Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

These Collard Green Rainbow Rolls are healthy, versatile, and easy to make. This particular version is vegan and gluten free, but you can wrap ’em up with whatever ingredients you like. Read on, or jump straight to the recipe HERE.

Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends

Step aside, spring rolls, with your slippery, tears-too-easily rice paper wrappers… there’s a new kind of veggie roll in town.

Collard greens might not be the first thing you think of when you think “that would make a delicious snack!” but hear me out, because I had to cut my photoshoot short with these ’cause I just couldn’t wait to eat them.

Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends
Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends
Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends
Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends

I’ve had a lot of practice, uh, failing to roll things. I’ve tried lettuce wraps, I’ve tried chard… I can manage sushi and spring rolls, but they aren’t always pretty. Collard greens, though, I can totally handle.

First of all, the leaves are massive, which means you can fill them as much or as little as you like. Anywhere from “dainty sushi” up to “ginormous burrito” goes. This is a win for me, because as you can probably tell from the varying sizes of my rolls, I have zero self restraint when it comes to filling things. Even when I aim for dainty sushi, I end up with something closer to ginormous burrito. But with collard greens, that’s okay.

Second, collards are sturdy as can be. In fact, the leaves are notorious for being tough if they aren’t cooked, which is why you only ever see them served that way. Here, they get a quick blanch in boiling water, which softens them up and makes them flexible enough to roll, tender enough to eat, but still strong enough to not tear right through. That quick dip in hot water also turns them the most epic shade of green. Like, this is the color of dragons from my childhood imagination. I will happily stand at the stove watching leaf after leaf turn from (what seems like bright green to begin with) to this even brighter, vermilion hue.

I might go so far as to say I like these even more than traditional spring rolls. I mean, if I really think about it, those rice paper wrappers have a kiiiind of weird texture. Yet another point for collards.

Collard greens 3, rice paper 0.

Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends
Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends
Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends
Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends

For these rolls, I opted to fill them with a bunch of fresh veggies, some golden turmeric rice (because YELLOW, but also because turmeric might just be the only superfood worthy of the title), and a spicy thai-inspired peanut sauce, a-la classic spring rolls.

But really… you could fill these with anything. Want it to be no-carb / grain free? Leave out the rice. Can’t have peanuts? Swap out the sauce for your favorite dressing. You can literally fill these with anything you have on hand. Any veggies, any proteins, any grains. I kept these particular ones gluten-free and vegan, but you could totally add chicken or shrimp if you wanted.

You could even take these Chili Lime Marinated Chicken Tacos and stuff ’em in some collard greens instead of taco shells. OH MAN. I am so doing that.

Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends
Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce | Will Cook For Friends

What’s the coolest way you’ve found to use collard greens? This is the first time I’ve really done anything besides saute them. I’d love to hear how you like to use them in the comments below!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
One of the great things about these rolls is how versatile they are. In this recipe I've listed the ingredients I personally used, but you can easily swap them out for whatever you prefer, or have on hand. Any combination of veggies, proteins, or grains will work.
Author:
Recipe type: vegan, gluten-free, easily adaptable to be whole 30, raw, low carb, paleo, etc.
Serves: makes at least 8 wraps (you may get many or few depending on how much you fill them)
Ingredients
For the turmeric rice (see recipe notes):
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp. fine grain sea salt
For the peanut sauce:
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter (look for one with no sugar added, if you can)
  • ¾ cup light coconut milk
  • 1½ TBSP fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ⅛th tsp. garlic powder
For the collard rolls (see recipe notes for variations):
  • 1 bunch of collard leaves (about 8-10 leaves)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 english cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • 2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 or 2 avocados, cut into slices
  • handful of sprouts
  • ½-1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • Optional: some fresh cilantro, or other herb you like
  • Turmeric rice, and peanut sauce
Instructions
For the turmeric rice:
  1. Rinse the rice, then place it in a medium saucepan along with the water, turmeric, and salt. Set over high heat, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Let cook, covered, for about 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed. If the rice is still a little wet when it's finished cooking, remove the lid and let the water evaporate, over low heat, for a minute or two. Do not stir, or the rice will become gluey.
  2. Let cool slightly before filling your rolls. Rice can be made in advance. Once cooled, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or portioned into freezer bags and frozen indefinitely.
For the peanut sauce:
  1. Mix everything together in a small bowl. If the peanut butter is particularly dry or hard (as natural peanut butters can be if stored in the fridge) microwave for a few seconds to soften, or place in a small saucepan to warm.
For the collard rolls:
  1. Get all your veggies and other ingredients (rice, sauce) ready before you begin.
  2. Fill a large, shallow skillet (12 or 14 inches) with water, and bring to a simmer. While the water is heating up, fill a large bowl with cool water and add a handful of ice.
  3. Wash the collard greens if they are dirty, then dunk one into the boiling water. I like to use the stem as a handle, and just shimmy the leaf back and forth a little to get it submerged. Let the leaf blanch for 20-30 seconds -- it will turn bright green, and soften up so it's easier to roll, and tender enough to eat. Remove from the skillet and plunge the leaf into the bowl of ice water. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
  4. When you're ready to roll, pull a leaf out of the bowl and blot it lightly on a clean towel. Spread the leaf onto your counter or cutting board, stem-side-up (the stem forms a large ridge down the back of the leaf). Using a sharp, non-serrated knife, fillet as much of the stem off as you can without cutting through the leaf itself. By this I mean, hold your knife perpendicular to the leaf, and gently slice away as much of the ridge of stem as you can. This will make the leaf more pleasant to eat, and much easier to roll. Slice off the entire stem at the base of the leaf, and flip the leaf over.
  5. Add a small amount of each ingredient in a line across the width of the roll, leaving enough room on the sides so you can fold in the sides of the leaf like a burrito. Once all my rice and veggies have been added, I like to add a spoonful of the peanut sauce, too.
  6. To roll, fold the bottom of the leaf up over the ingredients, then fold in the sides. Use your fingers to hold the ingredients tight, and roll away from you until the roll is almost closed. You can finish rolling as is, but I like to add a small dab more peanut sauce to the last little bit of leaf, so that it stick and holds itself shut a little better.
  7. Slice the roll in half, and you're done! Repeat with the remaining leaves.
  8. Serve with the remaining peanut sauce on the side, for dipping. I like to eat these while the rice is still slightly warm, but they also last really well in an airtight container in the fridge. I've kept them for up to a five days. If the peanut sauce becomes too thick after refrigeration, add a splash of water or coconut milk to thin it out again.
Notes
Turmeric Rice Notes:

