Dinner is ready in just 15 minutes with these super easy Teriyaki Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps! Spicy Teriyaki Sauce coats a texture-loaded mixture of shredded jackfruit, red bell pepper, and water chestnuts all wrapped in a lettuce leaf for a fun, quick, flavorful weeknight dinner! P.S. It’s vegan, too!
Say goodbye to the last-minute dinner frenzy as you tear through your cupboards and scrounge around the fridge looking for anything and everything to whip up. And say hello to Teriyaki Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps.
These delicious, flavorful, healthy lettuce wraps are quickly going to become your go-to dinner on those busy weeknights when you have no time and no idea what to make. When you need something STAT, and more importantly, want that quick dinner to be nutritious for your family. Without lacking flavor. We’re not monsters.
Not only will you love how easy this recipe is, you’re going to also love that it’s vegan. Wait, you’re not vegan? Neither am I (you all know I love me some cheese) but that doesn’t mean that eating more plant-based more often is a bad thing. No, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. And quite frankly, there’s no missing out on anything just because these are vegan, if that’s where your head is at.
No, my friend, they’re saucy, tangy, sweet, slightly spicy, and full of texture. And now that we’re all hungry and salivating for Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps, let’s get to cooking!
The Simple Ingredients
You simply cannot have a super-fast, easy weeknight dinner without simple ingredients. With just five ingredients (ok, assuming you already have the teriyaki sauce made, because you are already keeping a jar in your fridge each and every week, right?!) this dinner comes together in the blink of an eye!
Here’s what we need:
- Canned Jackfruit – keep reading to learn more about how to prepare canned jackfruit! And…what is jackfruit?
- Red Bell Pepper – a pop of color, texture, and a hint of sweetness to add to our mixture
- Water Chestnuts – not actually a nut; water chestnuts are aquatic vegetables that are native to Asia, tropical Africa, and Oceania. They’re high in fiber, low in calories, and have several vitamins and healthy antioxidants. They’re neutral in flavor but bring all the texture and are perfect in this lettuce wrap mix!
- Butter Lettuce Leaves – I prefer butter lettuce for my lettuce wraps because it’s more delicate lettuce and has a mild flavor. That being said, it is delicate, so be careful while removing the leaves from the head of lettuce as to not tear them. You could also substitute with romaine leaves.
- Teriyaki Sauce – of course, I recommend making your own (ahem, this spicy teriyaki sauce is great) as it’s super easy, quick, and a great item to meal prep and make ahead of time. Can’t quite swing it? No problem, go ahead and use store-bought.
What is Jackfruit?
Ok, if you’ve made it this far, excellent; and we’re finally going to get to talking about what the heck even is jackfruit?
As referenced in Real Simple, jackfruit is a fruit that grows on a Jackfruit Tree. It’s a cousin of the fig tree and is found in Southeast Asia. It’s still exclusively grown in Southeast Asia to this day, however, we’re lucky enough to be able to purchase it (fresh or canned) around the world. Jackfruits, in their whole form, are large, oblong, and have a bumpy green exterior.
What does jackfruit taste like?!
The inner ‘meat’ of jackfruit is fairly mild in taste, with a slightly sweet hint to it. It’s mild and takes on the flavor of that which it’s cooked in (sauces, spices, etc.). This is why it’s one of the best meat substitutes in savory dishes for chicken or pork. Not to mention its ability to shred, mimicking the texture of meat, too.
While you can find a whole jackfruit in certain grocers or Asian specialty markets, I recommend starting with canned jackfruit, in water or brine, not a syrup. It’s much easier to work with.
Where do I buy Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is gaining in popularity and you may be able to find canned jackfruit at your local grocery store – just ask! However, here are the best options I’ve found for finding canned jackfruit. You may also find dried jackfruit or prepared jackfruit in other sauces at the store. Give them a try, but pass on them for this recipe, we’re just looking for canned young green jackfruit in water or brine (not syrup!).
- Trader Joe’s
- Specialty health-food stores or co-ops
- Whole Foods
- Asian Market
How to Prepare Canned Jackfruit
It’s important to say again: find young green jackfruit in a can that’s packed in water or brine, not syrup. We’re going savory here and do not want any additional syrup or sugar to mess with it.
Canned jackfruit will be in triangle-like pieces, most with a thick base, a shreddable top portion, and some contain large seeds that look similar to Brazil nuts.
Start by draining the jackfruit pieces and then rinse the pieces using a fine mesh strainer. Once they’re drained and rinsed, it’s time to begin shredding them by hand.
