in a marinade base, since its flavors are concentrated. I used Better than bouillon, but using half a vegan chicken bouillon cube would also work, as long as it’s mixed in well.
  • Vegan mayo – if you are looking for a slightly lighter base, I recommend subbing half the mayo with plain vegan yogurt or even vegan sour cream.
  • Yellow curry powder – this can be found in almost any grocery store. BUT, if you live near an International or Indian market, highly recommend using the yellow curry paste instead (about 1 tablespoon or so), because that is also super-good in this recipe.
  • Agave nectar – used for balance, but you can use maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener to taste, instead.
  • Green cabbage – brings such a great crunch to the recipe, but if you don’t have it on hand shredded kale or lettuce could work.
  • Black raisins – as mentioned before, the Curried Chick’n salad usually uses dried currants (so good!), but raisins work nicely. I like smaller raisins in this case because they tend to be a bit dried than large ones which brings more texture to this salad.
  • Butter lettuce – if for some reason you can’t find this lettuce, romaine with work, just cut the leaves in have for smaller servings.
  • Make-ahead – definitely recommend making this a day ahead of time, if you can, as the flavors really meld together beautifully over an extra few hours.
  • Air Fryer – if you don’t have an air fryer, place tofu cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for 30 minutes, flipping cubes over halfway through.
Image collage of tossing together curried tofu Salad in a bowl

Other easy lunch recipes:

several curried tofu lettuce cups on a marble surface

In other news, I just celebrated my 10 year veganniversary! Which means that the 10 year anniversary of this site is just around the corner. Wild to think that I’ve been vegan for a decade now. (also makes me feel a bit old, LOL) Now, onto the recipe!

several curried tofu lettuce cups on a marble surface

Curried Tofu Lettuce Cups

Yield: 2-4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

With warmer weather here, it's nice to have a filling, flavorful, and refreshing lunch or appetizer option. That's where these Curried Tofu Lettuce Cups come in! Perfect for enjoying in the sun.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • 14-ounce (396 g) package extra-firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup (80 g) shredded green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) black raisins or currants
  • 1/4 cup (5 g) chopped cilantro, loosely packed and divided
  • 8 butter lettuce leaves

Instructions

    1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together water, olive oil, and bouillon until emulsified and combined. Wrap your block of tofu in a cloth and give it a gentle squeeze to remove excess moisture, then dice it into 1/2-inch cubes. Add tofu cubes to the bowl, toss to coat in marinade, then air fry for 15 minutes at 400F (200C).
    2. While the tofu is cooking, combine mayo, lime juice, curry powder, agave nectar, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl, with a whisk until smooth.
    3. Once tofu is cooked, with very light browning and slight crust, add it to the curry sauce, followed by cabbage, red onion, raisins, and 3 tablespoons (4 g) cilantro. Use tongs to toss mixture until everything is coated evenly, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Then transfer bowl to the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes or more. (You can also eat it straight out of the bowl at this point, if you’re short on time!)
    4. Serve Curried Tofu with butter lettuce leaves, spooning the mixture into each leaf, then garnishing with remaining cilantro. Can be served as an appetizer for 4 or refreshing lunch for two.

Notes

  • Extra-firm tofu - You could also use firm tofu, just make sure to press the moisture out of it before hand.
  • Vegan mayo - if you are looking for a slightly lighter base, I recommend subbing half the mayo with plain vegan yogurt or even vegan sour cream.
  • Yellow curry powder - this can be found in almost any grocery store. BUT, if you live near an International or Indian market, highly recommend using the yellow curry paste instead (about 1 tablespoon or so), because that is also super-good in this recipe.
  • Agave nectar - you can use maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener to taste, instead.
  • Black raisins - as mentioned before, the Curried Chick'n salad usually uses dried currants but raisins work nicely.
  • Butter lettuce - if for some reason you can't find this lettuce, romaine with work, just cut the leaves in have for smaller servings.
  • Make-ahead - definitely recommend making this a day ahead of time, if you can, as the flavors really meld together beautifully over an extra few hours.
  • Air Fryer - if you don't have an air fryer, place tofu cubes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for 30 minutes, flipping cubes over halfway through.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 340mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 4gProtein: 5g

The nutrition information is calculated by a plug-in, and isn't always accurate. Please calculate your own with the products that you use, as it will be different for everyone.

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Hand holding curried tofu lettuce cup

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