Collard Wrap Tutorial

by Gena on January 26, 2011

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Lately, I’ve been making a lot of collard green or Swiss chard wraps. This isn’t totally out of the ordinary, as raw wraps are one of my favorite dishes. But the frequency has been notable lately, and that’s because of the changes associated with student life. Being in school again means finding more options for eating on the go, and wraps make that really easy: they’re neat, portable, and a reliable way to get greens and veggies in without salads, which can be messy to pack up. As you can see, I can’t get enough of them these days:

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Of course, collard green (or any green) wraps are only useful when they don’t fall apart, and they’re a little tricky to get right at first. A few of you have been asking me about how I get mine to stay neatly together, so today I figured I’d pause to give you all a little tutorial. Don’t worry: I promise this is a lot easier than my physics homework.

Step 1: Select a Good Leaf

You don’t want a massive leaf, because you’ll end up with too much of it to eat (and raw collards, when we’re not enjoying them with a tasty filling, are pretty strong). Choose a flat, even, medium sized leaf, like this one:

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Step 2: De-Stem

Flip the leaf over so that the side with the prominent spine is facing up. Using a paring knife, cafefully start to shave off the spine, starting near the bottom, where it begins to protrude most:

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Careful as you do this: you don’t want to cut so deep that you actually cut through the leaf! Just follow carefully along the spine, slicing away only the thick part of it.

Step 3: Flip the Leaf

…so that the side you didn’t cut is facing up.

Step 4: Place a Vertical Column of Filler on One Side of the Leaf’s Center

Like so:

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I use hummus, nut pates, sauces, mashed potatoes, and all sorts of fillings! Get creative. I used my new favorite hummus—sweet potato hummus—here. (That recipe’s coming atcha soon!) I usually find that 1/4 of a cup is the right amount per leaf.

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If I’m using a nut pate that I know is very calorically dense, I may use only 2-3 tbsp instead.

Step 5: Pile Veggies Atop Filling

I always have my sliced veggies laid out neatly before I assemble, like so:

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And then I lie them vertically on top of the filling:

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Step 6: Fold the Top and Bottom Flaps of the Collard Leaf Toward the Center

Like so:

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Step 7: Fold the Side Closer to the Filling Over the Filling

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Step 8: Starting with the Folded Side, Roll the Leaf Up

You’ll be rolling from the folded side to the unfolded side, right to left or left to right (I almost just said “along the x-axis.” YIKES.)

In this case, I rolled from right to left. And voila!

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A neat, perfect little wrap. Slice it on a diagonal:

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And serve, or wrap tightly in foil, saran, or cloth to pack up for lunch or dinner on the go.

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Last night, I served my rolls with some leftover pressure cooker stew (that recipe will go up tomorrow) and some leftover crudites. Simple, semi-raw, and delicious:

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Hope this settles the mystery, guys! It’s really not hard at all: just requires a little paint-by-numbers :)

If you’re suddenly motivated to try a leafy green wrap, let me know what you make! I’ll be back tomorrow with a 15 minute stew recipe and a recap of an important community service event. Stay warm!

xo

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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie January 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Just made some delicious collard wraps for lunch! I love them filled with hummus, sprouts, veggies, avocado, and a little miso mayo. Thanks for the tutorial – I was cutting the stem too high and couldn’t figure out why my wraps never held together! Plus, I was using the wrong side!

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VeggieGirl January 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I can never get collard wraps to stay together, so thank you so much for these tips!

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Nicole January 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Thank you for the tips! Every time I make a wrapped sandwich, it’s awfully messy. I need to make a portable lunch for school next week and I am definitely going to give this a go!

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Ada January 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Ughh I’m doing my physics hw now and it is SO hard. Do you use the Halliday textbook also? By the way, I noticed from your Peacefood post that we live in the same exact neighborhood! I’m surprised we haven’t bumped into eachother yet:)

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Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:19 am

We do use Halliday. UGH. Such a pain, this class — I can already tell it’ll be my downfall.

