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.
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!
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.