Rainbow Collard Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Collards play second fiddle to kale most of the time, even though they’re nutritional equals.  Kale leaves are ruffly, with a more mild flavor.  But there is one culinary situation where collards trump kale:  they make a much better wrapper.  Collard leaves are big, flat, sturdy, and pliable.

It’s best to harvest the lower leaves regularly during the season.  This helps create a long stalk, which elevates the leaves and keeps the pest population down.  Collard rolls are a good way to use a few big leaves.

I’ve been making these for a few years, and I’ve tested out many recipes.  Most of them are either messy or bland.  The solution to the first problem is a very thick hummus, which helps hold them together.

Another revelation came as I was eating Vietnamese rice-paper rolls.  They’re served with a side of sauce so you can dip or drizzle each bite, adding lots more flavor.  That’s just the kick a collard roll needs, and spicy peanut sauce does the trick.

  • It may sound like a lot of work to make hummus and peanut sauce, but they’re very easy.  Just throw the ingredients the food processor.  You don’t have to clean out the machine in between.
  • Use your favorite vegetables and mix up your own rainbow.
  • You definitely want to eat the rolls fresh, but you can save the hummus and sauce to make them all week.

Rainbow Collard Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce


  • 6 collard leaves
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup thinly sliced bell pepper
  • ½ cup thinly sliced jicama
  • ½ cup sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons green onions
  • handful of fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, or basil)
  • Chili Garlic Hummus (recipe follows)
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)


Trim off the tough end stem of the collard leaves.  (You can also use a paring knife to shave off some of the middle stem to make it thinner.)  Spread two tablespoons of chili garlic hummus on the lighter side of each leaf, smoothing it all the way to the edges.  Divide the rest of the vegetables, green onions and herbs among the leaves.  Drizzle each with a  teaspoon of spicy peanut sauce.  To roll the leaves:  Fold the bottom (stem side) and the top toward the middle.  Roll from one side to the other and place it seam-side down.

Slice it in half with a sharp knife.  Serve with spicy peanut sauce on the side.


Chili Garlic Hummus


  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic or sriracha sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste


Blend all ingredients in a food processor, stopping the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Continue to blend until smooth.

Spicy Peanut Sauce


  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis or sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce or sriracha


Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.