Mill City Cooks

Collard Wraps

by Anna Dvorak

This is what I eat for fast food – usually a main dish lunch. As long as I have the collard greens on hand, I can make a simple wrap using some crunchy and colorful vegetables, something creamy like hummus, bean dip, guacamole or a Sesame-Ginger Sunflower Spread and a little onion for bite. Then I roll it up and eat it or take it to go. Collard greens are amazingly sweet and crunchy when they are raw – and naturally gluten-free, of course.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: One serving (multiplies easily)
Gluten-free, Dairy-free
1 collard leaf, washed and patted dry on both sides
1/4 cup Sesame-Ginger Sunflower Spread (recipe follows), Hummus or White Bean Dip (see nourish: spring)
1/4 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
A little fistful of sunflower sprouts 
A few thin slices of red onion
1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds

Remove center rib from collard green and discard. Lay each half of the collard leaf flat on a cutting board and spread with the hummus, covering all but 2” of one tip. Divide the remaining vegetables between the two halves and roll, starting with the hummus covered end. Secure with a toothpick and eat immediately or on the run.

Sesame-Ginger Sunflower Spread
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: Two cups
Gluten-free, Dairy-free
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 6-8 hours in 1 1/2 cups water
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, unhulled 
1 1/2 tablespoons raw tahini
2 tablespoons low-sodium, gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional

In a food processor, pulse to chop the garlic and ginger until finely minced. Drain the soaked sunflower seeds and add to the food processor along with the sesame seeds and process until smooth. Add the tahini, soy sauce, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Taste for salt and lemon and adjust as necessary. Store refrigerated in a glass container for up to one week.

Nutrition Tip: The collard green is worth getting to know. Probably more feared than any other green vegetable for its intimidating shape and sturdy leaf, it is actually quite wonderful when you start eating it. Collards are one of the very best vegetable sources of calcium, have tons of vitamins A, K, B6 and folate and are a good source of plant protein as well. They are also part of the cruciferous family of vegetables – notoriously powerful for their protective anti-cancer activity. Use them like any dark green when you cook them, by braising or sautéeing with garlic, onions and a little liquid or just olive oil.