This recipe was inspired by the amazing collard greens wraps from one of my local raw food eateries, The Raw Kitchen (you can see some pictures of theirs on my Instagram here). In particular, they make a wrap with a dehydrated raw nut felafel that sits on a pile of freshly grated vegetables, drizzled with a tangy tahini sauce. This wrap is so delicious AND insanely good for you that I had recreate the recipe for myself …and now for all of you!
As I don’t own a dehydrator, in order to make the felafel for this wrap I had to go with a traditional cooked chickpea felafel. But to make it as similar as possible to a raw nut felafel I added brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and lots of fresh herbs. I also decided to bake the felafel’s instead of fry them as it’s so much quicker to simply roll them into balls, place on a tray and simply close the oven door on them. It’s also a lot less mess to clean up as the oven doesn’t spit oil everywhere like a fry pan, and oven baked means the felafel’s will also contain less oil. They do taste a little different when baked, so if you’re a traditionalist and like that crunchy fried felafel taste then by all means go ahead and fry yours.
Collard greens make a great wrap alternative to the usual rice or wheat flour varieties (especially if you’re on a low carb or grain-free diet) as they’re packed full of amazing nutrients. They’re a fantastic source of antioxidants in the form of vitamins A, C and E, manganese and phytonutrients. They’re a great source of vitamin K which regulates the anti-inflammatory response and are packed with fibre which keeps the digestive tract humming.
It took me a while to source collard greens as they aren’t available at any of my usual supermarkets or food stores. I finally found them at one of our local whole foods stores and they happened to be organic too which is perfect for something you plan to eat raw. If you have no luck finding collard greens yourself, you can substitute them with any large leafy greens such as swiss chard or silverbeet, cabbage and even some of the large leaf lettuce’s, although you may need to use more than one lettuce leaf as they tend to break.
The tahini sauce for this wrap is a simple combination that I’ve been using on everything lately from roast vegetables to salads! It’s creamy, tangy, and completely dairy, gluten, egg and sugar free. Simply combine tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, with a little filtered water to adjust the consistency.
Once you have your felafel, tahini sauce and a green leafy wrap, all you need is a selection of fresh vegetables to fill it. I like to use grated carrot and beetroot, watercress sprouts and radish slices, but you could also use cucumber slices, avocado, tomato, grated courgette and so on. Just make sure you don’t get too excited with your vegetable fillings that you leave no room for the felafel and are unable to fold your wrap up at the end.
I hope you enjoy making these collard green felafel wraps and if you’re sending them off in a lunch box a good trick once you’ve rolled them is to fold a piece of baking or greaseproof paper around the middle, and tie it altogether with a piece string. They should keep in a sealed container for a day. Enjoy!
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Collard Greens Felafel Wrap
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
Nutty Green Felafel
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 cup brazil nuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 small brown onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 handful fresh coriander
1 handful fresh mint
1 handful fresh parsley
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp buckwheat flour
freshly ground salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 180ºC and line a tray with baking paper or a silicone mat.
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend, scraping down the sides occasionally until well combined.
Roll teaspoonfuls into balls and place on the lined oven tray. The mixture should make approximately 26 felafel balls. Place the tray of felafel into the centre of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turning the felafel halfway through.
Felafels are ready when they get a nice light brown colour on their outsides and the insides are steaming hot. Remove the felafel’s from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the rest of the wrap ingredients.
**Alternatively if you want to fry your felafel’s, heat oil in a large non-stick fry pan and fry the felafel in batches until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain. NB: the felafel’s will spit quite a bit when frying so take care.
1/3 cup hulled tahini
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp filtered water
freshly ground salt and pepper
Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend on high until well combined. Store any leftover in the fridge for up to 3 days.
4 collard green leaves, washed and drained**
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 medium beetroot, peeled and grated
2 radishes or small cucumber, sliced thinly
2 handfuls of sprouts such as watercress, broccoli, bean etc
The collard green leaves need to have their central stems trimmed in order for them to fold nicely. To do this, lay a collard green leaf face down on a chopping board. While holding the leafy end, run a knife along the back of the stem to thin it without cutting right through.
**If you can’t find collard greens you could substitute any large leafy green such as chard, silverbeet, cabbage or lettuce (use two lettuce leafs per wrap as they tend to break).
Place a collard green on a plate, sprinkle a layer of grated carrot and beetroot along the centre. Place the radish or cucumber slices on top followed by 3 or 4 felafel depending on how big your collard leaves are. Drizzle a couple of teaspoonfuls of tahini sauce over the felafel and top with a sprinkling of sprouts.
Fold the wrap up and tie with a layer of baking paper and twine if using.