The Whole Foods paper bags in Cambridge now claim that "Collard greens are the new kale" and they may very well be right! I picked up a bunch of collard greens at the on-campus market last week, having finished the last of the halupki that I had frozen and being intrigued by the large, dark green leaves. Collard greens may have the greatest cholesterol lowering ability of all of the cruciferous vegetables and they pack the same cancer-fighting punch that you've come to know & love from the cruciferous family. They are strongly anti-inflammatory, with high doses of phytonutrients (antioxidants), vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, collard greens pack a monster dose of vitamins A, B, C, K and calcium, iron, and magnesium. I bet you didn't know all of that about this super food! This recipe serves them up stuffed with wild rice, lentils, sunflower seeds, and carrots for a savory and nutritionally dense hand-held meal.
Speaking of super foods, one of the girls who I rowed with on the national team and at Riverside writes a (very good) blog and this week she covered 8 Power Foods for Athletes. Esther is an Olympic gold medalist and has made the national team more times than I can count, so I'd say she knows a thing or two! Head over to her site to check it out!
Smoky Collard Wraps
1c brown rice
1/2c wild rice
1c dried green lentils
1/2c raw sunflower seeds
3c baby carrots or 6 large carrots, shredded
6 cloves garlic
1 large bunch collard greens
1. Prepare rices and lentils as directed on the package in boiling water
2. Bring an additional large pot of water to a boil. This will be for blanching the collard greens.
3. In a food processor, shred carrots, then add the garlic, then the onions. Transfer this to a large pot for sautéing and add spices to taste. Add sunflower seeds and cook until carrots are tender.
4. Separate out large, untorn collard leaves. Cut off the stem and blanch in boiling water until the stalks are tender (~8 minutes). You can do 4-5 leaves at a time. Dry with a paper towel once removing from the boiling water.
5. In a large bowl, combine rices, lentils, and carrot mixture. Add additional spices to taste.
6. Place ~1/3c filling in the center of the collard green and wrap up like a present! As the wraps cool, they will further conform to their folder shape.
7. Enjoy immediately or save as leftovers. I can guarantee that these won't last for long!