Greek Collard Green Wraps with Vegan Tzatziki
Crunchy wraps with all the Greek flavors. Features a lemon-herb quinoa, crisp veggies, and a creamy vegan tzatziki. Collard greens make for the perfect tortilla substitute. They’ll stay crisp in the fridge, so you’ll have dinner and tomorrow's lunch covered! Vegan & Gluten Free. <jump to recipe>
This week has flown by in what's felt like a single blink. Anguel and I spent the end of last week on the other side of the country (for work stuff), and I think it was the mid-weekend flight home that put me all out of whack. On the upside, we had a couple wonderful days in our old stomping ground. We ate pizza dinners with friends (twice), met up with old colleagues, saw one friend's new house and met another's new baby. We wrapped up the trip with huge smiles on our faces…and then as soon as we stepped on the plane, unintentionally replaced them with ugly-cute sleeping faces that stuck for the entire flight home.
Neither of us bothered to go too crazy with the groceries this week (surprising, I know). But we still need to eat – so this week was a lot of clean-out-the-fridge-type meals that could be pulled together in a jiffy. These veggie wraps are exactly that. You could really put whatever you want in them, but I stumbled across a combination that we're totally obsessed with.
First off, let me start by talking about collard greens. I feel like they don't get as much love as their close cousin kale, but this humble cruciferous definitely deserves some respect. Raw collard green leaves make excellent 'wraps'. They're a great gluten-free, grain-free option and let you pack even more nutritious veggies into your meal. And unlike bread or grain-based tortilla shells, collard green leaves don't get all sad and soggy. Thankfully, this means you can make a bunch of extra wraps and keep them in the fridge for a couple days without worrying. It truly makes for stress-free lunches and dinners.
The wraps themselves are pretty low-maintenance. To prepare the collard green leaves, all you'll need to do is give them a good wash, pat them dry and cut off the stalks. The next step is trimming the part of the stalk that runs through the leaf. Simply take a sharp knife and run it along the edge of the stalk to thin it down. You won't remove it completely, but just shave it down as much as you can (without cutting the leaf). This will make it easier to roll the leaves into wraps.
Let's take a second to chat tzatziki. Vegan tzatziki is a newer one for me, but I'm totally smitten. I've been dreaming about a vegan version ever since I posted my favorite yogurt-based tzatziki recipe, and I'm glad it finally happened! I tried a whole host of variations for this one (including a white-bean version), but in the end I went with a classic cashew base. I find it yields the thickest, most yogurt-like consistency. My loyal taste testing family couldn't even tell this recipe was dairy-free! If you actually compare it to my original version, you'll see they're very similar. I just substituted the yogurt with an equal amount of blended cashews (and water). And then amped up the lemon juice to add some extra tang, since yogurt is naturally more sour. But other than that, it's quite close to my tried-and-true favorite (which I suspect will be quickly replaced with this vegan version).
In addition to the creamy vegan tzatziki, these Greek Collard Green Wraps feature a delicious lemony herb quinoa. Then they're stuffed with crunchy fresh veggies, like cucumbers and bell peppers. Tasty garnishes like kalamata olives, red onion and fresh mint really bring the Greek-flavors full circle. For our tastes, these toppings add the perfect amount of crunch, creaminess, saltiness and fresh herb-alicious flavors. At the end of the day though, the beauty of these wraps is that they are super versatile. Want to add in some nuts? Go ahead. An extra squeeze of lemon or even a crumbling of feta cheese (vegan or not) would also pair well. Hope you guys enjoy them as much as we do!
GREEK-INSPIRED COLLARD GREEN WRAPS
SERVES 4 (VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)
Lemon & herb quinoa:
- 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch collard greens (~8 medium-sized leaves)*
- 1/2 a cucumber, cut into matchstick pieces
- 2 cups bell peppers, cut into matchstick pieces**
- 1 cup baby tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- Vegan Tzatziki (recipe below)
- Put the cooked quinoa in a medium sized bowl. Mix in the lemon juice and olive oil, until the quinoa is well coated. Add in chopped parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, and then set aside.
- Cut the thick stalks off the collard green leaves. Then, use a sharp knife to thin down the remaining stalk that runs up the length of the leaf. To do this, put the leaf face down – then, slide a knife along the stalk to shave as much of it down as you can (without cutting into the leaf). This helps the leaves be more flexible for rolling. Repeat with the remainder of the leaves.
- To assemble, spread a generous layer of tzatziki sauce into the middle of the leaf. Scoop some herbed quinoa on top; then layer on the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, red onion and mint. Roll the wraps just like you would a burrito: tuck in the short sides and then roll tightly. Keep extras in the fridge.
*The number of wraps will vary based on the size of the collard green leaves, and how much filling you add to each. Plan to have a few extra leaves on hand in case you need more. Opt for a bunch with medium to large sized leaves, as it makes rolling easier.
**You can use red, orange and/or yellow peppers. 2 bell peppers will roughly yield 2 cups sliced.
VEGAN TZATZIKI SAUCE
MAKES 1 1/4 CUPS (VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)
- 3/4 cup cashews, soaked (6 hours or overnight)*
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- Rinse cashews thoroughly after soaking. Put cashews, lemon juice and water into a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
- Grate cucumber (skin on) and use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to squeeze out all the liquid. Fold the grated cucumber into the cashew mixture. Add dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and then refrigerate to cool.
*If you're short on time, you can 'quick-soak' the cashews by pouring boiling water over the cashews and letting them sit for ~1 hour.
Vegan Tzatziki Sauce adapted from my "Falafel Tahini Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce" recipe