ONLY A FEW WEEKS UNTIL THANKSGIVING!! Did you know that thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday growing up? Maybe its because I was a huge fan of mashed potatoes and gravy, as well as pumpkin pie growing up (I always said that each were my favorite food and dessert, respectfully).
We also always did a Thanksgiving talent show, where I would rehearse a poem I had written or sing a song (probably Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas). I am a huge family girl, so getting everyone together always lit me up as well. It was always 15-25 people at Thanksgiving. One year when I was probably in elementary school, we even had local hockey players join! Boyfriends, family trainers, friends, and a huge TURKEY DEEP FRYER (yes, we deep fried a whole turkey circa 2008 in vegetable oil… oh how I shudder at the thought now) have all come through.
This recipe is inspired by thanksgiving flavors & colors! I remember my grandmother always adding in water chestnuts to her stuffing… I absolutely loved their crunch! Butternut squash is just a quintessential fall staple, so that had to be included as well. As for turkey? Enough said. Finally, I have only gotten into cranberry sauce in the past two years! I had never had homemade cranberry sauce, let alone TART and not super sweet cranberry sauce! I really love to complement the savory flavors with the tart & subtle sweetness of cranberries. Plus, all these colors are just GORGEOUS. Take a look.
So now, I present to you thanksgiving collard wraps! They are gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free… crap free, as usual. They are really easy to make too! Just a little prep & assembly. These are great to meal-prep and take to work or school for lunches too! And another upside to collard green wraps? THEY DON’T GET SOGGY. Bread is lame and wouldn’t stand a chance.
I hope you guys enjoy it! If you get a chance to try and make these, please share, and use the hashtag #dontbehangry and #huntinghanger
Happy hunting 😉
Thanksgiving Collard Wraps (makes 5-6 wraps)
-collard greens (blanched… see below for instruction)
-water chestnuts (I used an 8 oz container and had more than enough)
-sliced turkey (make sure it is humanely raised & has no antibiotics, added “flavors or sugar”!)
-homemade cranberry sauce:
(1.5 cup frozen cranberries, 1/4 cup water, honey to taste, lemon juice to taste)
-2 cups boiled & smashed butternut squash
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
Keep in mind that all of these fillings work better when they are cool, so try to prepare ingredients ahead!
First the cranberry sauce:
I used organic frozen ones because they were cheaper AND so I could save some for later. Fresh ones should work too, but may take a little longer and a bit more water. Place the frozen cranberries and water over medium heat. As the berries melt and become soft, gently squish the berries as you go. Once the berries are looking very jam-like, add as much honey and lemon juice as you would like (some of us like tart, some of us like sweet!). I used about a tbsp of honey and a squeeze of lime for a tarter sauce. Then set aside mixture to cool.
Butternut squash mash:
Boil the butternut squash (or bake it, if you really prefer), until soft and tender. Remove water. Mash it up with a fork, and add in some salt & pepper! Done! Set aside to cool.
Getting the collard greens ready:
Take several large collard green leaves, and place them either in boiling water for a few seconds or a pot to steam until slightly wilted. Once malleable, take the collard greens out. Place the smooth (less veiny) side down on a cutting board. Smash each stem flat with the side of your knife.
Next, cut the thickest part of the stem at the bottom of the leaf out (leaving about 4-5 inches of leaf). Then, cut away one side of the leaf (the bottom of the leaf should have an upside-down “L” shape edge). This will make the collard leafs much easier for wrapping!
Now don’t forget to get your water chestnuts out for your “crunch” factor!
Assembly time! Fill your wraps with a big spoonful of cranberry sauce, butternut squash, a slice (or two) of turkey, and as many water chestnuts as your heart desires.
Finally, it is time to wrap. Think burrito wrapping– keep everything tight and tuck the little leaf “tail” in as you wrap (not after!)
Then you are GOOD TO GO. You have your paleo, thanksgiving inspired collard green wraps done! You can enjoy!
And then you can fake smile and pretend to eat them gracefully for the camera, before actually devouring them like the animal you are… like I did.
And don’t forget.. you can do the same thing with your thanksgiving leftovers!! Just wrap ’em up in a good ‘ol collard green! And if you are looking for even more delicious thanksgiving paleo/gluten free meal and dessert ideas, you can check out my Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up from last year! My paleo no-bread “stuffing”, and spicy jalapeño cranberry sauce were some family favorites that I brought to the table last year!
Any who, good luck with your thanksgiving planning!