I find it easiest to just grab a piece, remove the thick base, and peel apart the shredded top. Some recommend saving the seeds and base part to finely chop and add back in later. I definitely take the lazy approach and have had no issues doing so. I simply break apart the base in my hand, too, and leave the seeds.
With fresh jackfruit, you would have to remove and prepare the seeds separately, however, because these are canned and have been cooked in the canning process, there’s not really a need to here. I’ve found nothing that states they must be removed, and quite frankly if they were to be removed and thrown out, we would be losing a lot of “meat” from the can. So for the sake of not wasting food, and not having a valid reason to do otherwise, use those seeds!
Alternatively, you can use two forks to shred the jackfruit pieces, but honestly I find the ‘hand method’ is the quickest way to get it shredded.
The Easy Recipe Steps
Depending on the route you take, this can easily be a one-pan recipe. Now, if you’ve got to make the teriyaki sauce and if you want to add rice, then you might be looking at another pan or two. You could easily use a packet of premade rice and/or store-bought teriyaki sauce if you’re in a pinch, but if you have a few extra minutes and don’t mind one extra dish, go ahead and make it homemade.
First, sauté minced garlic (and ginger if using). You didn’t think I would miss the chance to add more garlic, did you?! There is garlic in my teriyaki sauce, but since there’s definitely no such thing as too much garlic, here we go.
Once the garlic is fragrant, add the shredded jackfruit, diced red bell pepper, and chopped water chestnuts. I like to let them cook for a minute and then pour in the teriyaki sauce. Mix it all really well together, and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
The simmer really just allows the flavors to meld together, and soak into the jackfruit. It also helps the sauce thicken into the mixture a little more. So there’s no need to stress about the exact time of simmer since we’re just heating and flavoring at this point.
Now that the lettuce wrap filling is complete, it’s time to assemble. Simply place out a bowl of rice, if using, washed lettuce leaves, and the filling, and let your family create their own lettuce wrap adventure. It might get a little messy that way, but it’s totally worth it!
Pour the filling into the lettuce leaf, garnish as desired, and enjoy!
My favorite garnishes include sliced scallions, cilantro, and chopped peanuts or cashews for an added crunch. Oh, and a squeeze of lime is excellent for some added acid and a little punch.
The wonderful thing about these lettuce wraps is how easily customizable they are! You can add extra veggies into the filling, garnish with really whatever you want, turn them into lettuce bowls, make the filling into a stir fry… endless possibilities!
There it is! Beautiful, flavorful, texture-loaded Jackfruit Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps. You’ll love how easy and quick it is to make, and that you can enjoy a flavorful, nutritious vegetarian dinner!
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! You can prepare the filling and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also make the teriyaki sauce and rice ahead of time. Wash and store the lettuce leaves in a salad spinner or layered with paper towels. Then, just reheat the filling (and rice if you desire) and assemble when ready to enjoy.
If you need to make this recipe gluten-free, just make sure the teriyaki sauce you’re using is made with gluten-free ingredients. If making homemade teriyaki, be sure to use tamari, which is usually gluten-free, just be sure to check the labels!
To me, anything that is a balanced meal is healthy, and that includes enjoying what you’re eating. We all have our own definitions of what ‘healthy’ might be. There are a lot of nutrients in this recipe, especially in the filling. Teriyaki Sauce is made with a good amount of sugar, which may be a health concern for some. Bottom line: you’ll have to be the judge of this for you and your family.
Yes, they are vegetarian! To make sure they are fully vegan, I recommend checking the ingredients of your teriyaki sauce. If using my teriyaki sauce recipe, simply omit or replace the honey for a vegan version.
More Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes to Love
Teriyaki Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps
- Scallions or green onions thinly sliced
- Sesame seeds
- Peanuts or cashews finely chopped
- Lime wedges
- If making homemade teriyaki sauce, begin preparing the sauce. The same goes with the rice, if making, begin the rice.
- Prepare the jackfruit by first draining and rinsing it. Using your clean hands, take a triangle of jackfruit and shred it apart in your hands, including the thick base, and remove the seeds. Place the shredded pieces, seeds, and base in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
- In a large skillet add 1 tsp neutral oil of choice over medium heat, add the minced garlic and ginger (if using) and cook for about 1 minute. Add the chopped water chestnuts, red bell pepper, and shredded jackfruit. Stir to combine. Pour in the teriyaki sauce, stirring to coat the filling.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for 8-10 min until sauce is slightly absorbed and thickened.
- Add approximately 2-4 tablespoons of the filling to each lettuce leaf and garnish as desired. If using rice, place the rice in the lettuce leaf first, then add the topping.