When these super cute veggie rolls showed up on my front porch last week, I knew they would be a hit with the finger food set. They are small enough to fit in tiny mouths in one bite and tender enough that they are easy to chew. I have found this to be important when serving greens to young children.
The technique is similar to rolling up nori rolls and it’s definitely helpful to have a sushi rolling mat. You won’t have the stickiness of the rice helping to hold everything together, so the mat will help create enough even pressure to form the rolls. Making strips with the cabbage, adding avocado or other soft add-ins and rolling tightly will help the carrots stay in place.
I love this type of dish because I can play with add-ins. Next time I will try strips of nori and savory baked tempeh. The rolls I received last week had pickled vegetables and toasted sesame seeds inside. Avocado, roasted winter squash, green onion and ground toasted walnuts would be nice, too. If you want to use the stems, just slice those thinly and throw them in as well. For more add-in ideas check out these two posts: Nori Rolls and Fresh Salad Rolls.
Veggie Moon Rolls
8-10 tender whole collard leaves, rinse and trim thick part of stem out of the leaf
8 whole cabbage leaves, any type, rinse and trim thick part of stem out of leaf
1-2 carrots, rinsed and cut into thin long strips
4-6 Tbsp of your favorite sauerkraut or pickled vegetable (preferably in a sea salt brine)
1. In a medium size pot, bring 3-4 inches of water to a moderate boil. Add the collard leaves a few at a time and blanch until they turn bright. This might take 20-30 seconds. Remove them immediately and lay flat on a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining collard and cabbage leaves, blanching a few at a time. Wait until the water has returned to a boil each time. The carrots can be blanched all at once. Leave the cabbage leaves whole or cut them into long half-inch strips.
2. Place the sushi mat on a flat surface. Lay two or three collard leaves flat one on top of the other onto the mat. Try to lay them in a long wide oval.
3. At the end nearest to you, lay an even layer of the cabbage strips. Use about 1 1/2 to 2 leaves. Next place the carrots, 1 Tbsp of sauerkraut or pickled vegetable and any other add-ins you are using. Try to place everything in an even amount across the front of the roll.
4. Beginning with the side closest to you, hold the mat and start rolling the collard leaves. Tuck all the ingredients in and make sure that front edge of collard leaf gets tucked under the other ingredients as you roll. Make sure you don’t tuck the mat in with it, though! Roll tightly and evenly until you get to the other side of the collard roll. I like to keep rolling until the whole mat is rolled up with the collard leaves inside and then I will squeeze the whole thing evenly to get any extra liquid out and to further tighten the roll.
5. Take the collard roll out. Continue to make rolls until you use up all ingredients. This should make about four rolls.
6. Using a sharp knife, cut each roll into 1 inch circles. Lay on plate and serve. You can try these dipped in your favorite dressing, with a tahini sauce or with Somer’s ranch dressing. And hummus, of course. We eat everything with hummus.
Kids, schmids–I want these! I love nori (and so do my kids) but it seems like the collard leaves would hold up for travel, right? I’m so going to try this.
They seem to hold up well. Collard leaves are pretty sturdy. I just had a few where the filling wasn’t snug enough around the carrots, so they were a little more fragile. I would pack them tight in the container so they don’t move around. I haven’t tried them in lunches, yet.