Collard greens are a staple in Southern cooking. They are from the cabbage family, and can be substituted to Kale or Swiss Chard. For the longest time, I only knew collard greens as a leafy greens that is often slightly overcooked.
Fast forward a few years and imagine my surprise when I discovered at a raw food party that collard leaves can be used to wrap all kinds of fun fillings! You only need to lightly blanch the leaves to tenderize them so they are soft enough to roll and set them aside until you are ready to assemble them.
Collards greens can be bought as bundles of leaves that have been rolled one on top of the others like a loose cigar. The bundles can have between 6 to 10 leaves. They have a thick tough stem that must be cut off.
I called this recipe deluxe because the filling has multiple layers. Some protein (veggie ground round, Boca burgers, Tvp, beans, lentils, etc.), fresh vegetables (shredded carrots, cabbage, mushrooms) marinated in a light sweet and salty sauce. This being said you can skip the protein part altogether and just combine the shredded vegetables.
The beauty about this dish is that if you blanch the leaves and prepare the filling and sauce the day before, you can assemble these wraps in a few minutes. They go great with a side of rice, some pan fried potatoes or even pasta. You can also make them in advance and keep them refrigerated. The leaves will stay firm for a day or two, making them a great choice for potlucks or picnics.
While most vegetables contain some protein it is nice to add some veggie meat like Gardein’s ground round or boca burgers to the filling. You can also use lentils, beans if you prefer not using store bought plant-based meat. Your meat eating friends will love the extra layer too!
These wraps can get a little messy if you drizzle or dip them in the dipping sauce. For a cleaner result, add the peanut sauce to the filling before making the wrap. This way, everything is contained. This works great if you serve these at parties as finger food.
If you like the idea of using greens to wrap things up, you will love my dolmas recipe. It uses grape leaves that can be bought in jars or made from scratch if you have access to grapevines! Collard greens on the other hand are much easier to prepare. So the next time you are grocery shopping I hope that you look for a bundle of collard greens! Now you know what to do with it!
Deluxe Collard Green Wraps
- 1 bunch collard leaves
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cups Gardein's ground round or 2 boca burger patties
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
Peanut dipping sauce
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
- 1 tsp chili paste
Prepare the veggie meat
- Finely dice the onion and the garlic.
- If using boca burgers, break them down with a fork or fingers.
- Heat up the oil, add the onions and garlic. Stir fry for a minute, add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce.
- Cover and simmer for another minute or two.
- Uncover, add the veggie meat, cumin powder and cook for another minute.
- Taste and season. Set aside to cool down.
- Finely shred the cabbage and place in a bowl.
- Peel and finely shred the carrots in a bowl.
- Add a tablespoon of rice vinegar and pinch of salt in each bowl. Gently toss to coat.
Peanut dipping sauce
- In a small pan, add 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of maple syrup, 2 tbsp of lime or lemon juice, 1 tsp chili paste.
- On medium heat, slowly stir until the peanut butter turns creamy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Prepare the leaves
- Heat up a large pot of water and add 1 tsp of salt.
- Remove the tough stem on all leaves making sure to leave the leaf part intact and large enough to make a roll.
- Boil a few leaves at a time for 2-3 minutes, until the leaves are soft and the stems are tenderized.
- Remove the leaves and place on a paper towel to cool down. Repeat until all leaves have been blanched.
- Take a collard leaf, place the cut section near you, add the seasoned veggie meat, then the shredded cabbage, and carrots.
- Start rolling and tucking the sides. Place each wrap down to keep them from opening.
- Serve with the peanut dipping sauce.