What to do with those big leafy greens known as collards? Wrap them of course! Collard greens are a staple in cooked cuisine in the southern states of the US. They’re often sautéed or boiled with other ingredients leaving them mushy and limp. That’s no fun. Following the old adage of “you are what you eat,” I don’t want to be mushy and limp. I prefer my collards crisp and fresh. Big, fresh collards are the best for making raw wraps. A mature collard leave can be the size of a dinner plate. This makes a nice big wrap to filled with other fresh ingredients and a flavor rich pate or spread.
There is a pro tip that will allow you to get the most out of your collard wraps. You need to shave down the thick part of the stem extend up the back of the leaf. I’ve discovered that this is easiest to do with a tall glass and a carrot peeler.
Lay the collard leaf face down on the glass with the spine centered vertically. Pull the sides of the leaf down tight and then use the peeler to shave off layers of the stem. Shave enough so the stem will bend and not break when you roll your wrap. Also be careful not to shave too much off or you may snag the leaf and rip a hole it. Don’t worry though. Wraps with small tears still work.
Once you’ve shaved the stem down, cut an even edge at the bottom of the leaf. This is where you’re going to pile all of your fillings. Put down your nut/seed spread first. With large leaves a use a big ice cream scoop. Use ½ C to ¾ C of filling if you’re using large leaves, adjust for smaller leaves.
After the filling, pile on the fresh stuff like shredded carrots, beets, chopped celery, tomatoes, sprouts, bell pepper, diced apples… be creative. Be careful not to overload your wrap. Once you’ve added all of your fillings, roll up from the bottom, folding the sides in toward the center as you go.
To cut or not to cut? This is totally up to you. Cut wraps are great to display especially if you’ve added a variety of colorful fillings. You can pour sauces into your wrap when you cut them. On the other hand, if your wrap has a runny sauce or juicy fillings, then cutting the wrap will let all that liquid escape. You’ll have to make the “cut” decision on a wrap to wrap basis. I trust your judgment.
Below is a recipe for a mock tuna style filling. Sea vegetables give this filling its fishy flavor. You can use different sea vegetables, nuts and seeds and spices to alter the flavor of this filling. In fact, I’d love to hear your favorite collard wrap fillings and recipes. Please share them in the comments below.
2 C sunflower seeds – soaked
1 – 2 T miso (organic, unpasteurized)
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1/4 – 1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C onion – diced
1/4 C dulse flakes
1 C celery – diced
2 T capers – add at end
1 – 2 t paprika
1/2 t salt or to taste
Place all ingredients except the capers, onions and celery into the food processor and process smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the onions, celery and capers.
Serve in romaine lettuce or collard leaves with other fresh fixings.
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