This is a meal that came together with the leftover ingredients from an intense four day cookbook photoshoot – it turned out so nicely that we thought it would be worth sharing here.
Masha and I live far away from each other, I’m in Florida and she’s in NYC, so when we get together to work on photos, we really have to make the time count. For the cookbook, we will make and photograph many recipes a day, which, at the end of it all, leaves us with a complete war zone of a refrigerator. The next week or so is spent freezing things that can be frozen, giving away the food to any and all willing friends, and worrying about letting the leftover ingredients go to waste.
This time around, we worked on a few Mexican-inspired recipes and ended up with a tight selection of extra ingredients that would make for a great bunch of tacos. Specifically, there were chipotle-roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, fresh corn, red cabbage, jalapeño, avocado, and a ton of cilantro. Ah, but there was also half a bunch of robust collard green leaves – you know where I’m going with this.
For the sauce, I modified my garlic cream recipe a little by adding chipotle for spice and to fit it in with the theme.
I love the idea of collard green rolls and will often throw together some version of these with whichever fresh ingredients I have on hand, mostly for a quick solo lunch. Sometimes, when I’m craving something extra green and crunchy, I will just use raw collard leaves as wraps, but most of the time, I give them a quick blanch. I like how pliable they get, and how their flavor becomes a little more background and less of that in-your-face dark green kind of taste that raw collard greens have. The blanched leaves will also keep well for a few days in the refrigerator, if you want to wrap as you go.
These rolls travel well and would stand up to being brought to work for lunch or to an outdoor picnic. I took a few on the plane back to Florida and was a very content traveler, despite a bumpy flight.
- 1 cup cashews - soaked for 2-4 hours
- ½ cup purified water
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tamari
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle spice
- 1 medium sweet potato - peeled and cut into ½ - ¾ inch thick sticks (cubed in the photo, as it was already roasted for a different recipe)
- ½ tablespoon neutral coconut oil - melted
- sea salt - to taste
- ground chipotle - to taste, for sprinkling
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- kernels of 1 corn ear or 1 cup frozen and thawed corn
- about 1 cup cherry tomatoes - quartered
- ¼ red onion - finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno - seeded and finely chopped
- about 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 large or 2 small limes - juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5-7 collard green leaves
- ½ small red cabbage - thinly shredded
- ¼ English cucumber - sliced into ½-inch sticks
- 1 avocado - sliced into wedges
- Drain and rinse cashews and place them into an upright blender.
- Add the rest of ingredients and blend until smooth. Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Arrange sweet potato sticks on a parchment paper-covered baking tray. Add oil, sprinkle with salt and ground chipotle. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until soft.
- Combine beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and cilantro leaves in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt, add squeeze juice of lime, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to combine.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Holding collard leaves by their stems, submerge 2-3 leaves at a time into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then rinse under cold water. Dry the leaves and shave down the thicker bottom parts of the stems.
- Working with one leaf at a time, arrange a small handful of shredded cabbage in the middle, perpendicularly to the stem, top with 1-2 cucumber pieces, 2 avocado slices, 1-2 roasted sweet potato sticks, and black bean relish. Fold the lowest end of the leaf over the filling, followed by the sides, then roll tightly. Serve whole or cut in half, with chipotle-lime cream. Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.