In response to all of the intricate raw food posts I’ve made over the last several months, I’ve been hearing a common question: “When do you have time to do all of that?!” Well, the truth is that I don’t, and I often had to sacrifice my sleep to complete everything on time. The learning experience was fantastic, but I need a little break, so I’m taking the month of November off to rest and do some traveling.
Like most other full time working professionals, my free time is limited to evenings and weekends, and many times after a long day, I’m just tired and don’t want to put a lot of effort info food preparation. Of course, I always want to make sure that I’m not sacrificing the quality or nutritional value of my food when I do so. I still shop almost exclusively in the produce department and make everything from scratch.
So, what was on my dinner plate this evening? Quinoa collard wraps! There is a local restaurant here where we live that makes wraps, which my husband is very fond of (I’ve never tried them). Today, he mentioned swinging by there for lunch, and I suggested that since he liked wraps so much, we should just pick up some ingredients at the grocery store to make our own much more affordably. Big thumbs up from Mr. Frugal. =D
We obviously have much different tastes in food (hence the name of this blog). While he is using whole wheat tortillas and turkey in his, I love to use gigantic collard greens as wraps and fill them with vegetables. Quinoa also makes a really hearty filling for wraps. While many traditional wraps put the grains on the outside and greens on the inside, I like to reverse it! I get a lot more green in my diet this way.
These were really easy to make. I cooked some quinoa and seasoned it like a tuna salad with celery and onion. Something that I also really love to add to quinoa is a good quality mustard. In this case, I used a 100% homemade curry honey mustard! A little of this stuff goes a long way. Use it sparingly!
Of course, you can use any kind that you like, but but seasoning the quinoa with any sauce or spread you might put in a sandwich, you don’t have to worry about it dripping out of your wrap while you’re trying to eat it.
I also added tomato, some yellow bell pepper, some spicy radish sprouts, and a few slices of homemade pickles from cucumbers that I grew on my porch.
All you have to do is layer in your ingredients and then wrap it up just like a burrito. After that, slice it in half (on the diagonal to be a little fancier), and voila!
I ate two of these for dinner, and I feel very satisfied. I also met my requirement of adding something leafy and green to every meal. 😉
This is an incredibly healthy meal for several reasons:
- Quinoa is a great plant-based source of protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is one of the only grains which can be considered a “complete protein”, and it also contains more minerals than other grains.
- Quinoa contains a bioflavanoid called “quercetin”, which is also found in the skins of apples and onions. It helps to stabilize mast cells and prevent the release of histamine. If you have allergies, this is a great food to incorporate into your diet.
- Leafy greens are a great source of calcium in general, but collards are the best source of calcium among all leafy greens, or any other vegetable for that matter!
- Collards are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and vitamin C. 2 cups of chopped collards give you 92% of all the RDA for vitamin C. The leaves in this recipe are so large, they easily blow that out of the water.
- Collard greens are also a source of ALA (omega-3). Combined with vitamin K, they are a highly anti-inflammatory food.
- Collard greens are effective at lowering cholesterol! Their high fiber content and the nutrients they contain bind to the bile acids that are released by our gallbladders after eating a fatty meal. Instead of getting reabsorbed into the body along with the fat, they pass through the intestines and existing cholesterol must be broken down to make more bile acids. This is actually the same mechanism by which some cholesterol drugs work. (Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138)
Please enjoy this recipe!
- 2 giant collard leaves - washed, dried, and stems shaved down flat
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2-1tsp honey mustard
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 2-3 tsp red onion, finely chopped
- pinch or two of salt, to taste
- twist or two of black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
- 6-8 small dill pickle slices (don't skip these!)
- sprouts of your choice (optional for extra "green")
- If you have leftover quinoa, this is a great use for it! Just mix in the "Quinoa Ingredients".
- If you need to cook the quinoa, follow the instructions on the package or just throw it in a rice cooker if you can't be bothered to read such things (guilty). Just make sure you rinse it first to remove residue which can result in bitterness.
- Chop the vegetables. If you had to cook your quinoa, mix the celery and onion in while it's still warm to soften them a bit. They are also good crunchy!
- Lay your prepared collard leaves down on a flat surface. Don't forget to shave the stems down with a sharp knife so the leaves can be rolled easily.
- Depending on the size of your collard greens, add appx 1/4 cup of quinoa (or maybe a little more or less) to the center of the leaf.
- Add any other wrap fillings that you'd like.
- Roll it up like a burrito.
- Slice it up and eat it!