This collard wrap is packed with colorful flavor and perfect for jazzing up your weekly meal prep.
This wrap embodies so many things that I loved about growing up in the Southern United States all wrapped up in a big leafy collard green. A crispy tomato. Smoky "bacon". PIMENTO CHEESE. Tomato jam. I mean, COME ON?!
There are so many stars of this show but let's talk about this totally plant-based pimento cheese first, k? Growing up, I saw pimento cheese in the deep south but not nearly as much as when my family moved up to North Carolina. Often called "Carolina Caviar", this cheesy spread was everywhere and honestly I was absolutely NOT a fan. Mostly eaten cold, it wasn't until I had warm melting pimento cheese on top of a burger that a light bulb really went off. Ah, okay. I see now. This stuff is my jammy jam - but typically only when it's reached melty perfection. However, when it comes to this wrap, the classic cold pimento cheese pares wonderfully with the rest of the flavors going on in this dynamic little wrap.
The next thing we must address is how undeniably delicious this Hot Chili Tomato Jam is. It's spiced just enough with red pepper flakes, cumin, smoked paprika, ginger, and a touch of cinnamon so that it allows the flavor of the tomatoes to really shine. Much like apples, Tomatoes contain naturally high amounts of pectin that, when combined with brown sugar, make a great jammy texture without any other additives. For the acid in this recipe, we use both lemon & apple cider vinegar - an ode to my favorite Lexington Style NC BBQ. It's sweet, spicy, savory, and perfect on a biscuit or a wrap in this case.
Last, but certainly not least, this Applewood Smoked Tempeh Bacon is out of this world. To be very honest, I'm not a huge fan of tempeh. I've tried so hard to like it but in the end - its a texture thing for me. But THIS. This is goooood, y'all. Sliced thin and coated in smoky-sweet goodness, this execution of tempeh has me singing it's praises for a few reasons. I could have used so many other bacon alternatives but tempeh is firm, holds its shape in the wrap, and is pretty darn nutritious. Tempeh, most often made from whole fermented soybeans, originated in Indonesia.
This wrap has many elements to it, but it's worth the prep work - I promise. When it comes to the collards, you have two options byways of preparing them. You can choose to steam your collard leaves until tender - making them easier to roll or you can delicately trim the thick stem down and roll them fresh - making your wrap have a nice fresh crunch. Either way, it seems best to roll the wraps deli-style before cutting to keep all the goodness inside the wrap and not running down your arm, ya know? Another helpful tip with your collards is that you'll more than likely want to layer two together to have a large burrito-style wrap. This is made much easier with the steaming and using a little bit of your pimento cheese as a glue.
Tempeh B.L.T.P Collard Wrap w/ Hot Chili Tomato Jam
Author: Megan Thompson Aston
Time: 1 hr
Yield: 4 wraps
1 firm medium-sized tomato, chopped or sliced into strips
8 medium-large collard greens
1 head of crisp green lettuce of your choosing, chopped.
For the tempeh bacon
8 oz block of unflavored Tempeh
1 tbsp of avocado oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)
2 tbsps soy sauce
1 tbsp agave
1/2 tsp liquid applewood smoke
1/2 tsp vegan Worcestershire
1/4 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
For the Hot Chili Tomato Jam
3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cumin
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
A pinch of cinnamon or more to taste
For the Pimento Cheese
1 16 oz can of chickpeas
1/3 cup vegan mayo
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
3/4 tsp salt + more to taste
3/4 tbsp pickled jalapeno, chopped (optional)
4 oz jar of pimentos, drained and chopped
2 cups plant-based cheddar cheese
For the Hot Chili Tomato Jam
Add all of your ingredients to a small saucepan except for your lemon juice & apple cider vinegar.
Fold your ingredients together in the pan until the tomatoes are covered in the brown sugar and spices.
With the stove set on medium-high, allow your tomatoes to release their juice and come to a boil. You can sit in this was carefully smashing your tomatoes on the side of the pan. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
Allow to boil for a few minutes before reducing your temperature and bringing your tomato jam to a simmer.
Allow the jam to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it's starting to become thick and jammy.
Mix in your lemon juice & apple cider vinegar. Simmer for a few more minutes.
Turn off your stove and set aside to cook before storing in a mason jar in the fridge.
You can choose to strain out the seeds and skin but I enjoy the texture they bring to the jam.
For the Pimento Cheese
Add all of your ingredients to into your blender or food processor - except for pickled jalapeno, pimentos, and cheddar cheese.
Blend until a smooth hummus-like consistency is formed. You want this as smooth as possible.
Transfer your smooth chickpea mixture into a medium-sized bowl. Stir in your pimento, pickled jalapeno.
Now gently fold in your plant-based cheese until completely coated.
Store in the fridge for up to a week.
For the Tempeh Bacon
Preheat your oven to 400 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone mat.
In a small bowl, combine all your ingredients except for the tempeh. Set aside.
With a sharp knife, thinly cut your tempeh down the longer side and then in half. Aim for your slices to be about an 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. You want them to all be roughly the same size.
Lay your slices onto the parchment paper and brush the seasoning mixture on either side.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Baste your bacon and return to the oven having tuned the sheet around to ensure even baking. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Remove bacon, flip each one, and baste one more time.
Return the sheet into the oven in its original orientation and bake for another 3-5 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
For Steamed Collard Greens
Set a steaming basket in a large pot with enough water so that it may boil but does not come through the basket.
Wash your greens and cut off any excess stem.
Bring to a boil and add your greens into the basket and steam until just tender.
Once done, roll your greens starting from the bottom of the steam and allow them to stay that way until your ready to fill them. This will make them even easier to roll when it's time.
For Fresh Collard Greens
Wash your greens and them top side down with the underbelly and thick stem facing you.
With a pairing knife, carefully trim down the thick stem to be as flush with the leaf as possible.
Cut off excess left/stem at the bottom.
With all your elements out and ready to assemble, lay down two of your collard greens with their stems laying vertically.
Overlap the greens by about 2 inches and use a touch of your pimento cheese to glue them together.
Toward the end of your wrap closest to you, begin spreading a layer of pimento cheese over the entire wrap. You'll want the spread thickest horizontally toward the area closest to you where your fillings will go.
Next, add your lettuce in the same horizontal space. Try to pack as much in there as possible.
Now add your tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Finish it off with your tempeh bacon and Hot Chili Tomato Jam.
First, you're going to want to fold over both the right and left sides of the wrap onto your wrap fillings.
Next, carefully wrap and roll tightly starting from the end closest to you. Think Chipotle. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. You really want everything rolled as tightly as possible without breaking the greens.
Once wrapped, transfer your wrap onto parchment paper that is about 1 1/2 x the size of the length of your wrap. Roll the wrap inside the paper in the same fashion as you did above.
Cut your wrap in half with a sharp serrated knife.
Store in the fridge for up to a week for meal prep.