And Ada, sorry not to comment sooner thanking you for your warmth and good wishes as I start school! We’re just an avenue away from each other uptown, and I go to Millbank plenty for the Calc help room, so I do hope to see you soon :) We can support each other.

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Laura C January 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm

ha, I remember Halliday. we were not great friends either. the help room is definitely your friend! And so are those random analogies you’ll be making ever more of (the x axis of the collard). concepts are learned best when they are based in sensory experience or imagery, so food analogies are perfect!

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Elle January 26, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Great idea for a portable lunch. Looks delicious. Do you think these could be made the night before? I am a bit of a zombie in the morning and like to do as much as possible the night before.

I’m also wondering if I could steam the collard leaf for just a minute or two. I love raw kale but raw collard greens seem a little advanced for my palate right now. :)

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Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:18 am

Sure you could! And yes, I’ve made them the night before.

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Elle January 30, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Wow, Gena. This is a winner! I just made some for lunch tomorrow and had to make an extra one to eat right now. I used lentil-walnut pate and apple slices. Just fantastic.

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Holly February 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm

wow, this combo sounds great too:)

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Aubrey January 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Thank you So very much:)

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lauren January 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Thanks for this — they look delicious! I’m always looking for ways to use collards, chards, and kale — I fell in love with them while growing them on a farm, and MUST have at least one of them every day!
Cheers!

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Christin@purplebirdblog January 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Thank you for the tutorial! Your wraps are gorgeous and tempting, as always!! :)

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Stephanie January 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I made another round of crazy awesome hummus that is just begging to be placed in a wrap! Great tips!

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Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan January 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I’ve always been scared of collard, don’t know why probably because the leaves are abnormally large…
I just made some sweet potato hummus for the first time a few days ago! We always make similar things at the same time, so weird lol

http://sketch-freeveganeating.blogspot.com/2011/01/sweet-potato-hummus-vegan-gf.html

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Eliz@The Sweet Life January 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm

This is so helpful! I always wondered….

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JL goes Vegan January 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Hmmmm. I sure need this tutorial. I’m a huge collard wrap fan (had one today, with a quinoa-black bean salad filling) but I usually resort to a fork and knife to eat it :) I’ll give your suggestions a shot.

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Bianca- Vegan Crunk January 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

As much as I love slow-cooked collards, I’m not a fan of them raw. :-( I really wanna like ‘em because collard wraps are so pretty! I tend to stick with romaine for raw wraps.

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Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble) January 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I love collard wraps, but mine always fall apart! THANK YOU for this!!

xo

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Jessica @ The Virtual Scrapbook January 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I could totally make these! Yum yum yum! Thank you for making them look so easy! AND, I have a store trip schedule this evening! YES!

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Brittany January 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I’ve actually been eating tons of collard wraps lately as well! Definitely appreciate the tutorial though- still perfecting my collard wrapping technique. This week I’ve been filling them with two of your recipes- cheesy red pepper hemp dip and raw broccoli hummus- along with a variety of bell peppers. Yum!

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Aurelia January 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Ooh! I haven’t tried collard wrap yet, but since I’m having a hard time with the banana sushi, this would probably an epic fail. So… thank you for this tutorial, I’ll make sure to have it around when I get my hands on collards!

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LC @ Let Them Eat Lentils January 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I tried collard wraps after seeing them on your blog and I have to be honest here, they just did NOT work for me. Oh they held together just fine, I just couldn’t stand the leaf taste. Tried steaming them too but blehhhhh. I just cringe when I see them now, but I’m jealous that you can enjoy those healthy bites! Not trying to yuck your yum, just wanted to note they’re not as innocuous as they look.

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Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:17 am

Ha! No, they’re not innocuous. They’re very strong tasting, but I’ve got a good taste for dark greens, and the fillings REALLY do help!

