Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Mastering the Collard Wrap

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Mastering the Collard Wrap, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

I had a collard wrap for the first time on a visit to San Francisco several years back. It was at the Ferry Building Market from a raw foods vendor. Of all the great food there is to be had in that city (and we had a lot of it on that trip), the collard wrap I ate on the pier that day made the biggest impression. So delicious and like nothing I’d had before.

Living in the south, I was no stranger to collards, but I’m pretty sure that collard wrap was the first time I’d ever eaten them in raw form and without a side of mac and cheese and fried chicken in close proximity. I don’t remember exactly what was in it – cashew butter, beets and carrots for sure – because more than anything, I was blown away at how perfectly crafted and beautiful it was. Each green fold tucked unto the next with layers of color and texture stacked between. So masterfully put together that I had to go back and tell the dude who made it.

collard-wrap-3-honestfare.com

Then there was how great I felt after eating it. Satiated and energized, but not full. Treated, but not guilty. Oddly enough though, it was years before I had another collard wrap. (As if such a delightful thing could not exist outside the vacation bubble?) But luckily, the collard wrap found me again last year in a raw foods café in St. Augustine, and this time, I made sure to pay close attention to its construction, do some research and recreate it for myself.

It’s not that making a collard wrap is that complicated per say – it’s just that it requires a certain amount of technique and finesse. My first couple attempts were pretty pathetic, but that’s because I was doing it all wrong. Luckily, you won’t have that problem because I’m going to tell you exactly what to do.

You will require two collard leaves per wrap – the bigger the better. The ones I bought at the market on this particular day were huge!
collards-maya
(kitty for scale.)

After cutting off the white portion of the stalk that had no leafy greens attached to it, I soaked them in a bath of warm water and vinegar for about 10 minutes or so. This makes sure they’re nice and clean and room temp so they are more flexible for rolling later.

collards-washing

Now, see this big momma of a stalk that runs the length of the collard leaf? It’s got to go. Sorry, but if it doesn’t, your wrap won’t roll properly and you’ll just fold and tear things apart in vain until you end up with what looks like a dirty diaper filled with rainbow poop.

collard-process-1

Using a sharp paring knife, shave the dense stalk down until it is more or less the same thickness as the leaf. It’ll still be a bit thicker, but the goal is to get to where it’s flexible enough be rolled up with the rest of the leaf without snapping. And be careful not to nick or cut into the actual leaf with the tip of your knife as you do this. Glide, not hacksaw.

You can fill these wraps with whichever veggies, spreads, nuts, beans, sprouts, fruits, etc. you like. However, I do find that using a spread (even hummus) helps hold everything together, and is a nice smooth contrasting texture to the crunchy collard. I went with a beet, chickpea and carrot spread that’s super easy to make. Pretty too!

collard-process-2

Beets, chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, agave, salt, pepper and parsley in the food processor. Blended until creamy. Then I folded in shredded carrots to give a heartier texture.

And now for the fun part…
Place two collard leaves head to foot (stalks at opposite ends) and partially overlap the leaves. Apply your pâté or spread (“the glue”) first at the center and then start piling on the other veggies. You can get quite a bit in there, but be careful not to overload.

overlap

From here, assembly is not so different than what you’d do with a regular wrap or tortilla. Flip the sides up and then tuck and roll, folding in any stray corners that pop out along the way. (And feel free to use two hands, assuming you’re not holding a camera.)

collard-process-3-wrap

I like to cut them in half cause they’re a real handful otherwise.

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P.S. These travel really well because they don’t get soggy like bread does. AND, if kept in an airtight container or baggie, prepped collard leaves stay fresh in the fridge for at least a week, so you can easily make these whenever you’re in the mood.

collard-wrap-4-honestfare.com

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Recipe

Prep + cook time: 20 mins Makes enough chickpea beet spread for 4 collard wraps. I like to mash up the avocado instead of stacking slices because it gives a nice creamy texture. The bigger the collards the better.

