Warming Greens

You might be thinking that early March is still too cold to talk about eating more fresh greens. But greens can be so much more than just a base to a salad! Over the last few weeks I've been experimenting in my kitchen, creating warming dishes with winter greens like collards, kales and cabbage. These hardy greens make a great nutrient dense addition to soups and stir fries, which are quick and easy to whip up. My latest creation is not that quick or easy...but the results are well worth it! Plus, if make a few extra portions, you'll have a quick and easy meal to heat up later in the week!


Sweet Potato Collard Rolls with Vegan Béchamel Sauce

Collard Roll 

Ingredients
8 leaves Collard Greens
4 medium Sweet Potatoes
1 medium Onion
5 Garlic Cloves
salt and pepper to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Rinse and steam collard greens until they turn bright green. Set aside to cool.
Cut sweet potatoes into small cubes.
Cut onion into quarters.
Peel garlic cloves.
Place sweet potato, garlic and onions into bowl. Add olive oil to lightly coat. Toss together and add salt and pepper to taste. If you like, add other spices and herbs for flavor and heat. I like to add a little rosemary and red pepper fakes.
Roast in a casserole dish in the oven for 45 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. While the vegetables are roasting, make the vegan béchamel sauce.

Vegan Béchamel Sauce

Ingredients
2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
1 cup vegetable stock
pinch good-quality salt to taste
6 tbsp (55ml) olive oil
5 level tbsp (43g) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup nutritional yeast

Instructions
Make a roux by heating the olive oil over medium heat until warm, and then whisk in the flour. Keep whisking for around a minute, until a paste forms.
In a separate pot, warm the milk and vegetable stock together. Add this mixture to the roux GRADUALLY—about ¼ to ½ cup every minute, making sure the new mixture is smooth before adding more. Continue until you’ve used all the milk and vegetable stock mixture.
Keep cooking on medium heat and whisking until there are no more lumps and the sauce is thick—this will take 10 minutes.
Whisk in the nutritional yeast. Remove from heat.
Taste and add a pinch more salt if needed.


Assemble
Pour about 1 cup of the béchamel sauce into a casserole dish—I like to place the roasted vegetables into a bowl and reuse the same baking dish.
To prepare the collard rolls, place a single collard leaf on a cutting board. Spoon about half a cup of the roasted vegetables along one side of the collard. Roll the collard around the roasted vegetables and then place seam side down into the casserole dish.
Repeat with the remaining vegetables, making sure the collard rolls are placed tightly side-by-side in the dish.
Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, until everything is hot.
Place two rolls on each serving plate, and pour a little more béchamel sauce over the top.
Serve and enjoy! Make sure to save any leftover vegan béchamel to layer into lasagna, moussaka or other oven-baked dishes.