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Collard Rolls with Rice Pilaf
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5 from 1 vote

Collard Rolls with Rice Pilaf

Serve these Greek inspired rolls with a salad of sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives and feta cheese. Makes 8 rolls. Serves 4. 
Prep Time1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free
Keyword: collards, rice pilaf, tomato sauce, collard rolls, dolmades
Servings: 8 collard rolls.
Calories: 327kcal


For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon plus one tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion , chopped
  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 medium zucchini cut in ½-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup currants or chopped raisins
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper , or 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

The collards and garnish:

  • 8 large collard greens (see note)
  • ½ lemon , very thinly sliced, optional


Prepare the filling:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion: cook and stir about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the brown rice. Cook, stirring often, until the rice gets a bit brown and begins to crackle. Add the vegetable broth. Cover the pan. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to the lowest setting possible. Cook without stirring, 45 minutes to an hour. (To check if the liquid has been absorbed or not, tilt the pan to the side.) Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Add the diced zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cubes begin to color. Stir in the minced garlic and cook a few more minutes.
  • Add the cooked rice, walnuts, currants, parsley, basil and rosemary to the zucchini and garlic. Season with Aleppo pepper and salt. Set aside.

Prepare the sauce:

  • In a blender puree the diced tomatoes. Stir in the remaining parsley and basil. Set aside.

Assemble and bake the rolls:

  • Keeping the leaves intact, trim out the lower and thickest part of the main stem of each collard leaf. (see note) You will have a V at the base where the sides connect.
  • To blanch and soften the collards, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice-cold water.
  • Blanch the collard leaves in the boiling water for 4 minutes. Immediately transfer to the ice water. (The ice water stops the cooking and keeps the leaves green.)
  • Drain the blanched leaves on kitchen towels. You can fill and roll the leaves on the towels.
  • Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly oil a baking dish.
  • Place about ¼ cup of the filling on each collard leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf over the filling, overlapping the 2 sides where the stem was cut out. Keeping the sides tucked in, roll up tightly.
  • Arrange the collard rolls in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining filling around the sides. Keeping the green rolls visible, spoon the tomato sauce over them. Cut the lemon slices in half and place decoratively over the rolls.
  • Cover and bake 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Serve the rolls on a bed of the filling, garnished with the lemon slices.


  • Allepo pepper’s fruity undertones provide agreeable spice. Substitute black pepper if you don’t have Allepo.
  • The collard leaves in our CSA box were huge. I removed the stem completely and filled each side as if it were one large leaf.


Serving: 2g | Calories: 327kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 585mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 848IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg