These Simple Collard Wraps Are Surprisingly Delicious

Some appetizers are light and satisfying, while others are on the heavier side and are so indulgent you can only have a few (or a few bites). And then there are the appetizers that are the perfect mix of a light dish that's just filling enough and has the ideal balance of savory, herbaceous, and acidic flavors. These healthy falafel collard wraps with homemade tzatziki (a zesty yogurt dipping sauce) fall into the last category.

These falafel wraps from Maren Epstein, the certified holistic health chef behind Eating Works, are a full-flavored vegetarian treat. Novice home cooks might be intimidated by the somewhat long ingredient list and the number of steps involved, but it's easy enough to put together. Regardless of your cooking skill level, you and everyone who gets to enjoy a bite of one of these falafel wraps will be more than satisfied.

Here's how to make irresistible falafel wraps with a delicious tzatziki dipping sauce.

Gather the ingredients for these healthy falafel collard wraps

It takes a little bit of a lot of different ingredients to make the falafel collard wrap. Don't let that intimidate you, however, as most are easy to get your hands on.

First and foremost, you'll need a can of chickpeas. Then there are the herbs and spices: cumin, coriander, garlic powder, parsley, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Some baking powder, olive oil, a white onion, a bell pepper, and collard leaves round out the rest of the ingredients. Hummus is an optional, but delicious, extra.

"Chickpeas are pretty plain on their own," Epstein says. "So the success of the falafel's flavor is based on a combination of spices. Cumin and garlic are the most important ones. Coriander is a complement to the cumin. Parsley brightens up the falafel's flavor."

If you're lacking an ingredient, don't fret. "An Indian spice blend made primarily of cumin could work," Epstein says. "If you don't have all of these spices on hand, simply use the cumin alone!"

Gather the ingredients for the zesty yogurt dipping sauce for your falafel collard wraps

While the collard-wrapped falafels are the star of the show in this dish, the zesty yogurt dipping sauce is an important side character. For this, you'll need some plain Greek yogurt, dill, and lemon for both citrus zest and juice.

The dipping sauce is a type of tzatziki (pronounced tuh-zee-kee). It's a common sauce in the Middle East and southeastern Europe in countries like Turkey, Greece, Iran, Bulgaria, Serbia, and others. At its most basic, tzatziki is made with a base of yogurt and lemon. And then there's all of the herbs and spices that go into it, which vary depending on where the tzatziki is being made. This Greek yogurt, dill, and lemon tzatziki makes for the perfect accompaniment to the collard-wrapped falafels.

"The tzatziki sauce should come out perfectly with the recipe I've created since you are not watering down the yogurt with anything," Epstein says. "If you want to thin it out, you can add more lemon juice or olive oil. To thicken it up, simply add more yogurt."

Blend the falafel ingredients for your falafel collard wrap

The first big step after gathering your ingredients for your falafel collard wrap is to blend the falafel ingredients until it has a smooth texture. Before getting too far into that, however, be sure to preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then grab your food processor and get ready for some blending.

Add the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, garlic, parsley, baking soda, and onion in the food processor. You'll want to pulse until the whole mix is smooth as can be, so be sure to scrape the sides down in between pulses to make sure it all gets blended to the same consistency. When you use your food processor the right way, it's an invaluable tool for breaking food down into the creamiest possible mixture.

The resulting blended ingredients should be similar in texture to a thick hummus with little flecks of herbs and spices visible — it does, after all, have the same chickpea base ingredient as hummus.

Measure and scoop the falafel for your falafel collard wraps

Now that you have the falafel mixture for your falafel collard wrap, it's time to shape it into what people would recognize as falafel: a ball. The easiest way to do this is with a small ice cream scoop. Simply reach in, scoop, and place the ball of falafel mix onto a greased baking sheet.

Don't worry if you don't have an ice cream scoop — you can still make perfectly shaped falafel balls. Each falafel ball should be about 2 tablespoons. "You can just eyeball a one-inch blob of dough and then flatten it slightly once on the tray," Epstein says. "You can make the falafel balls as big or small as you like."

In short, don't stress about getting the size exactly right — just make sure all of the balls are about the same size so they cook evenly and at the same time as each other when they're in the oven.

Bake the falafel balls and make the tzatziki for your falafel collard wraps

By now, your oven should be done preheating. Put the greased cooking sheet with the falafel balls in the oven. In all, it'll take between 25 and 35 minutes to fully cook the falafel balls. It's not all just sitting and waiting, however, and you'll need to flip each of the falafel balls halfway through the cooking time to make sure each is cooked evenly.

"The falafel are mostly solid from the beginning of the cooking process, but they won't be evenly cooked, which could cause them to crack," Epstein says. "I like using a fish spatula to flip them. Make sure to use parchment paper under the falafel, which will help them not to stick."

