Garbanzo Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps originated in Southeast Asia as pedestrian street foods and have been around for thousands of years. They are essentially a delicious and nutritious vessel for fillings and are far more satisfying than salads - especially in the summer, when the heat in our bodies helps us digest raw foods. I discovered them when I came to America and have turned many a meal - from morning scrambled eggs to leftover curries or masalas - into lettuce wraps like these.

makes ~4 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 cup onion, minced

2 1/2 cups button mushrooms, sliced

1 (14-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons of unpeeled grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup tomatoes, minced

1 teaspoon cilantro

Sesame seeds to sprinkle

2 heads of baby lettuce (romaine or bibb), chilled


  1. Heat up olive oil in a skillet and as soon as the oil is just shy of smoking, add cumin seeds. They will pop and sizzle; within a few seconds, add onions. Cook on high heat for 5-8 minutes until onions are translucent.

  2. Add button mushrooms and cook until all the liquid has been reduced. This should take another 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Add garbanzo beans, salt, grated ginger, turmeric and chili powder and continue cooking at low heat. If the mixture appears too dry, add 1-2 more tablespoons of olive oil.

  4. Add half a cup of tomatoes and cook until the entire mixture has reduced to a relatively dry masala. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

  5. Sprinkle with remaining tomatoes and sesame seeds and serve with chilled lettuce.

ideas / variations

  • The mushroom masala taste best if made a few hours ahead of time.

  • Be careful when popping the cumin seeds - if they appear burnt or blackish in color, discard them and start again.

  • Navy and black beans also work well in this recipe instead of garbanzo beans.

  • Use portobello or shiitake mushrooms to amp up the flavors.