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Making Green, Grain-Free Wraps

I’ll use just about any excuse to work more dark, leafy greens like kale and collards into my diet. I blend them into smoothies, shred them for salads and add them to almost every soup I make.

My newest obsession is using the leaves in place of tortillas and wraps to enclose my favorite sandwich filling. Not only are they gluten-free, fat-free and virtually calorie-free, but they look cool and add a lot of character to even the most common ingredients.

Swiss Chard Rolls Stuffed with Turkey and Wild RiceCollard Rolls

Here’s a rundown on rolling your own.

1. Choose a green. Sturdy-leafed greens like collards, kale and chard are ideal. Select a bunch with large leaves to give you the most leeway when wrapping.

2. Prepare the leaves. Rinse the leaves and remove the stems. If the ribs of your greens are very thick you’ll want to remove the toughest part by making a V-shaped cut around them.

3. Blanch the leaves. If you prefer your greens raw you can skip this step, otherwise bring a large pot filled two-thirds with water to a boil. Add the leaves 3 or 4 at a time and boil until they are tender but not falling apart, about 3 minutes for chard and 5 to 6 minutes for kale and collards. Remove with tongs and place in a bowl of cold water. Repeat with remaining leaves.

4. Dry and store. When cool, remove the greens from the water and arrange them on a sheet pan between layers of paper towel. You can use the wraps immediately, or refrigerate them between fresh layers of paper towel for up to 2 days.

5. Ready to roll! Place a leaf on a work surface. If you like, overlap it with another leaf to make a larger wrapper. Place your filling ingredients on one side of the wrap, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Fold the ends in and then roll the leaf up burrito-style. Cut in half if you like and enjoy!

Outstanding Fillings

You can use almost any sandwich filling in your wraps, although at least one spread-like ingredient such hummus or cream cheese will help the rolls hold together better. Additionally, you’ll find it easiest to roll raw veggies up if they’re finely chopped or shredded. Here are some flavorful combinations.

Mexican-Style: Mashed avocado, black beans and salsa.

Smoked Salmon: Whipped cream cheese or white bean dip, slices of smoked salmon, dill and capers.

Mediterranean Egg Salad: Egg salad, diced tomato and sliced olives.

Savory Quinoa: Cooled quinoa, diced red onion, walnuts and raisins tossed with tahini.

Hummus and Veggies: Hummus, shredded carrot, shredded beet and sprouts.

Shepard’s Salad: Crumbled feta or goat cheese, finely diced tomato, finely diced cucumber, sliced olives and chopped parsley.

Do you have experience with grain-free wraps? What’s your favorite way to fill them? Share your ideas and suggestions in the comments section below.

 

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23 comments

Comments

Amy Payne says …

This sounds like an awesome idea and I just got some Kale and Chard in my vege basket this week. I have a quick question, do you think this would work for an enchilada recipe? And if so, should I not blanch them beforehand? This is the recipe I was thinking of making: http://www.skinnymom.com/2012/05/11/skinny-sour-cream-enchiladas/?_szp=161788#.UtAEtGRDtwR

Joann says …

Sounds wonderful, and healthy too....fantastic!

Kathleen Strauch says …

Sounds like variations of stuffed grape leaves, which I have growing in abundance on my fence, but I didn't know how to save them for the winter months...blanched, then immersed in olive oil?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@AMY - Are you wanting to replace the tortillas? It should work and yes, I would suggest not blanching the greens first so they don't get soggy after baking as well.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KATHLEEN - I wasn't able to find a recipe on our website but found this recipe that might work in preserving them: http://honest-food.net/veggie-recipes/pickle-recipes/preserved-grape-leaves/.

Marilyn says …

Alice or Nikki, these are great ideas but I do have one concern that's been on my mind for some time and since this was brought up in the article, I would welcome some feedback. I could never bring myself to use paper towels with food and produce because the lint and fine wood fibers from the towels will stick to the food and we'll ingest them. Yes, it's fiber, but not the kind I want. So what would be a good replacement for paper towels that can be used to dry and prepare food items.

Danae says …

Butternut Squash, Cabbage, Avocado, Sprouts and 365 Dijon Mustard. Delicious!

Susan says …

Grape leaves can be canned. Google preserving grapeleaves for directions. Good luck

Cathy S. says …

I must make these soon! They look so yummy! Nice use of greens. Thank you for the idea and recipe.

Karen Baldwin says …

This is just simple and great ! Wonderful idea I love it .

Karen says …

These sound wonderful. My husband and I are always looking for healthy alternatives. I have kale and chard growing in the garden. Going to give these a try. Thanks

Joanne Marzili says …

Can't wait to try them

Adrienne says …

you might be interested in this

Jodi says …

Great recipe ideas! I am anxious to try some of them out...seem easy to make and eat on the run and have something healthy.

Robin says …

Just like the lettuce wraps at our favorite Asian food restaurant. I love them with a hot filling mixture in them, since it's such a great contrast with the cool crisp greens and the warm filling. Guess I just never thought about making these at home! Thank you for the great filling ideas!

Daniel Butler says …

Cool wrap. Raw Greek! I'm trying this one.

Lily says …

This is a great idea! I want to try these.

Ronnie M. says …

This sounds really great. I have been trying to find low sodium ways to make fish tacos and wraps with grilled veggies. Now to make hummus low sodium I am set. Thank you so much for these great ideas!!!

Jesse says …

Can Mustard Green be parboiled or steamed 3-4 minutes and then used for wraps? What is best in a msutard green wrap?

Evangelist Veronica Carrington says …

I Will BE TRYING THIS BECAUSE I LOVE THAI WRAPS.THANKS

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARILYN - You could try a cotton waffle-knit towels (while still contain fibers) would probably be the least "linty".

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JESSE - Mustard greens can certainly be used as wraps, but they will be much more pungent and spicy than other leafy greens. Having a cool, creamy filling would be a nice contrast.

Adina Halter says …

Instead of using paper towels you could give them a spin in a salad spinner to dry them. Then put them between wax paper to store.