Go to main content

Published on:

Updated on:

Green Roll-Ups

Quick & Easy
Makes 1 servings10 minutes hands on time10 minutes total time

Makes: 1 serving
Total carbohydrates: 2 grams in leaf, plus 1-15 grams additional, depending on filling
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

If you’re counting carbs, or thinking about carbs, or wondering why you’re tired after lunch or your blood sugar is all over the place, well, bread is kind of an obvious place to cast your side-eye. Which doesn’t mean you can never eat it, but maybe you’d like to mix up your routine a little! Low-carb tortillas are one way; eating your sandwich filling with a fork or atop a salad is another; and wrapping it in something green is my favorite. The collards are sturdy, packed with nutrients, and incredibly – for lack of a better adjective – green tasting. In a good way. It might take a little getting used to, but try it a couple times before you make any big decisions.


1 large, flat, clean collard leaf
olive oil and salt
½ cup primary filling: hummus, or egg, tuna, or chicken salad
Toppings: sprouts, avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles, red onions


  1. Lay the collard leaf on a cutting board so that the veiny side is facing up, and carefully slice out the thick stem. You’ll end up with a tapered v-shaped cut-out, but you don’t need to cut every last bit of stem out – just a couple inches of it.
  2. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the leaf and sprinkle it with a little salt, then massage it briefly with your fingers. The leaf will get nice and dark and supple, which is what you want, so that it will be easier to roll and more tender to eat. (If you’ve ever massaged kale for a salad, then this step will be at least marginally familiar to you.)
  3. Arrange your filling just where the cut ends, in a little row that extends nearly from one side of the leaf to nearly the other – that is, perpendicular to the cut you made. Lay down the main filling first, and then the toppings.
  4. Roll it up like a burrito made from a tortilla that you cut a V-shape out of: Tuck the sides in first, then roll the leaf up over snugly the filling.
  5. Cut in half just before eating.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]