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Michelle (Housewife in the Raw) January 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I’ve never tried slicing the stem off, but not cutting it entirely off. I usually end up cutting it into two halves and filling each one. I like your method and will give it a go tomorrow (I have collard wraps planned for a picnic lunch with my munchkins). Thanks!

Now get back to that Physics work. I hated, hated physics. My mind just didn’t work that way. Chemistry and Biology I loved. Physics, not so much. Good luck!

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Jamie January 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I made your Cashew Curry spread and wrapped it in cabbage and romaine leaves. It’s divine and I’m planning on trying it with hemp seeds next. The combo of calming sweet spices I think would work well with their strong flavor.

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Allison January 26, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Thanks so much for the tutorial! I finally made my first successful collard wraps today! WOO HOO! I used a raw cilantro slaw, some dijon mustard, chickpeas and broccoli. Random, but it was yummy! This is going to be my new “go to” meal!

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Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama January 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Thanks for this great tutorial. I’m looking forward to the sweet potato hummus recipe!

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Lauren January 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Great tips! I have collards in the fridge because I’ve been craving a nice stuffed collard wrap!

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Claire January 26, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I made wraps using a recipe for quinoa, sweet potato, kale patties. I found a super easy recipe, and the ingredients stay together without baking or frying:

http://www.yumuniverse.com/2010/12/17/black-quinoa-sweet-potato-kale-cakes/

I also tried them with a mushed together version of your polenta stacks, minus the polenta. Really good!

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Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:17 am

So, so glad!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Ooooh they look perfect! And they stay together. And are all neat and tidy. Lovely oragami :) That’s how i feel about cabbage wraps. They are oragami..you never know where to fold, crease, wrap..you just pray for the best. Collards are a bit more predictable.

“along the x-axis.”–omg I had a flashback and nightmare for a second. Whew. Better you than me in physics and math classes!

The soup looks awesome too!

Stay warm, & stay sane with your homework :)

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ashley@quasichick January 26, 2011 at 7:39 pm

These look yummu! I need to add collards to my list of greens for the gocery trip. I can barely keep kale and spinach in my house as it is!

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Sarah January 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I love collard wraps! Kale salads are awesome but I find them so time consuming sometimes (maybe I just bit lazy…). However, taking some collard wraps and smearing them with veggies and hummus is so easy and appealing to me. I can totally understand why they have become a go-to for you because they are for me too! I just bought a bunch of collards and I am totally going to be making these for lunch and bring them with me to school tomorrow! I can’t wait for the stew recipe. I just made a black bean soup recipe from happy herbivore. It’s super easy and quick, maybe something you could bring to school: http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/salsa-soup/

Good luck with physics! (:

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Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:16 am

Thx girl!

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Gina January 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Great tutorial! I’ve been dying to make some of these and wasn’t quite sure how to throw it all together.

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bitt January 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I never thought to turn them inside out like that. I did a tutorial at some point this summer. People kept asking me how to make them! I had to watch a video on youtube at first because I was so confused.

I saw another sweet potato hummus mentioned today on twitter. It must be the next BIG thing.

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Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:16 am

Haha. LOOKOUT, world!

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Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day January 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Collard wraps are so so yummy! thanks for posting this.. I know that it will motivate people to make them.

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FoodFeud January 26, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Thank you! I was JUST thinking about asking how to do this! I think your increased wrappage have been inspiring a lot of people lately because I am seeing them all over the blogworld. Great, great trending.

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Hannah January 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Unfortunately I’ve *never* seen collard here in Canberra, Australia. Fresh or frozen! Perhaps I could try this with swiss chard or cabbage? I’ve used iceberg and cabbage for sang choy bao before, but they never really roll properly…

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Saba @ Less is More (Fun) January 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Thanks for posting this! We’ve got some amazing collards growing in our garden that I am excited to put to good use! :)

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Daniel January 26, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I bought some swiss chard at the beginning of the week and since I’ve been back in the dorms I’ve made wraps twice. I can’t thank you enough for doing this post because I’m really stressed and struggling to find something easy and portable to take to classes with me and this might be the solution I was looking for!!

