Shiitake and Asparagus Lettuce Cups with Lime Drench from The Perfect Blend

Shiitake and Asparagus Lettuce Cups

“Mind-blowing! Gimme the recipe?” That’s the chorus every time I serve these. Lime, sesame, ginger, chile, cilantro, and a kick-ass combo of veggies is killer. The finely chopped veggies give a ground-meat look and feel. So your cups don’t fall apart, use butter lettuce or romaine. But, don’t stress—your guests will be happy to lick the drench off their hands. To add crunch, top with pine nuts and gomasio; for more heat add the red pepper flakes. Any way you serve these stars, they’ll be a sensation.
Author Sophia DeSantis | Veggies Dont Bite


lime drench

  • ¼ cup 60ml fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos gluten-free soy sauce, or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic about 1 clove
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • teaspoons coconut sugar or other sweetener


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil use broth for oil free
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
  • 1 small green chile ribbed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup 72g finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)
  • 6 cups 312g finely diced shiitake or cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup 110g finely diced zucchini (1?2 medium zucchini)
  • 1 cup 140g finely diced asparagus (about 5 medium spears)
  • ¼ cup 60ml toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos gluten-free soy sauce, or tamari
  • 1 ?2 cup 14g loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
  • 16 large butter Bibb, or romaine lettuce leaves (outer leaves of about 4 heads)

optional boosters

  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup 70g raw or dry-toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons gomasio ground sesame seeds and sea salt or sesame seeds


  1. To make the lime drench, throw all of the ingredients, including the red pepper flake booster, into your blender and blast on high for about 30 seconds until well combined. Transfer to a container and set aside.
  2. To make the filling, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat (or use broth for oil free) and sauté the garlic, green chile, ginger, green onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to about half the volume; gradually add the sesame oil and liquid aminos as the mixture cools. Don’t overcook or the vegetables will get mushy. Stir in the cilantro and the pine nut booster.
  3. To assemble, scoop ¼ cup (50g) of the filling into each lettuce leaf, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the lime drench, and sprinkle with the gomasio booster. Serve immediately, passing the remaining lime drench at the table. These are fabulous cold, too. Chill the filling and the dressing before assembling.

Recipe Notes

nutritional facts (per serving, based on 16 servings)
calories 65 kcal | fat 5.3 g | saturated fat 0.7 g | sodium 224.4 mg | carbs 3.9 g | fiber 1.1 g | sugars 1.5 g | protein 1.4 g | calcium 16.1 mg | iron 0.6 mg

Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography copyright 2016 by Anson Smart