Naked Wraps: Using collard greens for your burritos and wraps

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Here’s one of the cooler food tricks I’ve learned from Chef James Barry: use a collard green leaf instead of a tortilla for your burritos, enchiladas, and wraps. This is a great solution for those of you who are gluten-sensitive, have a corn allergy, or are just wanting to reduce the amount of starchy carbs in your diet. And really, what’s more naked than a lightly steamed collard green leaf?

You can fill your wrap with just about anything. We’ve got a great recipe in the book Eat Naked, but get creative and try some different things out!

The wrapping technique is a little finicky, so here’s a quick video demonstrating how to do it. With a couple of practice runs you’ll be a pro in no time!

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  1. Leslie

    May 4, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Love this, Margaret! I’m wondering….could you do that with a swiss chard leaf or kale leaf as well? Can’t wait to try it! (And to find out what’s your special recipe for the stuffing in those things) 🙂

  2. Margaret Floyd

    May 4, 2011 at 9:59 am

    You could, but the swiss chard is a little less sturdy so more finicky; and the kale is a little more difficult to work with unless it’s got flat leaves. The nice thing about the collard green leaf is that it’s big and round – a lot like a real tortilla.

  3. Mary

    May 16, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Dear Margaret,

    You have a most interesting site. I wanted to share some information with you about greens and goitrogens (which can slow your thyroid). Are you familiar with the Weston A Price Foundation? They have a wonderful article that was published in their journal, Wise Traditions. It was a real eye-opener for me. You can read it here:

    All the best,


    • Margaret Floyd

      May 16, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Hi Mary! Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, I know Weston A Price Found. well and love them! You’re absolutely correct about cruciferous vegetables (not all greens – just those in the brassica family – broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and yes collard greens, among others) creating goitrogens that can slow your thyroid. Cooking these vegetables helps, and making sure you’re getting plenty of natural iodine in the diet from sea vegetables and seafood. Warmly, Margaret

  4. Wendy

    June 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    The family was having chicken tacos tonight (Scott made it of course), and since I’m not eating starches, I wrapped my chicken mixture, guacamole, cheese and salsa in a couple of collard green I picked yesterday in the community garden. It was delicious! (it was so pretty I took a picture!

  5. Wendy

    June 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Regarding goitrogens: does that mean I shouldn’t be putting collards and kale in my smoothies? I stopped using spinach in smoothies (my morning routine for over a year now) because of the salicitic acid (is that right? spell check has no idea). Wondering what the best raw greens are for smoothies. Spirulena and other such green powders are not alllowed on the specific carbohydrate diet.

  6. Margaret Floyd

    June 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Ah, Wendy, you’re discovering the thing that makes nutrition so maddening. There’s not a food out there that doesn’t have a very good reason to eat and to not eat it. Okay, there are some that have loads of reasons not to eat because they’re basically poison (Diet soda for example), but even healthy foods have good arguments for and against. It’s all about moderation. Spinach is fine – just not every day (it’s the oxalic acid your’e talking about). Kale and collards are fine, just not every day. Same kind of thing. Mix it up and you’ll be fine. 🙂

    • Cheissy

      January 4, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Completely agree, everything in moderation. Eat foods with no labels! Fruits and vegetables and a wide variety of them.

  7. Isha

    March 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    My friend just gave me a bunch of fresh collard greens from her garden. And I am sensitive to gluten, so I am definitely going to use this recipe for some of them. Great idea, and super healthy! Thanks.

  8. Monica

    January 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I often make “healthy” veggie enchiladas (with corn tortillas) and then freeze for a night when I do not have much time to cook for the family. I love this idea as we are trying to get less cards out of our diets – does steamed collards freeze well? I am thinking they may become a slimy after defrosting. Also could you cook the collard wrapped enchiladas like you would regular tortillas similar to a casserole?

    • Chef James

      January 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Hi Monica,
      Glad you’re interested in using collards. You’re correct, they will become slimy after freezing. I would recommend freezing the insides of the enchiladas and then when you want to eat them using fresh collard greens. The greens, as you may have know, only take 3 seconds to steam. Yes, you can cook them just like normal enchiladas. I would recommend slicing them a few times so that once you cover them with the enchilada sauce you can easily eat them without needing a knife. It’s very good either way. Enjoy!

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  10. Eileen

    June 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I just discovered this concept and I LOVE IT!!! The demo on how to do it was VERY helpful. I love being able to make a meal so portable and sturdy, and possibilities for fillings are endless! Thank you so much!!!

  11. Bridget McCoy

    June 27, 2014 at 3:15 am

    Hi Margaret and James!
    I’d love to try this but don’t have much experience with steaming. We own an electric steamer as well as a metal steaming basket for use in a pot on the stove. With the pot on the stove, how much water should I put in and at what temp? Thank you for your help 🙂

    • Margaret Floyd

      June 27, 2014 at 6:22 am

      We use any old pot and just bring about a 1/2 inch of water to a boil. You’ll immerse the greens for just a few seconds, until they turn a bright green. Do one at a time so you don’t overcook some and undercook others. It goes really quickly!

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