Better than Salad - Collard Wraps - Recipe

This recipe is basically a continuation of my previous post - the Creamy Maple Tahini Dipping Sauce. I meant to post this two days ago, but sheer laziness --and delight at having a few days off from school --got in the way ;) Although I often vary the seasonings I put in that dressing, I usually always have some version of it when I make collard wraps. I'm a hungry girl - and I love to eat! But, I've found that four or five of these wraps, paired with this rich and creamy dressing make for a gratifying and highly satisfying, healthy meal.

Now, when most people think of a wrap, they probably think of a flour tortilla, perhaps shredded lettuce, cheese and who knows what else. This, however, is a raw food version ("What the Heck is Raw Food" article to appear tomorrow) --and my wrap is made from collard leaves, instead of tortillas (great for gluten free diets). So when I'm sick of salad, but still want to get some fresh veggies onto my plate, these are great because they're basically like a salad - but refined and kicked up a notch.

Growing up, I never would have imagined eating collard greens raw. I didn't even know you could. If any of you come from households where Soul Foods or southern foods are featured prominently, then you know that collard greens - and nearly all vegetables - are cooked until they're soft and falling apart, or "tender" as my grandma likes to call them. Unfortunately, cooking your greens for over an hour destroys so many of the vital enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Although I still love my nana - and her greens, I will only eat them this way on holidays. I've been eating (and juicing) them raw for so long, I can't even fathom ever cooking mine. Of course, I'm not telling you not to cook your greens, but perhaps consider eating them raw sometimes, or if necessary, try to just lightly steam them.

Okay, back to the recipe...This is one of our all time favorite meals - cooked or raw. I highly recommend you give this a try!

Better than Salad - Collard Wraps (Serves 2)

6 collard leaves
1 red bell pepper
1 medium cucumber
1 package sprouts - alfalfa, radish or broccoli will do fine
1/2 carrot
3 Tbs basil - chiffonade or chopped
any other vegetable you like - optional (ex: spring onion, avocado, mint, radish)

To prepare the collard, simply cut along both sides of the stem in order to separate it from the leaves:

Discard the stem (or use for  juicing). De-stem all 6 pieces of collard. You should now have 12 leaves/wraps. Next, julienne the carrot, cucumber and bell pepper. They should be about the size of 3 inch matchsticks.

To roll: Place a collard leaf with the darkest side down and the more veiny side facing up. This is where you will stack the vegetables. On the lower third of the leaf - the part closest to you - start stacking your veggies. Depending on the size of your leaves, place 4-5 pieces of each julienned vegetable on your leaf, leaving a bit hanging over each end. Next, top with a few pieces of the chopped basil and a generous bit of sprouts (Note: I ended up adding twice as many sprouts as what is pictured below).

Tightly, but carefully, roll the bottom flap over the stacked vegetables. Try to roll one side more tightly then the other so that you will get a slightly conical shape  (this will make it easier, i.e., less messy to hold and dip in the sauce when it's time to eat them). Continue rolling all the way to the end of the leaf. Place seam side down on the plate. 

Roll the remaining 11 leaves in the same manner as above. Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: These stay together quite well, considering they are not sealed. Still, I find it best to hold them by the side that is slightly smaller - this prevents veggie matter from coming out of both ends.

Peace and Greens, from the Diary of a Smart Black Woman


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  1. Your pictures are awesome.

  2. Goodness, but that looks good! If anyone can turn me completely vegetarian, YOU can! This looks amazing and I love that everything is raw and fresh! Fantastic!

  3. Hey Toya, next time I have some collards or other appropriate green, I am doing this! I have some outer cabbage leaves in the fridge, but they are so thick. I think I am going to have to steam them at least, but I was thinking to make little wraps with them. Nice post, Dearie!

  4. High Praise, coming from you Denise! Thanks so much! :)

  5. Thanks, Stella!

    I don't digest raw cabbage as well, but I have tried making these with both nappa and traditional cabbage before. They are good this way too but collard and chard are a little easier on my system...

    Though, I do make barbecue and teriyaki versions of these using cabbage - similar to lettuce wraps you might find at an asian bistro. If your cabbage is hardy enough, I would recommend gently rolling, and thus flattening it with a rolling pin. I've done it this way, at least.



  6. I love everything about that recipe. When I think of collards, I always assume you have to boil the heck out of them. I'd LOVE to try them as a wrap. Great idea...and with the maple tahini.. how much better could it get?!!!

  7. Thanks, Joanne! They really are yummy. Hope you give them a try :)

  8. I LOVE collard wraps! I usually dont take the stems off, just remove the bulky end. But I like this smaller version better. Sprouts are the best in them.