Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Collard Rolls and Beautiful Beans

Dinner tonight consisted of  beans and grain wrapped in collard greens. The recipe is loosely based on my mom's cabbage rolls, which  were a wintertime standard in our house growing up. I kept the seasoning very basic...use any combination of spices and herbs you like.

We ate this with some salad and a side of lightly steamed green beans. I found some especially lovely ones at my local co-op. They're organically grown in Mexico...I try to stick to locally grown produce (even this time of year) but these were so beautiful, I couldn't pass them up:

Collard Rolls (makes 6-8 rolls, depending on size)
6-8 large collard greens, destemmed
2 cups cooked grain of choice ( I used Kashi Pilaf cooked in veggie broth)
2 cups cooked beans of choice ( I used white beans)
1 cup finely chopped leek
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
1 large green pepper, finely chopped (throw any veggies you like in there)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
optional secret ingredient: 1/4 cup sauerkraut, drained or 1/8 cup lemon zest
a few sprigs of  fresh thyme, leaves pulled from woody stem
salt and pepper to taste
chopped hazelnuts (or other nut/seed of choice) to garnish

Saute the carrot and green pepper for 4-5 minutes, toss in the leek and garlic and saute for another 3-4 minutes, then add the beans, grain, parsley, thyme, and sauerkraut or lemon zest (if using), and stir to combine. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.

Take a collard green and remove the thick part of the stem by cutting along the edges.  Lay the collard leaf in front of you lengthwise and place a several good-sized tablespoons of the cooked grain and bean mixture in the middle of the leaf closest to you and fold the leaf over the filling, tucking it under and pulling it as tight as possible w/o tearing. Then, fold in the two lateral sides and continue to roll up the other half of the leaf as tightly as possible to form a roll.

Note: If you lightly steam the collards first, the rolls will be easier to make. Also, I didn't have enough collards to do this, but if you double up the leaves for each roll, laying two collards top-to-tail on top of each other, the rolls are practically fool-proof, and you get double the collard greens!

Ladle some slightly sweet/sour tomato sauce (recipe below) into the bottom of a casserole dish and place the rolls in the sauce, cover with more sauce, and bake covered in a 350 (F) oven for 30 - 45 minutes until heated through and the collards are tender. This will depend on how big the rolls are and whether you steamed the collards before making the rolls. Serve topped with chopped hazelnuts or other nut of choice.

Slightly Sweet and Sour Sauce
28 oz diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 bay leaf
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon vinegar of choice
1 tablespoons agave
handful of fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the celery and onion with the bay leaf and red pepper flakes until tender. Add the the rest of the ingredients, bring to simmer, turn down heat, cover and let cook gently for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed to maintain desired consistency.


  1. Lovely recipe.

    I know what you mean about seeing beautiful fresh produce at this time of year. It just calls out to be bought even though it's not local or in season.

  2. Absolutely incredible! Your blog started off slow but you are really soaring now!

  3. Hi Catofstripes,

    I agree, this is the time of year when winter veg is starting to get a little boring, and we're just waiting for the new growing season to get into swing.

  4. Thanks for the lovely comment SV, that is a really nice bit of encouragement.

  5. What an inspiring series of posts! I love the idea of rolling fillings in fresh green leaves. Mmm, maybe tonight. I'm off to the grocery store *right now* to see what they've got for fresh produce!

  6. Thanks Zoa,

    I hope you find some nice produce.

  7. Rose,

    I love the secret ingredient! If you ever want a change I also sometimes use swiss chard leaves to hold filling. Since they are thinner you can shape them very easily.


  8. Alicia,

    I might use chard next time...they would be a lot easier to work with.

  9. Hi there,
    I have onlyjust found your blog.

    Lovely recipe.

    Like Alicia, I made something similar with rainbow chard.

  10. Hi Mangocheeks,

    Thanks for commenting. I like the idea of making chard rolls too.

    I just checked out your blog...I'm looking forward to reading about what you get up to in the garden and the kitchen.


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