Why I Ditched Sandwich Bread for Collard Green Wraps

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

What started off as an accidental purchase — blindly grabbing a bunch of collard greens instead of kale — ended up completely changing the way I do lunch. And I’m not talking about salads.

Instead, collard greens put an end to my days of relying solely on bread, wraps, or tortillas to make my lunch sandwiches.

My intention was to buy a bunch of kale for smoothies, but in my whirlwind dash through the produce section, I came home with a bunch of collard greens instead. After my initial bout of disappointment and failed yet optimistic attempt at a collard green smoothie, I decided to hop on board with the trend that was sweeping my Instagram feed: collard green wraps.

No, I’m not gluten-free, paleo, or on a low-carb craze. In fact I love carbs — like really love them — but buying them doesn’t always make sense for me. I can’t tell you how many times sandwich bread gets stale or moldy before I have a chance to eat it. I could freeze it, but it’s just not the same. So, swapping in collard leaves as a wrap makes sense. Plus, eating more greens just feels good. Really good.

(Image credit: Rohit Seth)

Why Collard Leaves Make Good Wraps

Not all leafy greens are up to the task of being a wrap. Not even the almighty kale leaf. Collards, though, are another story. This leafy green has extra large, billowy, and most importantly, really sturdy and flexible leaves. While other greens easily tear or split, collard leaves are tough; they can bend and fold around ingredients without breaking.

How to Make Collard Green Wraps

Collard greens have a thick stem and center rib that need to be dealt with first. I go about this by trimming the stem, then trimming down the center rib so that it’s about the same thickness as the leaf. You can go the extra step of making the leaves even more flexible by placing them in a large saucepan of boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transferring them to an ice bath. But this step is optional, and I typically skip it. These wraps work really well even without blanching the leaves.

To assemble, add your favorite sandwich ingredients and roll everything just as you would a burrito. And if you miss the heartiness you get from bread, or if you find yourself with smaller leaves, go ahead and make a second wrap.

Do you make collard green wraps? What’s your favorite sandwich combo?