Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Collard Wraps: Two Ways

This week in my house, we received a gorgeous and massive vegetable share from New Roots' Smoketown Fresh Stop in Louisville, Kentucky. Inside were 2 bundles of collard greens, perfect for one of my favorite make-ahead lunches: collard wraps. As most of us know, summer is here which means scorching heat and thick air for a lot of us. All I want these days is fresh juicy fruit, cold crisp salads, and kombucha. I think it's safe to say that I love salads more than most people, but sometimes you just need to mix it up.

Collard wraps are excellent because they are incredibly nutrient dense, easy to make ahead of time, transportable, filling and they don't require dishes (unless you're fancy). Another pro for collard wraps: they are customizable. My recipe below is more of a suggestion; you can fill your wraps with whatever you like! Don't like raisins? Use apple slices instead. Eating paleo? Substitute the hummus for a little protein + avocado. Don't like carrots/beets/cucumbers? Use literally any other vegetables. What I'm saying is, use my collard wrap instructions and fill yours with whatever you want. However, I would follow a loose macronutrient guideline to make sure these wraps
actually fill you up for lunch and you don't go eat a cheeseburger a couple hours later for "balance". Make sure to include protein (meat, beans, raw nuts/seeds, legumes, whole grains, fish,etc.), fat (raw nuts/seeds, avocado, nut butters, coconut oil, etc.) and some whole food carbohydrates (beans, whole grains, fruits, etc.).

Collard Wraps
By Bailey West, B.S. Nutrition/Dietetics
Makes 4 wraps

8 collard leaves, stems trimmed
1 batch hummus*
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 large beet, julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
1/4 cup raisins

By Bailey West
Makes 2 cups

1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
black pepper

1. Wash vegetables.* Chop all the veggies that are going inside your wrap. I like to roughly julienne my veggies so that they are long, thin and still crunchy.

2. Make the hummus. If you have a food processor or a nice blender, process all the hummus ingredients together until smooth. Otherwise, you could use store bought or make a "rustic" hummus by smashing the beans with a fork and mixing everything in by hand.

Like the title of this post suggests, I am going to show you two ways that you can make your collard wraps. Neither one is necessarily better than the other, they both have pros and cons. It just comes down to your personal preferences. Whichever way you choose, you need to trim the thick stem so that it is not so strong and then cut it at the bottom of the leaf.

*Note: I am the worst about this, but my fiancé always badgers me about it so here is a quick scolding to convince you (me) that it's worth it: I know you're not eating the skin of your avocado, but your knife is going to pull whatever is on the skin right into the center and rub it all over that beautiful green meat and then you're basically licking the skin so just give it a quick rinse, okay?

Way #1: Use a raw collard leaf. This method is quick and only requires trimming the stem of the leaf for easier rolling. If using very fresh leaves, be careful not to roll your wrap too tightly or pack it too full because the leaf will tear.

Way #2: Use a lightly steamed collard leaf. This method takes an additional step, but it makes the collard leaves more pliable and less likely to break. After trimming the stem, steam the leaves so that the they just turn bright green (never olive green) and are soft. This happens in a matter of seconds so don't get distracted. Rinse the leaves immediately after with cold water to stop the cooking process.

I like to use two leaves per wrap. This helps to strengthen my wrap plus I get more greens in my lunch (win-win). No matter the method you choose, after you prep your greens the steps are the same.

1. Lay your leaves dark side up, one on top of the other.

2. Spread hummus, layer veggies, and top with a sprinkle of raisins.

3. Fold the bottom end up, fold one side in and roll closed, leaving the top end open.

4. Enjoy it right away or store in an air-tight container to have for lunch another day.

Thanks for looking!

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