Collard Wraps with Italian “Pizza Cheese”
April 24, 2009

birds-eye-dinner

Today, friends, I’m sharing two techniques that are semi-essential to raw food meals:

1. Making nut pates
2. Making collard wraps

Nut pates are one of the first raw recipes I learned. They’re quick, delicious, and oh-so-versatile: you can use them in everything from wraps to sandwiches to salads to vegetable napoleons. They’re also a fun alternative to other soft spreads, like hummus, cream cheese, or refried beans.

What’s the difference between a nut pate and a nut cheese? Not much, except for consistency. I think of thicker mixtures  as pates; when you add more water (and make them softer), I think they begin to resemble cream cheese or even soft goat’s cheese.

You can adjust the flavors of these concoctions so that they mimic traditional recipes (I make a mushroom pate, for example, with soaked walnuts and spiced with thyme, that tastes a lot like the classic mushroom pate you might find as an appetizer at a dinner party; I also make a pine nut “ricotta”).

The basic idea is this: you soak a cup or two of nuts (1-2 hours for cashews, and overnight for almonds), throw them in a food processor with about 1/2 tsp salt per cup nuts, and grind them till they’re in a pulp form. Then scrape the sides of the bowl and drizzle water in until the mix comes together and becomes smooth; if you’re looking for a chunkier mix, don’t process for too long. It’s a lot like making hummus in a food processor, and just as fast!

When I make nut cheeses, I always add lemon for a hint of tartness. I also add herbs, sun dried tomatoes, dill, black pepper, or whatever other kinds of mix-ins I’m in the mood for.

Tonight’s cheese recipe was one of my all time favorites: cashew ricotta with sun dried tomatoes and basil–AKA, raw pizza cheese! (It was Melissa who first noted that this cheese tastes a lot like pizza on a spoon.) This cheese is delicious, easy, and can be served in so many ways: stacked between layers of tomatoes and basil in a “napoleon,” in wraps as shown, or on top of zucchini pasta.

Raw, Vegan “Pizza Cheese”
Recipe Type: spread, dip, snack
Cuisine: vegan, no oil, gluten free, soy free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (115 g) raw cashews, soaked for two hours or more and then drained of soak water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons light miso
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (either soft, dry and rehydrated with hot water, or oil packed and drained)
  • ¼ cup basil
Instructions
  1. Place the nuts into a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse a few times to break the nuts down. Add the salt, lemon, and miso.
  2. With the motor of the processor running, drizzle in about 1/3 cup water. You’re aiming for the mixture to be smooth and spreadable–similar to a ricotta cheese. If you need more water, you can add it by the tablespoon until you have a consistency that you like. You can also stop a few times while processing the cashews to scrape the food processor sides down with a spatula.
  3. Once the cheese has a consistency that’s just right, taste it and add black pepper to taste, as well as extra salt if you’d like. Add the tomatoes and basil and pulse the whole mixture until they’re well incorporated. Serve.

dinner2

You may recall my 8 simple swaps post, where I suggested swapping collard leaves for regular old wraps in raw food dishes. Collard wraps are a light, healthy, and creative alternative to your usual wraps or tortillas. A few of you emailed me after that post and asked how, exactly, you make collard wraps work. Here’s my trick.

Step one: de-vein the collard leave by slicing off the bottom of the stalk in a V formation and running your knife over the rest of the stalk to flatten the leaf, like so:

de-veined-collard collard-cut

 Step two: layer your cheese, pate, hummus, or other filling inside (I used about ¼ cup of the cheese), then pile veggies on top (here I used tomato, carrot, and some basil to complement the Italian flavor):

 veggies-in-collard

Step three: fold the bottom and top over the filling:

 wrap

Step four: fold the sides over, wrap, and roll!

 roll

Chop off the tops on a diagonal if you want to look particularly fancy.

Of course you can use this technique for just about any kind of filling. But the pizza cheese is a really good place to start 🙂

I really hope you’ll all begin experimenting, not only with collard wraps, but with all sorts of nut pates. Let me know what you create! And have a happy Friday, all.

xo

Categories: Raw

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    46 Comments
  1. The recipe header states “soy free” and yet it contains “Miso” which is made from soy beans…. Maybe you are not aware that miso is soy?