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Faith @ lovelyascharged January 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm

This is awesome, especially since Im always looking for new creative lunches to pack for work! Awesome portability without the heaviness of sandwich breads…love the concept!

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Sarah @ Flavoropolis January 26, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Slicing off part of the stem… It’s so simple, so obvious and yet so brilliant.

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Casey January 26, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever seen collards over here in Oz. I ise silverbeet leaves normally for wrapping and also just stuff cabbage leaves and cos (romaine) leaves. So good and I love the neatness…it’s rare my food is neat! ;)

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Hoshigaki January 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm

As a pre-workout snackaroo I wrapped a banana in collard greens a la your breakfast a few posts ago sans nut butter and it was so good and convenient. This will be a staple of mine and I will experiment with more collard wraps. Sweet potatoes, chyess!
As always, thanks for the inspiration.

My teeth are sensitive to sweet/sour fruits but having greens with them seems to balance the sweetness/acidity.
It doesn’t align stringently with food-combining for maximum digestion but it has felt good so I’m going to throw satsumas in my salads while they’re in season (so sorry to rub it in but it’s sunny and 60F in San Fransisco this week and there are heaps of local citrus at the farmer’s markets).

On a tangent, I got some king trumpet mushrooms in my CSA this week. What should I do with them?
I also got a ridiculous amount of onions from my CSA (also not a huge fan)…like a whole bag. I’m thinking of dipping them in cooked cornmeal and baking them ’til crispy- a healthful play on onion rings. Thoughts?

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Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:16 am

Sounds tasty! I don’t know much about trumpet mushrooms, but good luck :)

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 27, 2011 at 12:09 am

These look fantastic – I love endless possibility!

Do you think it would work with kale? This is definitely going in my lunch box tomorrow. :)

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Gena January 27, 2011 at 12:15 am

Sure! But dino kale will work better than curly. If you use kale, find as flat a leaf as you can.

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Amanda January 27, 2011 at 12:36 am

gena, it’s like you have read my mind with this post! these past few days i have been searching your collard wrap entries for a tutorial on how to successfully wrap one, and now here it is! i’ve attempted two wraps this past week, and though they’ve turned out delicious, my wrapping style wasn’t quite working and they ended up pretty messy. so thanks so much for this post – i’m inspired to try again!

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Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) January 27, 2011 at 6:51 am

Thanks for this info Gena-your collard wraps are divine! Especially the one with Indian spiced veggies . . . oh my!

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Mike Lieberman January 27, 2011 at 11:21 am

I haven’t made these in months and have some fresh collards in the fridge. You just decided my lunch for me. I love these wraps.

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Lauren @ Coachlauren.net January 27, 2011 at 11:49 am

Yesss! Thanks for the tutorial!

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aubrey January 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm

thank you so much~!

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Han January 27, 2011 at 4:43 pm

They look delicious . The vietnamese also make alot of leafy wraps .I am gonna try make some with sprouts , cashews , coconut ,carrot , cucumber ,mushrooms, mint , coriander , garlic, lime , chilli … and a sweet chilli dipping sauce .

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Christine (The Raw Project) January 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Thanks for the tutorial, I’ve been a huge collard wrap fan too lately for fun lunches and salad alternatives.

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Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes January 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

These wraps look delicious, such a great way to pack more veggies in to your diet!

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elise January 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm

perfect timing. i just bought collard greens after seeing so many of yours lately…drool on the keyboard was getting old.
i love the nerdy references. kyle gets so over the dumbass references i make about ekgs and electrolytes and lab values. oy.

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Seth Hall January 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Sounds awesome. I’m currently starting a raw food lifestyle(day 2) so I’m always looking for more recipes since I’m new to all this.

