I’m excited to share this recipe because when I posted a sneak-peek to Instagram, I got many requests. These barley stuffed collard greens are hearty and delicious. They work well as a main course or a side dish. The Cajun favouring and red pepper sauce adds a smokey full-flavoured kick to every bite.
I’ll start by giving credit where credit is due. Although this recipe is one of my random creations, it’s heavily influenced by the cuisine of Bryant Terry. I borrow a lot of his go-to’s when it comes to favours and ingredients. Terry is a vegan chef who creates recipes with influences from the African diaspora with the occasion Asian spin. His first book, Afro-Vegan is one of my favourites cookbooks. His most recently booked, Vegetable Kingdom, is a stunner and great for dinner parties. The cover features Tofu wrapped in collard greens which sparked my interest in making collard wraps. Collard greens are one of my favourite vegetables but I usually have them chopped up rather than wrapping something.
Cajun spice which originates from Louisiana is a style of cooking developed by the Cajun–Acadians. It’s actually fascinating because it’s a mix of the French influence with regional ingredients you’d usually associate with the American South. Cajun cuisine also uses common vegetables like bell peppers, celery, onions and garlic which I also incorporate in this recipe.
When making this recipe, you can opt to use a pre-made Cajun spice mix or to add the spices one by one. Both options are great so go with what you have at home. If you don’t have premade spice mix, these are the spices you’ll need.
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Dried oregano
I use tomato paste in the recipe. To avoid waste, freeze the remaining tomato paste in an ice cube tray so that you’ll have easy and ready-to-use paste for next time. Check out some low waste inspiration on my post about this on Instagram.
I also use only two stalks of celery which will leave you a whole bunch left. Use the remaining celery to snack on. The red pepper sauce doubles as a great dip for veggies. You can also freeze your celery scraps to make homemade vegetable broth.
You’ll love these hearty cajun flavoured collard greens stuffed with barley.
Cajun Stuffed Collard Green with Red Pepper sauce
- 1 bunch collard greens
- 1 cups pearl barley
- 3 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
Creamy red pepper sauce
- 150g soft tofu about ¾ cup
- 1 roasted red pepper I use the kind from a jar
- 1 garlic clove minced
- dash of hot sauce optional
Blanch collard greens
- Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Fill a large clean bowl with ice-cold water. Add washed collard greens to boiling water. Cook for 1 minute, then using thongs, remove the collard greens and plunge into ice water. Chill for a minute or so; this process helps the greens keep their bright colour. Drain the ice water and pat the collard greens dry.
- Using a small knife, remove the thick part of the stems and set aside.
Make red pepper sauce
- Add roasted red peppers, soft tofu, garlic and hot sauce to a blender; blend on high until everything is well incorporated. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot; add onions, garlic, green pepper, celery and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in spices: garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, and salt to taste. Add washed pearl barley and continue mixing until the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add broth, bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook until the barley is soft, chewy and tripled in volume, about 25 minutes.
- Lay the blanched collard green wrappers flat on a clean work surface. Add about 1/2 a cup of stuffing to the middle of the wrapper above where the stem was removed. Fold the top side over the stuffing then roll in the left and right sides inward, and tightly roll the wrapper. Lay the rolls in a deep dish or serving plate.
- Pour red pepper sauce over the stuffed collard greens rolls before serving.