Hello cold January evenings! Please meet your new best friend – Turkey Stuffed Collard Greens! Straight up healthy, filling, comfort food!
Is there a meal, dish or recipe that just takes you back to your childhood? Something that you didn’t realize you enjoyed until you were an adult and found yourself craving it?
That pretty much explains how I feel about cabbage rolls! Random, right?
I remember my parents making them in the fall of the year when I was a child. And while I remember liking them, I don’t remember loving them. But as an adult, there is something about them that I totally crave. Perhaps it’s the ground beef and rice stuffing, or it could be the tomato sauce that the rolls just swim around in.
But, if I’m being honest, it’s probably just the memory of my parents making them. There is something so comforting about those memories, don’t you think?
So these Turkey Stuffed Collard Greens are my clean eating attempt at cabbage rolls. Not that cabbage rolls are really unhealthy or overly processed, but I just made a few swaps to add some cleaner ingredients to the recipe. For instance, I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, and quinoa instead of white rice. The collard greens also add dark, leafy greens to the mix, which is perfect for my self-imposed green and clean January challenge! (If you missed that post, I mentioned it here at the beginning of January).
With all that said, these Turkey Stuffed Collard Greens actually came about quite accidentally last fall. I had bought some collard greens at a farmer’s market, with no particular plan for them, but they looked so lush and fresh, I just couldn’t resist them.
Of course, after a while they started to wilt in my fridge so I started cobbling together some random ingredients in an attempt to make good use of them. As luck would have it, I had some pre-cooked quinoa and ground turkey in the fridge for another recipe. So I added some tomato sauce, veggies and seasoning, and these Turkey Stuffed Collard Greens just came together. Love it when that happens!
This recipe is filling, wholesome and surprisingly super easy! You’ll just need the following to pull these bad boys together:
- 8-10 medium-sized collard green leaves
- Ground turkey
- Quinoa or rice/quinoa blend
- No-salt added tomato sauce
- Leeks, onion, red pepper and jalapeño pepper
- Salt, pepper and garlic
- And some parm cheese if you like!
Seriously, that’s it for the ingredient list.
The trickiest part about this recipe is probably preparing the leaves, but there is actually nothing to it. Just make sure you use leaves that don’t have any holes or tears, and wash them thoroughly. Admittedly, a few of the leaves I used in these photos had tears, but in my defence, it’s difficult to find decent looking collard greens around here in the winter! But they seem to be available year round, so that’s a bonus!
Collard greens are a bit tough, so cut off the lower portion of the stem and boil them for 5-7 minutes. They should soften up enough to wrap but not get too soft that they tear when you’re working with them.
Once the greens are prepared, just stuff, wrap and bake! Easy peasy! These make a perfect meal with a side salad, and have been rockin’ my Sunday meal prep for months now! I love having a few of these rolls to look forward to at lunch during the work day!
If you give these a try, please feel free to leave a rating or comment below. And you can always take a photo and share on Instagram. Just tag @crumbtopbaking so I’ll see your pic!Print
Turkey Stuffed Collard Greens are a spicy version of cabbage rolls, with clean ingredients such as lean ground turkey, quinoa, leeks, onion, red pepper, jalapeño and garlic. This is all rolled up in big, leafy collard greens and topped with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese!
- 1 – 454 g package of lean ground turkey
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 large leek, chopped
- 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 a large red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 a jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3/4 cup quinoa or quinoa/rice blend, cooked
- 1 – 398 ml can no-salt added tomato sauce (divided)
- 8–10 medium-sized collard green leaves, washed and stems removed
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8″x11″ baking dish.
- In a large frying pan, add the ground turkey, salt, garlic and pepper and cook over medium heat. Once the ground turkey is almost cooked, add the leek, onion, red pepper and jalapeño pepper. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat until the turkey is fully cooked and the vegetables have softened. Be sure to stir occasionally.
- While the turkey is cooking, prepare the quinoa according to package instructions. You will need 3/4 cup cooked quinoa. (I like to add a little bit of garlic to my quinoa for added taste).
- Add the cooked quinoa and half the tomato sauce to the ground turkey mixture. Cover and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and add the prepared collard green leaves. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the leaves have softened enough to roll.
- Using tongs, carefully remove the cooked greens from the water, lay them out on a flat surface and pat them dry with paper towels.
- Once the collard greens are cooled enough to handle, place a portion of the ground turkey/quinoa mixture in the centre of each green. Divide the mixture amongst all the leaves. Start rolling the greens from the bottom (where the stem was removed), and fold in the sides as you roll. Lay the rolled greens seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the rolls and sprinkle on the parmesan cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 2-3 days.
- If you like your rolls saucy, you can add a little extra tomato sauce over the top before baking.
- I’ve used both a tricolour quinoa and a sprouted rice/quinoa blend in these rolls, and both were great.