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Namaste Gurl January 28, 2011 at 1:20 am

I always mess up and or break my collard, chard or kale wraps, so this tutorial was definitely helpful! I’m always amazed at how beautiful and graceful yours are put together and look :)
I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Lauren Slayton January 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Love the tutorial, that wrapping is serious business. I use nori to wrap a lot but I’ll give collards a try. “X Axis, gotta love it.”

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Sarah January 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Perfect timing! We’ve got some great-looking greens at our local co-op and I was just thinking of doing wraps. Thank you!

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Alex @ Healing Beauty January 29, 2011 at 11:00 am

Looks delicious! Thank you for the tutorial; I hope I can make them without all the ingredients falling out!

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Jen January 29, 2011 at 11:26 am

This tutorial was just in time for my meal planning next week. It will be a busy work week where I won’t have much, if any time to eat lunch. When things get like that I usually end up eating Vega/Lara/Prana Bars and maybe some nuts/seeds and fruit at my desk. Obviously that gets old and will end up not getting any veggies in during the day. I’ve tried to eat a salad at my desk, but it doesn’t work and it ends up getting warm and wilty and then I never eat it. These will be perfect! I can grab bites between phone calls and such. Thanks Gena!

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Kim January 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Gena,

When you dine out, do you find it ‘normal’ for the salad to be sprinkled with salt?

As for your post, ‘that’s a wrap!” :)

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Raw_Girl February 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Nice blog you got going here. Glad to stumble across here.

Collard greens – are they the same as elephant ear leaves? I got poisoned eated those raw :)

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Holly February 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Hi, thank you for your great blog and pix! I found you when healthy girl’s kitchen blog posted about yours:) So cool. I made these wraps today in a cooking class, and seeing that you trim the stems made them much more manageable to wrap. Thanks much for your yummy and creative recipes and I look forward to seeing more.
Best of luck with your classes!

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Natasha February 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

Hi! I’m new to your blog, but wanted to say that I’m so happy I saw this. I am trying to incorporate more greens into my diet especially Swiss Chard. I’ve never tried it raw, and always cook it the same way…the only way I knew what to do with them. I’m going to try this today!! Thanks for sharing!!

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Kathryn February 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm

My first collard wraps (with sweet potato hummus) were a huge hit. I added some sunflower seeds into the mix for crunch. Thanks so much!

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Cat April 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm

OK. Now I’m kind of sorry that I followed this link because I’m feeling compelled to try this idea. It just seems so healthy and sensible to make something like this the night before when you know the next day is going to be crazy. Just grab it in the morning on the way out the door. I probably will try it at least once – and see how I handle the chewing of the greens. I don’t think I’ve actually seen collards in the store, so might have to try something else – maybe find something that isn’t too tough to chew.

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Amber December 3, 2012 at 11:55 am

Thanks for the yummy tips!

You mentioned a sweet potato hummus that would soon be posted, but I searched your site and couldn’t find it. Will/did you share it, please?

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Gena December 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Amber,

It’s in my recipes section (recipes, not recipage). Enjoy!

G

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Handmade Affair January 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Thank you SO much for making this so easy. I had so many messed up wraps before this tutorial.Still edible, but just not as pretty. Collard wraps are awesome. Esp with a yummy curried seafood salad inside.

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Anonymous February 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Thanks for posting ths tutorial! You inspired me to make these wraps and they are great! I thought the raw collard green was very good. I also used alfalfa, fresh cremini mushrooms, and radishes in my wraps.

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Mylissa February 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Thanks for posting ths tutorial! You inspired me to make these wraps and they are great! I thought the raw collard green was very good. I also used alfalfa, fresh cremini mushrooms, and radishes in my wraps.

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Michelle July 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Thanks for the steps. I have LOVED the wraps at the local market, but hadn’t yet ventured to try them at home. THANK YOU!!!

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Gena July 24, 2013 at 8:59 pm

You are so welcome! Glad you like!

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Amy July 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm

They look beautiful and delicious! Is there any reason they would not freeze well? Could be a good way to turn those less-than-a-serving leftovers into a quick future lunch.

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