Turmeric has a (well earned) reputation for staining anything it touches yellow. Because of this, I recommend cooking the rice in a stainless steel or nonstick-coated pot on the stove, as opposed to an enamel-coated pot or a rice cooker, which may get stained. If you don't care about the color of your rice cooker insert, you can certainly try making your rice in there. For storing leftover rice, you can use plastic baggies, or glass pyrex containers, which I've found won't hold on to the color at all. In the event that a container or a wooden spoon get stained, you can fill a pot with water, add a splash of bleach, and let things soak for an hour or two before washing with warm soapy water.

Cooking the rice is the most time consuming part of making these rolls. You can start the rice cooking, set a timer, and prep your other ingredients while it cooks, or you can make the rice in advance. I like to make it in advance and portion it into little sandwich baggies in the freezer. This way I can easily take out and thaw single portions for using in rolls like these, or serving with soup or other dishes. While the color is vibrant, the turmeric is by no means overpowering, so this rice goes great with other dishes, too.

Recipe inspired by these chard rainbow rolls, from wholeheartedeats.com

 

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20 Responses to Collard Green Rainbow Rolls with Turmeric Rice & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

  1. Christine | Vermilion Roots January 18, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    Turmeric rice, peanut sauce, collard green… This ticks all the right boxes for me. I just need to learn how to roll them all together! :-D

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

      Rolling really is the tricky part, but it’s fun, too. I hope you give these a try!

      • Stacyann Nathan October 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

        Can you use white rice instead of brown rice?

        • Willow Arlen October 28, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

          Hi Stacyann, my apologies for not seeing your comment sooner! Yes, you can use any rice you like. The cooking time will likely be a bit less, so keep an eye on it until it’s cooked all the way through and the water is absorbed.

  2. Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry January 18, 2017 at 11:35 am #

    These look incredibly healthy and nutritious. Love peanut sauce as well, adding an Asian influence

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

      Thanks Bintu — definitely healthy, but so flavorful, too!

  3. Kathi January 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    I have never cooked with collard greens, but I gotta tell ya…this might do it for me! What a great lunch to bring to work too! Double yums up!

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

      Heheh, thanks, Kathi! These would make the perfect lunch.

  4. Sarah @ Champagne Tastes January 18, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    I have a whole package of spring roll wrappers that have been sitting in my fridge for… a lot time. They’re probably expired now.. I couldn’t get them to roll! I’m spring rolling impaired! Lol. Maybe I’ll do better with collard greens!

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

      Hahaha, I hear ya, Sarah! Spring roll wrappers can be a pain. Collards are soooo much easier and more forgiving.

  5. Tara January 18, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    How colorful! I never thought to use collard greens as the wrap. Will definitely need to try it. That peanut sauce sounds incredible.

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

      Thanks Tara, I hope you try it! The collards work so well as a wrapper.

  6. Shashi at RunninSrilankan January 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    This is like eating the rainbow! So so pretty and colorful AND tasty!

  7. mary January 18, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

    These look so good – the peanut sauce sounds amazing! lovely recipe!

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

      Thanks Mary! The peanut sauce is one of my favorite things ever. I make it all the time for dipping veggies!

  8. Laura (Untwisted Vintage) February 8, 2017 at 7:25 am #

    What a great idea. The colors are gorgeous. AND I could put peanut sauce on anything. I will have to try this one.

    • Willow Arlen February 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm #

      Me too! Peanut sauce is amazing on anything. I hope you give this a try!

  9. Guyv May 23, 2017 at 11:49 am #

    I love the way you write, so genuine and authentic <3 as if it's just a casual conversation with a friend. Normally I'm not one for blogs/slabs of text but I think I'm hooked on this one. Your approach to food and life is so inspiring. Can't wait to try this recipe!!! Keep up the great work, looking forward to more foodventures!
    p.s. do you think it would work with yoghurt sauce?

    • Willow Arlen May 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

      Thank you so much, Guyv! Your sweet comment put a huge smile on my face. I definitely think these would work with a yogurt sauce — really, any kind of sauce or dressing you like for dipping vegetables will work well here. :)

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