The farm to table movement of recent years has brought attention to our local growers and encouraged consumers to buy fresher, locally grown food. However, this beneficial movement has always been part of our consumer choice. Eating processed and fast-food as the main part of the American diet overshadowed the fresh, flavorful fruits and vegetables that we have always had within our reach.
More people are paying attention to eating seasonally as a result of promotion and programs available to educate the general public. More restaurants are putting farm-fresh foods on their menu as more local growers provide their produce.
I am a plant-based eater. Having more local choices in fresh produce helps me plan my menu seasonally. My palette has changed over time. I love the taste of fresh fruit, vegetables and greens; both fresh and lightly steamed or roasted. This is what I crave. Creating fun ways to eat these delicious expressions of garden freshness keeps plant-based eating exciting.
Handheld salads in the form of wraps and rolls are a perfect nutrient-dense vessel for your favorite gluten-free, plant-based ingredients and flavors. Choose from collard greens, large green leaf lettuce, coconut wraps or rice sheets to allow the flavor of the vegetables to shine.
The recipes in today’s article for the fillings are from a website that offers a lot of wonderful plant based recipes and videos presented in a fun way. Abbeys Kitchen (abbeyskitchen.com.) has a video that shows you how to roll the collard green wraps and use the three different recipes for the fillings. Find the video at http://abbeyskitchen.com/vegan-collard-green-wraps/
Abbey Sharp’s technique on rolling is the key to success. I have made collard wraps in the past, but the addition of the extra one or two pieces of collard leaf before rolling makes a big difference in keeping the wrap together.
“Removing the tough rib from the collard greens makes the rolling and consuming easier”, according to Abbey. “If you don’t remove the rib, in most cases, it end ups buckling and bursting open when you try to roll. Once you remove the ribs, you will have two half leaves. Overlap the cut edges to close the gap. Then, add a second full (or half) leaf with the rib removed on top, but upside down. This creates a nice sturdy base for your wrap and helps to hold in you yummy veggie fillings.”
When layering the ingredients in your wraps spread the “glue”, which in this case is either avocado mash, hummus, or sweet potato mash, across horizontally and then place the ingredients a little at a time on top before you roll.
Whether you are using collard greens or any other of the wrap choices, you will fold and roll the wrap similar to a burrito. Fold up the bottom, then fold in the sides and continue to roll all the way. Place tooth picks in both sides to hold it in place. Cut straight through the center to create equal halves.
Prepare a spicy dipping sauce to use for added spices and flavor. I have included a recipe for a Spicy Chili Sunflower Seed Butter Dipping Sauce. You could use cashew butter instead of sunflower butter as the base.
These rolls keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Each filling recipe makes 4 full or 8 half rolls.
Make all three recipes. Buy 3 bunches of collard greens and remove the ribs. Roll them as instructed above and you will have a platter of beautiful color and nutrition for any event. Take them to a tail gating party as the often neglected “green” option.
We still have a great selection of seasonal vegetables and greens available before the end of the summer growing season. Make a shopping trip to the market and bring home multiple colors to roll into a wrap. I am already thinking about smashed butternut squash, apples, onions and cinnamon, rolled into my seasonal fall wrap! Fun garden freshness!
Choose all organic, non GMO ingredients where possible.
Recipes by Abbey Sharp, abbeyskitchen.com. Makes 8 half or 4 full rolls. Purchase 1 head of collard greens for each recipe below. Have toothpicks handy to help hold the wraps together.
Easy Fun Collard Wraps
Sweet Potato and Apple Option:
1 sweet potato steamed and mashed (put on top of the mustard)
½ red apple thinly sliced
1 small beet julienned
½ cup shredded red cabbage
¼ cup crushed walnuts
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (spread on first)
Black Bean and Avocado Option:
1 avocado mashed
1 cup canned black beans drained and rinsed
1 mango thinly sliced
1 - 2 cup cooked brown rice
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ cup hummus
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
¼ cup green olives, sliced
1 cup microgreens
½ cup shredded carrots
Remove the rib from the collard green leaves and set one leaf down green side facing down. Overlap the leave halves so they fill up the gap. Add another leaf on top but upside down and again, overlap those leave halves.
Spread either the sweet potato mash, avocado mash or hummus horizontally across the leaves and add your favorite toppings into the bottom 1/3 of the leaves (with the leaves set out lengthwise in front of you).
Roll the bottom up, then tightly tuck in the sides as you continue to roll up the rest.
Place tooth picks in each side to hold in place as you cut in half. Enjoy with the Spicy Dipping Sauce.
Spicy Chili Sunflower Seed Butter Dipping Sauce
Makes 2/3 cup
1/3 cup creamy unsalted sunflower seed butter
1 ½ -2 tablespoons Tamari or Soy Sauce
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste)
½ medium lime, juiced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Hot water too thin to 2/3 cup
Add sunflower seed butter, tamari, maple syrup, lime juice, and chili garlic sauce to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add enough warm water to thin into a thick but pourable sauce.
Taste and adjust the flavor as needed, adding more lime juice for acidity, red pepper flakes for heat, maple syrup for sweetness, or tamari for saltiness.