    • An error on my part! This is a much older post, and I hadn’t figured that out yet. Thanks for the reminder to edit 🙂

  2. Where do you buy miso? I have seen it mentioned so much, but have no idea where to buy. Is all miso raw? Thanks!

  3. Gena i was wondering how long will the cashew pizza chz keepn the fridge? Or does it need to be used right away?

  4. Mmm have you tried this “pizza” cheese as a sort of Alfredo? Bet it’s great with spaghetti!

  5. I love collard wraps. I can’t do the gluten thing so sprouted wheat products are not an option. I was so relieved to find that I could still enjoy the sensation of sandwiches when I craved them. Now I just have to give nut pates and cheeses a whirl!

  6. Gena, thanks for the tutorial! It helped me finally man up enough to enjoy my first-ever (albeit messily-assembled) collard wrap. Do you happen to know how long organic collard leaves keep fresh in the refrigerator? I bought a pack of 5 yesterday, and want to make sure I use them up in time. Thanks!

    • Congrats, Kim, on your first collard wrap! They get prettier, I promise 🙂

      I find that they last about 5-6 days in my fridge, in a plastic bag with a hole or two to breathe. I always put a damp paper towel in the bag (you should do this for all greens); it helps preserve freshness.

  7. Gena,
    Oh my gosh, I am so excited about all of these recipes. I love using raw nuts for cheezes and dips. I still haven’t tried the collard wraps, but I’m going to take your word for it and give them a whirl. 🙂

    Totally loving your blog and all your raw food creations. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. These wraps look so good. I’ve definitely been experimenting more with limiting the tortillas and using the greens. Thanks for being such a great inspiration.

  9. Thanks for the recipes!

    I have to admit… a part of me is afraid to eat that many nuts because I’ve been told forever that they are “fattening.” I know it’s not true, but it’s just such a hard thing to get over!

    • Tara,

      I urge you not to think this way!! Nuts are tremendously healthy, and they’re NATURAL fats, which means that your body can and will assimilate them efficiently. The fats which stick to us and clog up our digestion are animal fats; the fats that pass through us are coconuts, nuts, and avocados.

      If you’re looking to be moderate, I’d say stick with no more than 3 oz daily, but a little more won’t hurt you.

      Gena

  10. You had me at “pizza on a spoon!” 😀

    I’ve tried Nomi’s and Ani’s before and really enjoy them both.

    Another great tip is when you make fresh nut milks, save the pulp after you squeeeeeeze your nut milk bag out, and make some yummy cheese with it.

  11. These look awesome…I’ve never had nut cheese/pate before and can’t wait to try…do they have a shelf life or do you make a new batch for each meal?

  12. I have a standard ‘nut cheese’ that I use a lot, but I never realized that the pate was basically the same thing.

    I’m going to have to get more creative……….

    Thanks,

  13. All your recipes look great! I can’t wait to try some!! 🙂 This weekend sounds like a good time to try some wraps 🙂 Thank you they look so good!

  14. Mmm, that cheese sounds great! I’ve never tried nut cheese but this looks so easy and quick to make. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Nut cheezes are my favorite raw food dish! In fact, on my raw days, I probably overdo the nuts a little bit, but in real life, I also overdo proteins and carbs, so it’s fitting that I would do the equivalent of that with raw foods. Your pizza cheeze looks super creamy. I’ll remember this recipe for later use. Thanks!

    • Hey B! Yeah, they’re amazing. I’m happier with avocado based dishes 90% of the time (ha! in case you hadn’t noticed), but nothing beats some great nut cheese once in a while.

      And good point: it’s important to remember that excesses eating raw aren’t always flaws of the diet: ANY diet can lend itself to excess.

  16. Thanks for the tutorial and pate recipes! I’ve been wanting to try collard wraps for a while now, just haven’t worked up the nerve. 🙂 I’ve been afraid of them tasting too bitter, which is kind of silly because I tend to like dark greens.

  17. LOOOOOVE these tutorials!! I always use collards or swiss chard as wraps (since gluten-free wraps usually taste like cardboard), and I appreciate your wrapping techniques 🙂 And hooray for SOY-FREE “cheese”!!

    Happy Friday!!