This is my inaugural Bitches in the Kitchen post, outside of cocktail recipes. If it gives you an idea why, Con Edison recently contacted me and my roommate to see if anyone was even living in our apartment because the gas hadn’t been turned on in six months. For us, “cooking” is making a smoothie or reheating our Seamless leftovers.
This is when having friends as private chefs comes in handy. Chef Lindsey Becker Roehl, as seen on ABC’s The Taste and The Food Network, took pity on me and Andrea, my equally kitchen-challenged friend, for a cooking lesson and girl’s night in. Her goal was to teach us that healthy cooking can be easy, affordable, and fun — and she achieved all three things.
The theme of our meal was “detox,” much needed after a long weekend, and all of the recipes were light and veggie-centric. We started off with Thai-inspired veggie collard wraps, which to my delight required no ovens at all! We basically chopped up a bunch of veggies, stuffed them in a wrap, and dipped them in an addicting cashew butter sauce.
Lindsey explained that collard leaves are incredibly versatile and can be filled with an assortment of treats like chicken salad (check out Emily’s pesto chicken salad recipe here), hummus, or rice and beans.
We julienned the vegetables (a.k.a. cut into thin strips…see, look how fancy I’m getting!), topped them with fresh herbs, and wrapped them tightly burrito-style into a collard green leaf.
The sauce was made in a single serving Magic Bullet blender, which was very easy to clean up. The best thing about Lindsay’s lesson was that she showed us how versatile cooking is. We could easily swap in whatever was in our pantry (different nut butters, different oils, different veggies and spices) and these wraps would have turned out equally delicious.
Thai Collard Green Summer Rolls with Cashew Dipping Sauce
- 8 large collard green leaves, washed and dried
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 tsp fish sauce (Red Boat Fish Sauce is recommended)
- 2 limes
- 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds scooped out
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2” thin strips
- 4 scallion greens, cut into 2” pieces
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 ripe avocados, halved, scooped out and sliced thin
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- Remove the thick stems up to the leafy part of the collards. Lay each collard leaf, underside up, on a flat surface. Locate the thickest part of the stem and use a vegetable peeler to shave the top off for even thickness (this makes it easier to roll up the leaves). You can also carefully cut alongside the stem on both sides, about ⅔ up the leaves and remove it. Set aside.
- Toss red cabbage with fish sauce and lime juice and let marinate 30 minutes while you cut the other vegetables.
- Cut the cucumber into 2” batons, about ¼” thick. Place each cut vegetable and herb (cucumbers, bell peppers, scallions, carrots, avocados, cilantro, basil, and mint) in a separate area on a plate.
- Begin filling the collard green wraps. Lay 1 leaf at a time flat side up. Place 2 avocado slices down 1” from the top of the leaves and leaving at least a 1” border on both sides. All ingredients should remain on the top ⅓ of the leaf. Add a handful of the cabbage, 2-3 bell pepper slices, 4-6 cucumber slices, 2 Tbsp shredded carrots, 2 scallion pieces, 2 basil leaves, 2 mint leaves and 4 cilantro leaves. Fold the sides of the wrap over the ends of the mixture, then roll up tightly from the top down to the bottom. Repeat with the remaining wraps and filling. Cut each in half and serve with cashew dipping sauce.
Spicy Paleo Cashew Dipping Sauce: Combine 1/2 cup cashew butter, 1 Tbsp honey, 1-2 minced Thai chilies, ½” piece grated fresh ginger, the juice of 2 limes, ½ tsp salt, and enough hot water to thin (about ⅓-½ cup). This can be mixed with a fork, immersion blender, or small blender. Serve at room temperature.