Fresh, savory, and bursting with layer upon layer of flavor, these collard green wraps will convert any skeptics and delight the converts. Promise.
Why we love this recipe
I'll admit it. Exactly like with naan pizza, I was highly skeptical of collard wraps for a good long time. But at a certain point in the CSA season, when bunches of collards kept arriving every Monday, sometimes in multiples, and we'd eaten all the Couve a Mineira our little hearts desired, my curiosity got the better of me.
I haven't yet solved the problem that this feels like about the whitest possible way to prepare collards. Still working through that one. But flavor-wise, it turns out that collard wraps exist for a reason. And the reason is that, done right, they're REALLY GOOD. These wraps:
- Are light and fresh but still really satisfying
- Have a great combo of flavors and textures: lemony, garlicky homemade hummus // savory salt and pepper tofu // sweet, crunchy carrots // cool, creamy avocado // tangy pickled onions // umami-rich Japanese mayo // spicy sriracha
- Are super-flexible: You can make them exactly as-is or swap in your favorite fillings
- Bonus: Both of our kids LOVE them
What you'll need for this recipe
Here's what you'll need. The combination of textures and flavors here is next-level, but you can also use the basic technique and swap ingredients in and out to suit your preference and the contents of your fridge.
- Choose nice, big, wide collard leaves if possible. The ones pictured here are on the smaller side, which still works okay. But the bigger they are, the easier to fill and fold.
- I like to use our lemony, garlicky homemade hummus. You can use store-bought hummus, baba ganoush, or another creamy bean dip. The important thing is to have a, thick, creamy base layer that helps keep the other ingredients from falling out of the wraps.
- We are big fans of this simple, savory salt and pepper tofu. You could also use this char siu tofu. If you don't mind whether the wraps are vegan, leftover grilled shrimp, chicken, or tender steak would all work really well.
- Quick-pickled red onions add a welcome tang and crunch to so many dishes.
How to make it
The keys to making great collard green wraps are to prep the greens (shave down the thick stems and then blanch the leaves) // to fill them judiciously // and to perfect the burrito-style wrap. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.
- Cut off the part of the stem that extends past the bottom of the leaf. Then shave down the thick stem until it's not much thicker than the leaf itself. This makes the leaves easier to fold and nicer to eat.
- Blanching means cooking the leaves briefly in boiling water and then plunging them into a bowl of ice water. Blanching makes the leaves a gorgeous bright green and softens them just a little, so they're tender to eat and easy to fold.
- Place the fillings toward the bottom of the leaf. Just a couple of tablespoons of each ingredient fills the wraps nicely without making them impossible to fold.
- If you've ever wrapped a burrito, you can fold a collard. Tuck the fillings in by folding up the bottom edge of the leaf. Then fold in the sides, holding them in place with your hands. Then roll all the way to the far end. Slice in half and serve!
How to fold
If you'd like to see a more detailed breakdown of how to fold a collard green wrap burrito-style, here you go.
- After filling, tuck the bottom of the leaf up over the fillings.
- Fold the left side of the leaf in toward the center, all the way up the leaf.
- Fold in the right side, parallel to the left.
- Starting at the bottom, roll the leaf away from you until you reach the top. That's it!
Expert tips and FAQs
Collards are brassicas (cruciferous vegetables), related to broccoli, cabbage, and kale. They have large, loose, dark-green leaves and thick stems. They have a strong nutritional profile: They're low in calories and high in folate, calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamins E, A, K, and C.
Blanching is the process of briefly cooking a vegetable in boiling water and then plunging it into ice water to stop the cooking. Blanching brightens the color of the collard greens and softens them up just enough to make crisp-tender wraps.
You'll find other recipes that skip this step, but I think it makes a huge difference in the delightfulness of the final dish. It's quick and easy, and you should do it.
This is an optional ingredient, but Japanese mayo (usually sold as Kewpie mayo in the U.S.) is a creamier, more umami-rich version of mayo. It's next-level mayo, basically. Like most mayonnaise, it's not vegan, so you can sub in a vegan mayo if you like.
- Prep the collard greens. Cut off the part of the stem that extends below the leaf. Then shave down the remaining thick stem with a knife so that it's not much thicker than the leaf.
- Blanch the greens: Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl halfway with ice and cold water. Add the collard greens to the pot and cook for one minute. Then immediately plunge into the ice water. When cold, remove and dry very well.
- Place leaves front-side-down on a work surface. (You'll fill the back side of the leaf.)
- On the bottom third of the leaf, centered from left to right, place about two tablespoons of hummus. Layer on the other ingredients, dividing equally among leaves. Be judicious with toppings, otherwise the leaves will be too hard to roll.
- To fold, see the detailed instructions in the post and video. Fold up the bottom over the fillings. Then fold in the left side and the right side. Then roll the leaf away from you.
- Cut in half crosswise and serve.
- Shaving down the stem makes folding easier and also makes the wraps nicer to eat. You can watch how to do it in the video.
- The front side of the leaf is the shinier side. The back is the side from which you shave down the stem.
- You can prep all the ingredients up to 24 hours in advance and store them separately in the fridge. (Cut avocado right before using.)
- Leftovers can be stored tightly sealed in the fridge for 24 hours, but I prefer to keep ingredients separate and assemble the wraps within the hour or so before serving if possible.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 131mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g