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Collard Green Wraps

This actually started off with the working title “WHY ISN’T EVERYBODY DOING THIS?!?” upon discussing their newly discovered utility and merits with my BFF and fellow lover of all things foodie.  Until two weeks ago, I never considered collard greens so much a “vegetable” as I did a good canvas for covering in butter and bacon (not that there’s anything wrong with that). When a newly popped up restaurant near work somehow lured me away from the daily debate of Boloco, Chipotle or oatmeal at my desk, I was pleased to hear about this new use for the leafy green.  For just $2 you could upgrade to a green wrap! Sure, I’m already buying lunch, what’s another $2? (Besides my afternoon coffee.)

 To the joy of my taste buds and disappointment of my wallet, it was fantastic.  It had enough strength to stand up to a healthy portion of rice, veggies and tofu, all while offering the satisfaction of eating what felt like a burrito. I know it sounds silly, but I hadn’t had a legitimate burrito in over two years.  It was a treat.

Like pretty much anything I discover when dining out, I immediately set out to recreate the meal at home.  I grabbed a bunch of the collard greens at Whole Foods for less than the $2 up-charge per wrap and decided that I’d be bringing my lunch the next day. I wasn’t totally sure what to do with them, but it turns out it’s a very forgiving ingredient.

To start, pull out a few of the bigger leaves and lay them out together to form what will be the footprint of your wrap.  Collards have a very hefty stem – break it off leaving only the leaf.

In a skillet, place about 1/2 inch of water and a healthy dash of salt.  Turn the heat on medium-high. You’ll want to get it steaming and lightly boiling, but you don’t want the water to evaporate before the leaves are done.

Take a leaf. Place it in the simmering water.

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Wait 30 seconds.  Flip it. Wait another 30 seconds or so.  It will be turning a dark green.  Pull it from the water before it turns to the consistency of cooked spinach.  That would be gross.

Place the leaf on a paper towel to dry and continue with the remaining leaves (I use about 3), laying them out overlapped to create a seamless wrap.

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In your wrap, place whatever you want! I made some cilatro lime rice and used that for my starchy base.

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It went very well with leftover chicken fajita filling.

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And fresh pico de gallo,

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Lots of pico.

Whatever you decide to fill it up with should take up the center of the wrap, but be sure to leave plenty of exposed greens to pull up and seal in your fillings.

Choose two sides to pull up to meet each other first.

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Then, starting at one open end, roll it up. You know, just like a burrito. This can then be wrapped in tin foil or parchment for travel to the office, a hike, the couch – wherever.

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I also found that they self-steam quite well in the microwave. About 90 second in a paper towel is all it takes. 20130712-141813.jpg

When you use these greens you’re not only going a gluten free route, but cutting around 200+ calories per wrap and adding a full serving of vegetable to your diet.  Even better? At about $0.50 a “wrap” it doesn’t hurt the wallet either.

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