Pesto Chicken Collard Rolls

April 20th, 2011 at 11:11 am

These collard rolls are easy to make and packed with nutrition. Because they keep well in the refrigerator and don’t become soggy like traditional tortilla wraps, they make great grab-and-go lunches or snacks. I came up with this pesto chicken version a few weeks ago and love it.

A few notes about the recipe.

  • Look for large, flat collard leaves free of holes, rust, or bug damage.
  • I used my Pumpkin Seed Pesto in these wraps, but any variety you like or your favorite recipe will work.
  • You can keep your blanched, patted dry collard greens in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day or two before you use them in wraps.
  • Collard rolls are  a blank slate. I think the pesto really gives these a flavor punch, but feel free to use any filling you like (think beans and rice, chicken salad, egg salad, hummus and vegetables, etc.).


Other News

The deadline for submissions for my Build a Better Breakfast Challenge is TOMORROW! (I will be a bit flexible here and take submissions that are a day or two late, so no worries if you haven’t gotten to it yet.) Please send me your recipes, links, photos, and tips as soon as possible. I want you included in this fun round up! Read all the details here.

Just a week from tomorrow, I’m headed to the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in Chicago. I haven’t been this excited about a trip in a long time. Not only will I be meeting up with dozens of my favorite bloggers and cookbook authors, but I’m also eager to stroll through the vendor fair where I’ll be sure to find new products in the gluten-free community. If you’re going, leave a comment…I’d love to meet you!

Pesto Chicken Collard Rolls

Makes 8 rolls

Look for large, flat collard leaves free of insect bites and holes. Eight leaves make up about one large bunch. Add any additional veggies you like to the rolls. Sprouts, thinly sliced avocado, or diced tomatoes would be delicious.

8 large collard leaves

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast meat

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

½ cup pesto (your favorite recipe)

Thinly sliced bell pepper or cucumber strips


First, trim the collard greens: trim the stem of each collard leaf to be even with the bottom of the leaf. If the stems running through the leaf are particularly thick near the bottom, trim them as follows: lay the leaf “wrong side up” on a cutting board. Hold a sharp paring knife parallel to the cutting board and carefully shave off the thick portion of the stem, taking care not to puncture the leaf or cut the stem out entirely. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Blanch the collard greens: bring 1 inch of water to boil in a large (10-12 inch) skillet or sauté pan. Using a pair of tongs, submerge each collard leaf in the water for about 1 minute. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Make the chicken filling: combine chicken, shredded carrots, and pesto in a medium mixing bowl and stir to evenly coat everything with the pesto.

Assemble the collard rolls: place a blanched collard leaf “wrong side up” on a work surface. Scoop 1/8th of the chicken filling onto the bottom third of the roll. Add a few slices of bell pepper or cucumber. Fold in the sides of the leaf over the top of the filling and roll away from you (as you would a burrito) to completing encase the filling. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling.

Find more nutritious, whole food recipes at Real Food Weekly and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.


  1. Hi Hallie,
    What a great idea! I am headed out to my garden to find the perfect collard leaves for these rolls. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I can hardly wait to try it.

  2. Very creative recipe, and it sounds delicious.

  3. I love collard wraps, thank for the tutorial! I will be seeing you in Chicago! Hope you got my Build a Better Breakfast entry! Thanks Hallie.

  4. great idea! i’m trying this out soon!

  5. Your recipe sounds great! I am gluten free and generally avoid carbos anyway unless I am baking. This recipe is right up my alley. I have never tried collard greens- it sounds like this would be a perfect introduction for me! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  6. Yummy! I love how healthy and creative these are. I haven’t really ever seen collard greens around here, but this makes me want to find some!

  7. I just discovered you through The Balanced Platter. I am so excited about your book, your blog and this collard recipe. I will be able to eat wraps again. Yeah! Thanks so much for this great recipe and am looking forward to browsing here for more.

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