You need:

  • 8 large collard leaves
  • Veggies of choice (avocado, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, etc.) and even quinoa or sunflower seeds are nice in there too!
  • Chickpea beet spread

For Chickpea beet spread:

  • 10 oz soaked or canned garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 a med-sized beet, peeled
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • A few sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 1/4 fresh garlic clove

Directions

  1. Place carrots into food processor and pulse until consistency of rolled oats. Remove and set aside. Put garbanzos, beets, parsley, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in food processor and pulse until creamy. Add a little water, one tablespoon at a time, if necessary to thin a little. Scrape sides of food processor and add salt (like 1/4 teaspoon), some pepper, tahini and agave and pulse again a few times. Taste and add any additional salt or pepper. Fold in carrots until well combines. Place in fridge to chill.
  2. Remove the healthiest looking collard leaves from the bunch and trim off the white stalk that does not have any green leaves attached. Soak leaves in warm water and vinegar bath for a few minutes to clean and bring to room temp.
  3. Dry leaves completely. Place leaves flat (rough side up) on a cutting board and gently glide a sharp paring knife across the length of the stem, shaving it down to the same thickness as the rest of the leaf (refer to image in post). Do this for each leaf. Careful not to nick or tear the leaf with the tip of your knife.
  4. Each wrap will require two leaves for rolling. Place two leaves head to foot (with stalks at opposite ends) and overlapping about half way (refer to image in post). Apply a good amount of spread at the center where the two leaves overlap and pile up veggies of your choice. Fold in sides and tightly roll like you would a burrito. Leave whole if traveling or saving for later, but cut through center before eating.

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45 Comments

  1. Posted December 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM | Permalink

    I have been on a Collard fix myself lately. These look amazing and will have to try!

    E.A.T.

  2. Posted December 10, 2010 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    I will make more jerky if you make me these while we’re waiting for it to be done.

  3. Posted December 10, 2010 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Wow, yum! This is a great post. I really appreciate the step by step pictures. Makes me really want to run out and buy collards!

  4. gabi
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    You have yourself a deal, Katie.

  5. danna
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 1:58 AM | Permalink

    thanks for the advice! i was so excited to make my first collard wraps recently and they was a disaster. i may never have tried again but you’ve given me hope!

  6. danna
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

    * were* :)

  7. Posted December 12, 2010 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    Love the kitty and collards picture! What fun colors!!

  8. Tal
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Are the beets in the chickpea beat spread roasted/cooked first? This recipe looks great! I bet tofu would be a good filler

  9. gabi
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    Hi Tal – Nope they are raw. The chickpeas must either be soaked first over night or just use canned ones.

  10. Posted December 14, 2010 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

    Being from Georgia, I love my collard greens, though I’ve never had them raw.
    This looks so good!

  11. Posted December 14, 2010 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    This looks really delicious, I think I can understand why you go back and tell the dude who made it. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    living in chicago, this is the last thing i’d ever think to make, but it looks simply incredible. must try! thank you!

  13. Posted December 15, 2010 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    The kind of meal I eat non stop in the summertime. It reminds me that it’s equally good in the winter. And I love your spread! Thanks.

  14. Rachel
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    I find collards one of the toughest greens to enjoy. I never would have thought to use them raw. Thanks for the inspiration, and the tip to cut the stem out. I filled mine with the veggies I had in my fridge, and made a spread with walnuts and miso. They looked beautiful, and were enjoyed by all at the potluck where I shared them. Your blog and your kitty are gorgeous.

  15. Posted December 17, 2010 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    The technique is similar to wrapping tamales, but with a much prettier, kaleidoscopic presentation. What a treat.
    And, of course, kitty should also take a bow.

  16. Posted December 17, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    I love collard wraps but haven’t made them in a long time either. I used to make mine with raw”cashew cheese”, carrots, sprouts, and apple. Thanks for reminding me to make some again!

  17. Posted December 19, 2010 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

    I can’t wait to try these — it’s a shame but I don’t think I’ve ever had collards before! This looks like the perfect packed lunch. Thanks so much!

  18. Lauren
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    I made this recipe for Sunday dinner and it was a terrific success! I was the only one who had a problem making the wrap work. The sunflower seeds were a hit! Thank you for posting this delicious recipe! The detailed instructions were perfect.

  19. Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    What kind of chips are those? They look amazing! Not that the collard wraps don’t, but the vibrant orange caught my eye!

  20. gabi
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    haha. Just some store bought sweet potato chips! They were amazing ;) Can’t remember the brand though.

