Vegetarian Collard Wraps
Do you remember when lettuce wraps first began to grow in popularity? It was right around the same time that the paleo diet began to take off, and people were trying their best at replacing their favorite grain tortillas with a piece of lettuce. The only problem was that most of the time the lettuce would tear under the weight of all the delicious taco fillings and you would have a pretty big mess literally in the palm of your hand...not to mention they usually weren't quite as satisfying as a good old fashioned tortilla, and would leave you wanting more.
Even with all the mess, I loved the traditional lettuce wraps before I discovered their cousin (collard greens), and while they didn't necessarily take the place of my equally loved traditional corn tortilla tacos, I found them to be a really great option for someone like me who still couldn't find a good gluten free tortilla to use for my favorite vegetarian spinach wraps that I would always make before going gluten free. While today there are so many incredible gluten free wraps available that was not the case even as little as two years ago so I had to be a little more creative.
So one day I was standing at whole foods and looked up to see some absolutely beautiful collard leaves that were flat and large just like a wrap, and seemed to be much sturdier than a traditional lettuce leaf. I had never used them in cooking before so I had no idea what to expect, but I grabbed a bunch and decided to hope for the best.
Well the result was 10x better than expected and I found myself finally having a grain free option to make my favorite wraps with and I never looked back. Even today with so many good gluten-free wrap brands available in supermarkets, I still prefer my collard wraps and use them every time I get a craving for a wrap, or want something easy to take with me on the go...like to the beach!
When making collard wraps, my first recommendation is to make sure that you cut the thick stem off of the collard leaf before starting to assemble. The stem is very fibrous and difficult to chew/fold so it is better to work as much as possible with the flexible part of the leaf for the best wrap. I also recommend spreading out your ingredients on the wrap and folding in half if you want to eat it like a taco. If you want to actually role your wrap, you want to load all the ingredients closer to the bottom and then fold in the side and start rolling like you would a typical grain tortilla.
This recipe is loaded with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates that make it wonderfully balanced, and perfect for keeping you feeling full hours after eating! These wraps are also naturally vegetarian/vegan friendly as is, however you can customize it anyway you want by adding some of the tasty extras I highlighted below. I personally love them with some grilled salmon, tuna, or a crumbled veggie burger!
suggested protein add-ins
Crumbled Veggie Burger or Lean Turkey Meat
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 ounce goats cheese, shredded cheddar, or feta cheese
1/4 cup blueberries/strawberries
vegetarian collard wraps
prep time 30 minutes // serves four
4 medium sized collard leaves
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup white bean hummus
1 cup organic sprouts
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
Preheat oven to 375 F
Rinse your sweet potato and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Spray sweet potato slices with coconut oil, and place on a baking sheet.
Place in oven for 15 minutes, and then flip the sweet potato slices, and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
While sweet potatoes are cooking, rinse collard greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and sprouts in cold water.
Chop tomatoes, and mushrooms and move to the side.
Next, make your white bean hummus or you can use a store bought variety as well.
After you have made your hummus and the sweet potatoes are cooked begin to layer your ingredients on your collard leaves.
Begin with a layer of hummus, then add your sweet potato, then top with your sprouts, veggies, and seeds.
Lastly add your dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to taste.
Note: You can fold your collard wrap into a taco, or role into a traditional wrap, and slice in down the middle to eat and enjoy! If you are taking your collard wrap to go, I sometimes will place two toothpicks through either half to keep the wrap in place and allow for an easier eating experience.