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Collard Rolls with Lentils and Rice

I'm just posting pictures and a recipe sketch today. Sign up for the newsletter or come back next week for details. I'm taking this easier, greener twist on cabbage rolls to our family holiday feast today, sort of a delayed Wigilia. My mother has decided to focus on the Polish part of our mutley heritage. Funny, I grew up Italian!

1. Cut the stems from collard leaves and save for another recipe. I steamed most of the collard leaves but am trying a few unsteamed. [Update: steam them! The raw leaves rolled up OK but where significantly less tender. Just steam about five minutes until the leaves drape.]

collard leaves being prepared for collard rolls by having the stems removed

2. Make a filling with equal parts rice and lentils, plus raisins, salt, thyme, and marjoram.

lentils and rice with onions to fill vegan collard rolls

3. Wrap spoonfuls of lentils and rice with collards, burrito style. The steamed leaves are a darker green.

collard rolls before sauce with some steamed and others raw

4. Top with a tomato sauce with onions, garlic, cinnamon, and cloves.

tomato sauce over a casserole of vegan collard rolls with lentils and brown rice

5. Here's the side view: very festive! Bake covered at 350 until hot, about 30 minutes (45 if refrigerated).

side view of easy meatless collard rolls in a Pyrex casserole with tomato sauce

These were delicious, a cross between cabbage rolls and stuffed grape leaves. They reheated well the next day, too. Here's the funny reaction from my mother:

  • Mom: "I didn't know vegetarians went this far!" 
  • Me: "Went this far?"
  • Mom: "When you were sixteen and it was your night to cook, you just made tacos with lettuce. Lettuce and stuff. You weren't very adventurous."
  • Me. "I felt adventurous! But it's been forty years. We're way beyond tacos now."

She must have forgotten decades of holiday dishes I've brought over, including the cabbage rolls I made last Christmas, shown below. Oh well. I liked the collard rolls better and they were much easier to make. Perhaps they will be more memorable, too!

cabbage rolls with tomato sauce

Did you cook for the holidays? Share your adventures or taco tales below!

Reader Comments (3)

Now this is a very interesting take on the Polish version....(being Polish I have made these with cabbage and chopped meat a long time ago). I will have to try this! Thanks for the enjoyable recipe, Linda and Happy, blessed New Year to you and your family!

Dec 27, 2012 | Registered Commenterfrann

These collard roll-ups look delicious. Color is so important in food. Working for a newspaper as I do, we know that the more colorful food makes for better photos for our food section. This is a score!

Dec 29, 2012 | Registered Commentercitygirl

Thanks so much, Fran and Citygirl! Citygirl, you are so right about the color. I also like that these have a defined shape, unlike my stuff-on-rice mainstays.

Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson
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