  21. Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    You are a genius. I am so glad I discovered your wonderful blog! I have found so many recipes I want to try, and I’ve only been here 5 minutes!

  22. gabi
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    haha. well thanks! Sounds like you’ve got some cooking ahead of you!

  23. Rayne
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

    I am so happy I stumbled upon this site. The collard wrap is such a great idea. I am going to incorporate this into my food preparation. Thank you! You are inspiring me!

  24. Posted March 15, 2011 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

    beautiful post and site!! I am so glad I found you :)

  25. Zi
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    This was DELICIOUS! I really enjoyed eating mine today after class and the gym. Totally energized me. :] I love the taste of the collards and the taste was really well balanced and satisfying. Just what I needed for my leafy cravings. Thanks!

  26. Zi
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    *the over-all taste was well balanced…etc

  27. Posted April 7, 2011 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    Okay… I’m officially obsessed with your blog. Such gorgeous pictures and recipes

  28. Anon.
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    I love this recipe! – My only problem was that the collards we get here aren’t quite as flat and large as yours, and so my wrap kept falling apart. Do you know of any other leaves that I could use instead?
    Thanks for the great recipe!!

  29. gabi
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    Large green cabbage should work great and even kale if it’s big enough. Give it a shot!

  30. brice stephens
    Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    this is tomorrows lunch with the fresh collards I brought home from Palmers Feed Store.

  31. gabi
    Posted October 28, 2011 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

    you rule

  32. Posted October 28, 2011 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    Just wanted to let you know that we reposted this recipe as a feature in our farm’s weekly newsletter and have already heard excited feedback from our CSA members. Hope you receive some more hits/traffic as a result — your postings are great quality!

    –Katherine Dyer, Poplar Ridge Farm (North Carolina)

  33. Posted November 1, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    I am a sucker for collard green wraps! The spread looks and sound amazing.

    Keep sharing your wonderful recipes and photos!

  34. Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Beautiful – the recipe, the wrap, your blog…

    I recently had a similar collard wrap experience and am now here doing that research as I become totally consumed by this idea.

  35. Posted April 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    A pure delight, from the photos to the clear step-by-step instructions. I’m going to share this with my Food for Healthy Bones audience as collards are brilliant for bone strength. And of course, give the credit back to you at Honest Fare. From my bones to yours, Irma

  36. Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

    Great site! Love your photos…and the food looks lovely! Cheers!

  37. becky
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    I made this for my meat obsessed family and they loved it! I’ve never tried anything like this but it’s now a favorite (even with my dad). Very versatile and delicious. Thank you for the beautifully presented recipe

  38. Christina
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    I never realized you could eat collards raw. I have to ask, what is tahini? And, where can I find it?

  39. gabi
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Christina,
    Yep, raw collards are the best. Raw kale too! Okay, tahini is a paste made from hulled sesame seeds. It’s like a peanut or almond butter made with sesame and it’s used a lot in middle eastern cuisine and a major component in hummus. Gives that nutty, rich and smoky flavor.

  40. Kat
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    Hi! I stumbled onto your site looking for info on how to properly prepare collard wraps, and your pâté recipe looked so beautiful I just had to try it! I didn’t have any garbanzo beans so I used a cup of cashews that I soaked for an hour to make them soft and to release some of those nasty enzyme inhibitors :) plus I don’t digest beans very well :/
    It turned out awesomely by the way, thanks for the recipe!

  41. kim
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    hahahaha…..”what looks like a dirty diaper filled with rainbow poop” What a sad, descriptive image.

  42. gabi
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    Haha! I forgot I wrote that. So true though!

  43. Betsy Williston
    Posted July 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

    Wow! Thank You! Traveling out of town and am going to take this with me!

  44. Mary
    Posted January 18, 2014 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    How long would the beet, chickpea, carrot mixture last in the fridge? i’m the only one who eats these types of foods, so I try to make things i can eat 3 days later to not waste anything. sometimes its not worth the mess of the kitchen and the food processor trying to make a small batch. Thank you!

  45. gabi
    Posted January 20, 2014 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    Totally understand, Mary. It’ll last about 4 days, but I wouldn’t go beyond that. You can always make a large batch and freeze some for another time as well.

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