You'll know the falafels are done when they're golden brown. Once you see that the color is right and the timer is up, take them out of the oven to give the falafels time to cool before moving onto the assembly phase. While you're waiting, make the tzatziki by combining the yogurt, lemon, and dill, and then mixing it all together. Stick the mixture in the refrigerator as soon as you're done.

Steam and prepare the collards carefully for your falafel collard wraps

There's one other step you can complete while you're waiting for the falafel to finish baking: steam the collards for your falafel collard wrap. First, boil a pot of water. When the water starts to boil, hold each leaf of the collard green one at a time over the water until it turns bright green. You'll also notice the leaf will soften some. A steamer would work well for this step as well — just don't let the leaf get too wet.

"Blanching the collards in water will make them very wet," Epstein says. "If you don't wait for them to completely dry out, then the wraps will be soggy. Simply holding them over the water will allow them to soften without getting wet."

Once they're all steamed, you need to cut out the woody part of the stem with a paring knife (it's easiest when the back of the collard is facing up). The stems won't be used in this recipe, but that doesn't mean you should throw them away. Epstein suggests juicing the stems because "they are filled with chlorophyll, which is most easily digested as a juice."

Wrap the falafel collard wraps

Now that everything is prepared, the last thing left to do is put each piece of your falafel collard wraps together. Put the collard leaf right-side up (the opposite of how it was when you cut out the stem), and then spread the hummus in the middle.

"The hummus is the glue that holds the wrap together," Epstein says. "If you don't use hummus, you can add more tzatziki sauce. But you do need something gluey to keep the wrap together."

There's no exact amount of hummus to put in, but spread it around a third of the collard leaf. About two tablespoons usually works. Then add the bell peppers, falafel, and tzatziki sauce. Like with the hummus, there's no exact measurement since there's no one uniform collard leaf size.

Finally, wrap all of the ingredients with the leaf by folding it over and tucking in the sides.

"Wrapping a collard is just like wrapping a burrito," Epstein says. "Roll the top of the wrap over first, but tuck the sides in as you go. Blending the leaves and removing the stems makes it easier to roll. As long as you complete those steps before wrapping, you should have no problems. You can also use a skewer to help keep the wraps together as you eat them."

Serve the falafel collard wraps and keep some for later

"Since these wraps have a lot of green flavor, they go well with anything Greek," Epstein says. "Like stuffed eggplant, kabobs, and Greek salads."

Leftovers are part of the joy of cooking, and you can easily store these falafel collard wraps. Store the tzatziki sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for a maximum of five to six days. If the liquid and yogurt start to separate, simply give it a little stir. The wraps also last around five or six days in the fridge, and there's no meat in there to spoil them — though they can get soggy, Epstein says.

"They taste best if eaten within the first two days," Epstein says. "Store the wraps in airtight containers in a single layer so that they don't get squished. If you want to make them ahead, you can store the ingredients separately and create the wraps right before eating!"

Though there are lots of ingredients, you'll find this is the perfect balance of flavors for an appetizer.

These Simple Collard Wraps Are Surprisingly Delicious
5 from 6 ratings
These falafel collard wraps are the perfect mix of a light dish that's just filling enough and has the ideal balance of flavors.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
8
wraps
Healthy falafel collard wrap with a zesty yogurt dipping sauce recipe
Ready in 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 (15) oz can chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅓ cup white onion
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup dill, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ⅛ teaspoon mustard powder
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 collard leaves, stems trimmed and flattened
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup hummus
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. To make the falafels, in a food processor, combine chickpeas, cumin, coriander, garlic, parsley, baking soda, and onion. Pulse until the mixture is completely smooth, occasionally scraping the sides.
  3. Using a small ice cream scoop, place scoops of mixture on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake falafels for 25 to 35 minutes, or until they're golden brown, flipping halfway through. Once done, remove and allow them to cool before assembling the wraps.
  5. To make the tzatziki sauce, combine yogurt, dill, lemon juice, and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate.
  6. While the falafel is baking, boil a pot of water. Hold each collard green over the boiling water until it turns bright green and softens.
  7. Lay the steamed leaves so the backs are facing up. Using a paring knife, carefully slice the woody part of the stem off the back.
  8. Turn the leaf over so it's right-side up. Spread two tablespoons of hummus in the middle. Add bell peppers, falafel, and tzatziki sauce, being careful not to over-stuff the wrap.
  9. Roll up the wrap by folding it over and tucking in the sides as you roll.
  10. Slice down the middle, and enjoy!
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 144
Total Fat 8.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 4.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 11.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Total Sugars 2.6 g
Sodium 336.7 mg
Protein 7.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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