Preventing Cancer with Collard Wraps
By Sarah Axtell, ND • June 4, 2014
Cece and her grandmother, “Mimi,” planted collard greens this summer. They have flourished over the past couple months, and my go-to recipe for these greens are collard wraps. I’ve been experimenting with different fillings, and I especially like this one (see below). The basic idea is that you use collard leaves to make wraps in place of tortillas.
One of the beauties of collard wraps is that they make you feel ultra-gourmet. You can whip them up for a dinner party as they have a nice aesthetic appeal and do not require a lot of time or effort…not to mention, they taste divine and the nutritional benefits are endless!
Collard greens belong to the cruciferous vegetable family. Cruciferous vegetable consumption has been implicated in the prevention of many different cancers, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, bladder, and lung cancer. Cruciferous vegetables contain the anti-cancer substances, sulforophane and indole-3-carbinol. Sources of cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale.
A study in China found an inverse relationship between cruciferous vegetable intake and breast cancer risk. In addition, the Nurses’ Health Study revealed the association between a high intake of cruciferous vegetables (defined as five or more servings per week) and a 33% reduction of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The flavonoid indole-3-carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables modulates several nuclear transcription factors. Indole-3-carbinol also induces phase 1 and phase 2 enzymes in the liver that metabolize estrogens and other carcinogens. This provides rationale that a high consumption of cruciferous vegetables, including collard greens, should be included in cases of breast cancer.
Ok, ok…enough with the nutrition lesson and on with the recipe!
Collard Wraps with Goat Cheese, Black Beans and Olives
- 8 large collard green leaves
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese. If you are vegan or sensitive to dairy, you could use dairy-free cheese or sprinkle on nutritional yeast.
- Italian seasoning- thyme, oregano.
- Marinara sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large saute pan or soup pot, blanch each collard green leaf in about an inch of boiling water for 30 seconds-1 minute. Remove from water and pat dry. (I do 2 at a time and pull them out after 30-60 seconds in boiling water. Then add the next 2…)
2. Fill each collard (on stem end) with 2 tbsp of beans, 1 tbsp chopped olives, 1 tbsp of cheese or cheese alternative, and spices.
3. Wrap like you would a burrito wrap. Place in a greased pyrex pan.
4. Top each collard wrap with 1 tbsp marinara sauce.
5. Bake for 30 minutes.
Here is a nice visual of how to make the wraps. Get creative and experiment with the filling. Hope I have inspired you to make collard greens part of your diet!
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.