Jul 11, 2011

Collard Green Dolmas and Sushi

We had a bumper crop of collard greens this year, which we allowed to grow into what seemed like small trees.  And although I love me a big bowl o' greens, I thought I'd do something more creative with them.  I've been wanting to make dolmas for awhile now, and when cooked, collard greens make a good substitute for grape leaves.  These are easy and fun to make, and a great chilled summer dish, served with a dill yogurt sauce or tzatziki.

Dolmas are traditionally made with a rice base, mixed with a variety of spices, veggies, dried fruits, and sometimes meat, then they are wrapped in blanched grape leaves (or the kind you'll find in jars at the store).  Really, you can put whatever you like in these.  Mine had rice, seasoned tempeh, parsley, red onion, dried cranberries, and shredded beets.  Everyone gobbled them up.

The Filling: starts with 3 cups of cooked rice (I used a medium grain jasmine mix).  Then crumble a package of tempeh into a heated skillet with a thin layer of olive oil.  Let the tempeh brown, then add seasonings, salt, and a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast.  Stir.  Pour in 1/2 cup of water and cover to let steam out.  Add this to the mix, then add 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 C. dried cranberries, and 2-3 tablespoons of vegannaise to help bind everything.  Salt and pepper to taste.

The Collards:  are blanched for 1-2 minutes in boiling water.  They should be pliable and vibrant green.  Take them out, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Pat dry with a towel, then cut out the center stem.  Bring the right and left sides of the leaf together, overlapping to make a nice whole piece.  Mix up some lemon oil by using one part lemon juice to one part extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt. Brush the leaf with this mixture.  Then you're ready to wrap!

To wrap:  simply spoon some of the rice mixture as shown above onto your leaf, and roll up like a burrito.  Brush on more lemon oil on the outside when done.

Note:  I added shredded beets separately to some for variety and color.  They also added a nice flavor that I liked a lot.

Dill "Yogurt" Sauce:  One part silken tofu, one part vegannaise, dried dill, salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice.  Puree until smooth.

You can eat these right away, but they're even better if you let them chill in the fridge overnight.

I also made California sushi rolls with the greens.  I used sushi rice (vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil), pickled carrots, avocado, cucumber, and tofu salad.  These were tasty, but I personally prefer nori (call me a purist).

The collards were also treated with lemon juice before wrapping to balance the bitterness.

One of the "Collard Trees" growing in my garden!


  1. What a great idea to use up the collard greens! The sushi looks awesome! I only like dolmas ok, I think it's the taste of the grape leaves that I don't care for. The collard greens sound much better and the color is definitely nicer. :-)

  2. LOVE the dolmas idea! i'm often at a loss as to how to eat all the collards in my csa box come august, so will have to try these out later this summer!

  3. I love dolmas - and like the idea of using collard greens in lieu of grape leaves. I want to try this one!

  4. I love the bright green of those collards! It all looks gorgeous...and dried cranberries in the dolmas sounds super yummy!

  5. It never occurred to me to use collard greens as dolma or sushi wrappers. Cool idea.

  6. 2 in 1.. i like the idea ofusing collard greens!.. i am sure everything tasted divine!

    -Richa @ Hobby And More Blog ,
    Hobby And More on Facebook

  7. GENIUS! Fresh grape leaves are impossible to find around here, and I can't stand the ziyad brand because they fall to bits. I will definitely have to try this. wOOt for the muse! ((scratching the record))

  8. It's been a long time since I had dolmades in Greece and I can't remember ever seeing any variations in a food blog. Kudos for that! It's funny how they're so similar to the "sushi".

    P.S. I'd recommend changing your blog title (the one that's currently a smiley) to something more informative. It's not very convenient for search engines - or people who bookmark stuff on your blog... :->

  9. @Maija- Thanks for the recommendation. There's something quirky about my template that doesn't allow me to type in my title without it showing up over my title block design, so until I figure something else out, the best thing I can type in is my winky face ;-) ...Hopefully, people will remember me that way!

  10. Fantastic! I can never find grape leaves anyway.