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spelt collard rolls with roasted red pepper sauce

Lately I’ve been getting my dose of world news from an unexpected place: the gym. I’ve been trying to get into running, so a couple days a week I find myself running in place staring at a TV (best case: watching the CBC, worse case: watching one of apparently a million poker tours).

Throughout the process of piecing together the headlines, sublines, and closed captioning, I’ve become increasingly aware of my minor outbursts while watching the news. And by outbursts, I mean the occasional gasp or very audible “UGH” in disbelief at whatever asinine views or proposals the Trump administration is presenting that day.

His plan to better fund the Department of National Defence (aka build the border wall) in his just-released budget means drastic cuts across the board, most significantly to the Environmental Protection Agency. His budget chief said that climate change efforts are a waste of time. A WASTE OF TIME YOU GUYS. The whole thing is so infuriating, and yet I keep moving. I guess the anger pumps my blood faster and propels me forward. I feel physically and emotionally exhausted afterward, so it turns out that running has become very cathartic for me.

After standing on my feet all day at work followed by anger-fueled running for 30-40 minutes, I’m pretty hungry and don’t want dinner to take all that long. While we definitely tend toward more hands on dinners, these collard rolls fall somewhere in the middle for us in terms of time spent prepping/cooking. I have been getting into the habit of batch cooking a grain at the beginning of the week so we can easily include some whole grains in some lunches and dinners throughout the week. That + this lazy girl’s pseudo-romesco blender sauce make this meal come together much more quickly. While these are in the oven I might throw together a quick salad and chuck a whole sweet potato in the oven for low-key sides.

spelt collard roll with roasted red pepper sauce

spelt collard roll with roasted red pepper sauce

spelt collard roll with roasted red pepper sauce

spelt collard roll with roasted red pepper sauce

spelt collard roll with roasted red pepper sauce

spelt collard roll with roasted red pepper sauce

spelt collard roll with roasted red pepper sauce

spelt collard rolls with roasted red pepper sauce (vegetarian, vegan)

serves 3-4 with additional sides

inspired by these cabbage rolls

2 cups cooked spelt (1 cup raw)
4 collard leaves, ribs removed/trimmed down
1 medium onion, small dice (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 medium carrot, small dice (about 1/2 cup)
1 small celeriac, peeled and small dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup fennel, small dice (a handful of fronds reserved)
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

2 roasted red peppers
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly softened stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the carrot, celeriac, fennel, and a pinch of salt, then continue to cook for 15-20 minutes until they have softened, adding a splash of water if needed. While the veg is cooking, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch each collard leaf for about 15 seconds then remove and run under cold water or plunge into a bowl of ice water.

After the veg has softened, add the garlic, tomato paste, spices and vinegar to the pan and stir occasionally for 4-5 minutes. Add the reserved fennel fronds, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and add the spelt to the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350F fan (375 regular). Add all the sauce ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Grab the collard rolls and divide the spelt filling between them, and roll them up snugly. Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish, then place the collard rolls in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over top. Cover with a lid or parchment, then bake for 25-30 minutes.


To streamline this for a weeknight meal, I recommend cooking the spelt at the beginning of the week when/if you do batch cooking. If you haven’t, here’s how I cook it: soak the spelt the night before in a bowl of cool water. The next day, drain and rinse the spelt, then add to a small pot. Cover with cold water and a pinch of salt, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly and cook for about 20 minutes until tender, then drain then set aside.

Lentils would make a welcome addition to the rolls for an extra boost of protein

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