In a Chard Leaf…

I’ve been dying to find a healthy/fresh alternative to the wrap because I LOVE wraps, but their overwhelming bread-y-ness is a bit, well, overwhelming. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of using leaves before because I’ll often order or make a veggie burger with a green bun (because there always seems to be just too much damn bun):

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Anyway, I was listening to a podcast with one of my favourite vegan chefs and when asked the nature of her favourite go-to-vegan meal, she said, “Anything wrapped in a chard leaf” because she’s apparently gluten sensitive. I am not, but the idea intrigued me.

Now, I’ve been growing Swiss chard for the past year, and I’ve never seen a leaf big enough to hold more than a teaspoon of filling, but James assured me that I could get gigantic chard leaves at the grocery store. And, yes, you may be thinking”Who doesn’t know that giant chard leaves are readily available at any grocery store?” And your puzzlement would be justified: I may not have mentioned this before, but I have self-diagnosed myself with “vegetable dyslexia”: I am surprisingly (for a long-term vegetarian) ignorant about varieties of vegetables. I blame the fact that my mother is British (and lived through the depression, WWII, and post-war Britain when food rationing was still in place) and the only cooked vegetables I had tasted by the age of twenty-two were corn and broccoli. I was once at a boyfriend’s parents’ house for dinner and asked the name of a particularly delicious (and apparently–to me–exotic) vegetable dish.

It was squash.

So embarrassing. To this day, I call cauliflower “white broccoli.” Mind you, I don’t know what the excuse is for my daughter, who once asked me about “that transparent vegetable that’s on pizza.” She meant onions.

Anyway, I found some lovely, huge, organic chard leaves (organic only because that’s all they had–I would have bought plain old pesticide-laden chard if they had it for a buck cheaper).

20160509_135631.jpgI tried it the next morning for my breakfast wrap, and it was fantastic: super fresh and crunchy. I didn’t miss the ancient grains wrap at ALL, and, to my great surprise, I actually now prefer the chard-leaf wrapping!

So today, I thought I’d see if I could apply the G-BOMBS principle to my breakfast wrap.

If you recall, “G-BOMBS” is Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s acronym for the six things we need to eat every single day. It’s always convenient to get them all over with at breakfast, so you’re not rummaging around for a button mushroom at 10:00PM when you realize you haven’t met all your nutritional requirements for the day (just kidding–if I’m foraging for anything at 10:00PM, it’s the martini shaker).

The resulting wrap was SO delicious, and contained all of Dr. Fuhrman’s requirements:

  • Greens: chard, broccoli sprouts, cilantro
  • Beans: chickpeas (in the hummus)
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Berries: dried blueberries-OH, YES, I DID, AND IT WAS DELICIOUS
  • Seeds/Nuts: chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame (in the hummus); cashews (in the savoury cashew cream)

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There’s also a sliced baby carrot  and some mung bean sprouts in there to make it crunchy and a bit of sriracha to make it spicy.

Breakfast Wrap

So the basic recipe is a chard leaf spread with hummus. Then make a line of savoury cashew cream in the centre and a line of sriracha. Place a line of chopped baby carrots. a line of broccoli sprouts, and a line of bean sprouts. Sprinkle on some chia, flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds; sprinkle on a few dried blueberries. Saute a few tablespoons of chopped onion, half a chopped Field Roast vegan sausage, and one chopped button mushroom and place down the centre of the leaf. Top it all off with some fresh cilantro, and eat that sucker up–it tastes UH-mazing!!! The only problem is….you can’t put it down once you pick it up because it will all fall apart. It holds together surprisingly well, but only when you have your fingers wrapped around it! The leaf does not fall apart from the food, but it will open up if you put it down.

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If anyone knows any techniques for making these leafy wraps remain wrapped and pretty, PLEASE share your tips! I tried tying it with a chive, but it did not work out well.

And here’s a video from Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. where she uses a collard leaf as a wrap. Oh great…now I have to figure out what the hell collard is.

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