Lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed with raw collard greens – washing them, trimming the stem, experimenting with flavors to fill them and then rolling them up. It’s my neurotic need to keep sandwiches in my life – without the bread.
I love mixing flavors. When I was younger, I’d do some ccrrraaaazzzy flavor mixing: peanut butter sandwiches dunked in my fave Koolaid; pickles dunked in vanilla shakes (nope I wasn’t pregnant); peanut butter and fried bologna sandwiches. I love the taste of different flavors blending together in my mouth. Even now at 57, a bag of Munchos will immediately trigger a craving for chips drizzled with (or drowning in) ketchup. Flavors are meant to co-exist and create new flavors – hence the concept behind bread, pita pockets, tortillas, biscuits, pizza dough – to keep meals interesting. But because I haven’t yet trained my 57-year-old body to burn the calories that bread products generously share with me, collard greens are a great sandwich substitute!
Disease-fighting and low-cal, collard greens boast many health benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cancer-fighting, digestive support – and the list goes on. You can read more about how nutritious collard greens are here. But more than how healthy they can make you, their firm but pliable texture make them sandwich perfect! And you can fill them with anything:
- zucchini strips
- shredded carrots
- garbanzo, black or northern beans
- bell pepper
- strips of your favorite meatless (or meat) burgers
- hummus – a great foundation layer
And the list goes on. One of my favorite filling combos is: pecans crushed; couscous (cooked according to instructions); hummus; zucchini, onion bell peppers, and ripe avocado – all cut into strips; seasoned with smoked paprika, garlic powder, sage, and cilantro. Spread the hummus on a washed leaf. Then layer all the ingredients and roll up like a burrito.