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Collard greens are a nutrient-dense loose leaf that belongs to the cabbage family. Collard greens are chock full of minerals, antioxidants and nutrients including Vitamin A, K, C, B2, B6, fibre, calcium and iron. Studies prove that eating leafy green vegetables could help slow cognitive decline and keep mental abilities sharp. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention rated collard greens in tenth place in regards to nutrient density relating to foods most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk. There is also evidence suggesting that increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables may decrease the risk of breast cancer and other types of cancers.
Being a part of the cruciferous family, collard greens contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing chemicals. This chemical is what gives the leaves their bitter flavour. The National Cancer Institute states:
During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables are broken down to form biologically active compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates. Indole-3-carbinol (an indole) and sulforaphane (an isothiocyanate) have been most frequently examined for their anticancer effects.
I have discovered collard greens are the ideal leaf to use for wrapping veggies. They are strong and sturdy therefore don’t fall apart so you can stuff them with a ton of your favourite ingredients.
If you’ve ever eaten collard greens before, you’ll know they are quite hard, bitter and fibrous. This doesn’t make them very enjoyable to eat. Generally people will cook them to break down the fibre, but then you’re reducing the overall mineral content and significantly losing the Vitamin C. We don’t want that! Luckily I have discovered how to soften the leaves which makes them more palatable and easy to eat (while also keeping them raw). The secret is to freeze them for a couple of hours and rinse them prior to preparing the rolls. I don’t know how this works to soften the leaves, but it does! This process also seems to eliminate the bitter taste too which is a bonus.
Also make sure to use a sharp knife to trim the thick hard stem that is running down the center of the leaf. This will also help these wrap up nicely.
These wraps are jam-packed full of veggies. They are fresh, crunchy, nutritious and easy to make. Eat them as a meal yourself or serve them up as an entree between two. These wraps are totally customisable too. Use my ingredients as inspiration but substitute for any of your favourite veggies. Some others great fillings would be red onion, capsicum, olives, cabbage, sprouts etc.
I decided to pair these with one of my favourite dips – sundried tomato hummus. You can find the recipe for the hummus here. You could use your own favourite dipping sauce though. A guacamole or pesto would also pair well.
HOW TO ROLL