Growing up as a little girl on the south side of Chicago, I loved holiday time or special weekends because we would always have collard greens. I always like to eat my vegetables so I look forward to helping my mom pick and prepare greens for dinner - my dad would cook them (and many other dishes) too sometimes.
SOUTHERN COLLARD GREENS
Most people make southern collard greens with pork and my family was no exception. Pork was the main ingredient to collard greens and I recall the boiling pot of water filled with pork with permeate the household. When the pork was cooked for a while the greens were added with veggies and seasonings. It was a slow cooking process, but when it was done it tasted like the greens could melt in your mouth. Those collard greens were the bomb.com for real. During my college years at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana I began to change my eating habits. It was during this time that I stopped eating pork and beef. I encourage family members to do the same.
THE HEALTHIER SOUTHERN COLLARD GREENS - MADE WITH TURKEY
I knew I wasn't going to give up collard greens so I was taxed with determining how to make something I love with without pork. It was a challenge. My mom then discovered smoked turkey. Oh yeah (doing the cabbage patch dance) we were on to something - a healthier version of collard greens. These were wonderful and I liked the smoked turkey more than the pork. I then was introduced to plant-based eating. Oh no, I thought. How will I eat collard greens now? I was sad and a bit confused about how meatless collar greens would taste. I had visions of blandness. I was then introduced to the vegan greens.
SOUTHERN COLLARD GREENS GO VEGAN
I had my first taste of vegan collard greens at Karyn's Cooked. Karyn's Cooked has delicious dishes that are great for new vegans. The menu is full of healthy version of some of your non-vegan favorites. Karyn vegan collard greens are hands down delicious!!!!! I had the sides combo while there and I was AMAZED!! I mean really amazed!! I had vegan mac-n-cheese and corn bread for my combo.
It was at that moment that I realized I CAN DO THIS!!! I soon created my own vegan version of collard greens (not quite like Karyn's) but they are totally good. I thought that I would stop there. I have undergone a collard green evolution. How much further could one go on this journey of eating healthier versions of soul food favorites and creating new ones?? Well, I realize that I could go further in this journey with the consumption of raw collard greens.
COLLARD GREENS GO RAW VEGAN
I was making collard green wraps and I thought about my journey. How eating collard greens today is so different from how I grew up eating collard greens. I eat collard greens so many ways today because I decided to step outside of my soul food loving comfort zone to try different things. Now don't get me wrong, I still make a vegan version of southern collard greens. However, I also eat raw vegan collard green dishes. My introduction to eating raw collard greens happened at Chicago RAW. I entered into Chicago Raw and to my amazement I saw a Collard Green Salad with Sauerkraut. I turned my nose up when I read the label and I thought this can't be good. I actually walked away initially and said to myself "you are taking things to far with food now!" I am so serious about this. After pouting for a minute I went back to the counter and purchased this salad telling myself "you cam't say you don't like something until you try it!" Well, I planned to try it to go through the process and to my surprised "hey mike, she likes it!!" This is now one of my favorite items from there. The following week I went back and I saw collard green burritos. I looked at them and I looked at them, but I DID NOT buy them. In fact, I tried several items off of the Chicago Raw Menu before I tried the collard green burrito.
It was noted as a best seller, but I've learned that not all raw vegan taste buds are the same. To be honest, I've tried some very tasteless foods. Chicago RAW is the absolute opposite - everything is flavor, including the collard green burritos. This is where I found my inspiration to make my own. I began checking websites and blogs for recipes and I did not come out quite like I like it. The reality is that collard greens can be tough and bitter raw so they need a little help in my opinion. So, I adapted what I saw from a little bit of everywhere (as usual) to create my own.
MAKING RAW COLLARD GREEN WRAPS (BURRITOS)
I decided to make my own version of raw vegan collard green wraps. Honestly, the options are endless for making these burritos. I have learned that my favorite is my very own "SPICY COLLARD GREEN WRAPS"
- Collard Green Leaves
- Spicy Hummus
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Broccoli Slaw
- Sliced Green Peppers
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Warm Water
- Hawiian Sea Salt
1) I lay out all the items as shown above to make this a smooth process. I start by selecting large collard green leaves to ensure that I have more than enough space to hold my ingredients and wrap them up. After I selected my leaves I flip them on the back and take a sharp knife to cut off some of the stem on the back (be careful). The stem is very thick on collards greens and it would be hard to fold the wraps if you did not cut the stem down some.
2) I soak the collard greens in warm water, fresh lemon juice and a little Hawaiian sea salt. Massage the leaves really nice and show them a little love. After a few minutes you will see that the leaves are softer and the color has changes. You can add a little EVOO if you like as well. Once you notice that the texture is softer you are ready to wrap. I dry the leaves with a paper towel and lay them out on the counter.
3) Once the greens are laid out on the counter (backed side facing you) you can began to place your ingredients in the wrap. You can mix all the ingredients in a bowl or you can place them how you choose on the leaf. My technique is the latter. I start by spreading a thick layer of spicy hummus on each leaf and then I add all the other ingredients. Once I add all the ingredients I may sprinkle a little lemon pepper on top op crushed red pepper.
4) I wrap the leaves. My technique is the fold the bottom in and fold in the sides as I roll the collard green to the top of the leaf. Once that is finished you are done!!!
I eat these with some brown rice and a small salad for lunch. These are delicious, nutritious and low in calories. You may have to go through my southern collard green evolution before you can really enjoy these or you can jump all in and just try something new.
THAT'S A WRAP!
Tags: black history, Chicago, chicago raw, chicago vegan, collard greens, comfort food, diet, eat healthy, Emerging vegan sistah, family goods, karyn cooked, meatless monday, raw vegan collard green wraps, southern collard greens, vegan collard greens, vegetarian, weightless, wellness