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Stuffed Collard Greens with Tzatziki Sauce

A unique appetizer, lunch box, post-game snack or a simple dinner side dish, - this fun use of collard greens works for all occasions.  Honestly – the sky is the limit as to what combination of grains, beans, nuts and herbs you can use for the filling.  Utilize leftovers!

Vegetarian Filling:
1 teaspoon olive oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1/2 cup French lentils
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup water
1/3 cup currants or raisins


Quinoa & Beef Filling:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup cooked quinoa


12-15 BIG collard leaves

For vegetarian filling: In a 2-quart pot, heat oil over medium low.  Add all spices, rice and lentils and stir to coat.  Add salt and water, turn heat up to high and bring to a boil.  Lower heat until the food simmers, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.  Remove the lid and allow the food to rest for 10 minutes.  Fold in the currants or raisins.

For non-vegetarian filling: In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add spices, beef, salt and pepper.  Break up beef with a spatula until incorporated with onion and spices and in small crumbles.  When beef is thoroughly cooked (about 5 minutes) fold in the cooked quinoa and remove from heat.

Fill an 8-quart pot with water and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile prepare the collard leaves.  Remove the center stem of each leaf by pulling the leaf away from the stem starting at the base of the leaf.  Then cut each leaf in half down the middle.  You will have 24-30 leaf halves.

Place the leaves in the boiling water.  Don't stir but make sure they are completely submerged.  Allow them to simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Pour contents of pot through a large colander and rinse the leaves in cold water to halt cooking.

Place cooked leaf half on a cutting board.  Fold it in half slightly askew so that you have a wide leaf surface to roll.  Put two heaping tablespoons of filling in the center of the leaf.  Fold the edge closest to you over the filling and pull the filling in firmly.  Fold the sides toward the center and then roll closed – like you would roll a burrito.  Rolls will be should be about 3-4 inches long and 1-1/2 inches wide.  Repeat procedure until you have made 24-32 rolls – or used all of your cooked leaves and stuffing.

Store rolls in the refrigerator until ready to eat.  

Makes 24-32 rolls; 2-1/2 cups filling
Prep time: An hour to cook filling; 15 minutes to assemble rolls

Roasted Garlic Tzatziki Sauce

4 garlic cloves; roasted
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/2 lemon; juiced
2 tsp. finely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber without seeds
Salt to taste


Peel and chop finely garlic and cucumber.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.  
Chill for 1/2 hour or so to allow flavors to marry.

Makes 1 cup.
Prep Time: 10 minutes



32 Comments:

Erika H
For dairy allergies, could you substitute mayonnaise for the yogurt in the tzatiki? Can't wait to try this recipe!
December 19, 2012, 3:34 pm

Mara Grigsby
I LOVE you guys! You have the best recipes and your so fun to watch. I cannot wait to make these. Yummo!
December 19, 2012, 4:09 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Erika, Subbing mayo for yogurt doesn't sound quite right but you could use our Coconut Peanut Sauce or Lemon Tahini Sauce for dipping...
December 20, 2012, 11:38 am

Sarah P
I love your recipes! I was wondering if this would taste good with Swiss Chard (in place of the Collard Greens)? Thanks!
December 21, 2012, 12:01 pm

Cynthia Lair
Sarah - YES Swiss chard should be fine - just more fragile. So practically dip it in the boiling water to make it flexible for rolling.
December 22, 2012, 11:32 am

Libby Young
I made these for Christmas. They looked awesome! Collards are just the right strength for wrapping. I used barley and lentils for the filling but with the spices you had in your recipe. Loved the addition of the raisins! Lovely idea!
December 27, 2012, 5:14 pm

Cynthia Lair
Thanks Libby!
December 28, 2012, 9:13 am

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