These little bean and rice wraps are pretty much a staple in this house these days. I love making them, because collard greens are a greater source of nutrients and fiber than white flour tortillas or rice paper summer roll wrappers (although I love those as well, but you gotta make the majority of your intake nutrient-dense!). And for your wallet’s sake, a whole batch of these wraps costs less than $5 to make.
I’ll even get into some nutrition science for you – beans and rice make a complete protein, meaning they have all the essential amino acids you need (“essential” means your body does not make them; “nonessential” means your body can produce them). Not only that, beans contain iron. Iron carries your oxygen around in your blood. Iron can be in the heme form (from meat), or non-heme form (from plant sources). Non-heme forms of iron, like from these black beans, are better absorbed with vitamin C present (that’s from these collard greens), and not as easily absorbed as heme iron. Even though it takes a little more effort with vitamin C for iron absorption, plant-based eaters do not have a higher incidence of iron-deficiency anemia than meat eaters, if that’s what you’re thinking (I know some of you are thinking of that!). Anyways, I also like to serve this with a homemade pico de gallo or jalapeno hot sauce, which means more sources of vitamin C!
Every weekend, I try to prep as much food as I can for the hectic weekdays. This means I soak dried beans overnight, and put them in the French oven to cook while I do other things (you can parcel them out – I usually freeze a bag of cooked and cooled beans). I make a few mason jars of oats to last a few days. I make rice in the rice cooker, and put it in a big tupperware for the week (instead of making all brown rice, I make 1/2 brown rice and 1/2 white rice, because my daughter likes that texture better). I also make a couple cups of wild rice over the stove, and put this in a tupperware as well (wild rice has been a great pseudograin to incorporate into my hubby’s no-meat Ironman training). Not to mention, I slice up my herbs, like green onion and cilantro, for easy access to them when I’m hurriedly making dinner on the weekday. This is all usually done during downtime on the weekends – when my husband is out running/swimming/biking, when my kid is sleeping, playing with her toys, or feeding my dog by hand (yes! She loves doing that!).
And let me get something off my chest now. I’ve found that I’ve been more mindful of food wastage in the past few years. Yes, there were times that I threw away old food, left it in the fridge too long, ordered too much at the restaurant. Stupid me. Well, I’ll tell you that I HATE that now. I take measures to buy just what we need for the week, make what we’ll consume for the week, and not throw away food. If my bananas are getting too ripe, I slice them and throw them in the freezer for smoothies. Just used 1/2 can of coconut milk? Put it in a mason jar, and store in the fridge for later in the week, or make popsicles with fruit!
This is why this recipe is great, because you know that rice, the beans, and the wild rice I prepped at the beginning of the week? It gets wrapped up in cute little parcels, and whatever rice and beans are left over gets mixed together, and consumed with avocado or corn (my little one’s go-to meal). Nothing gets wasted. Clean fridge, healthy family, happy mama.
If you eat meat – totally your choice, but I’m just saying, if you’re gonna buy it, you better eat it. I’m not going to spout the old saying that there are starving kids in third-world countries (though that’s very much true). But please be mindful, because that beef or other meat in that styrofoam container was a beautiful cow, chicken, lamb, fish, or other living being. It suffered and felt pain, and it did not die just so you could throw it away.