Get the bold flavours of a Jamaican beef patty with these collard leaf wraps

Ellie Krieger

THE WASHINGTON POST – These burrito-style collard green wraps brim with brown rice plus a saucy simmer of ground beef.

The meat is seasoned with the bold, fragrant flavours of a Jamaican beef patty, an amber-hued combination of savoury paprika and curry powder – ideally, a Jamaican-style blend – along with the warm island vibe of ground allspice, a floral note of thyme and a kick of fiery cayenne pepper.

Using lean beef keeps the meal healthfully balanced, but you could substitute ground chicken or turkey, if you prefer. You could also swap cooked quinoa for the brown rice. Wrapped in blanched collard green leaves, these wraps make for an exceptionally nourishing handheld meal.

You might be tempted to skip the step of blanching the collards, but you shouldn’t do so.

Blanching is fast and easy, can be done days in advance, and it will make all the difference in the ease of wrapping and eating, turning the leaves from tough and waxy to tender-firm and more saturated green.

Jamaican-Spiced Beef Collard Wraps. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

I like to serve these wraps taco-style, with all the fixings out on the table so everyone can build their own.

Although I relish these as wraps, it’s also worth mentioning that the elements can morph into a glorious grain bowl, with the rice on the bottom, followed by a scoop of the meat mixture and the blanched collards sliced into ribbons on top.

Either way, you’re in for a flavourful, satisfying meal.


Active: 40 minutes | Total: 1 hour 10 minutes

Four servings

Storage Notes: Unfilled, blanched collard greens may be prepared up to three days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature or warm slightly in the microwave before assembling.


Eight medium collard greens leaves, washed (about 10 ounces)

Two tablespoons olive oil, divided

One pound lean ground beef

One medium yellow onion, finely diced

One Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced

Three medium cloves garlic, minced

One teaspoon yellow curry powder, preferably Jamaican

One teaspoon paprika

Half a teaspoon ground allspice

One-eighth teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

One tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Half a teaspoon kosher salt, add more to taste

Half a teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Two cups low-sodium beef broth

Three scallions, thinly sliced

Two cups hot cooked brown rice


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water.

While the water comes to a boil, trim the stems off the collards at the base of their leaves.

Place one leaf at a time on a cutting board, top side down, and use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to shave down any thick, heavy stem that runs through the centre of the leaf.

Place the leaves in the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, then transfer them to the ice water to chill completely.

Place the leaves on clean kitchen towels (you may need to alternate layers of collards and towels to stack them) and pat dry.

In a large skillet over a medium-high heat, heat one tablespoon of the oil until shimmering.

Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until no longer pink, about eight minutes.

Transfer the meat to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium.

Add the onion and Scotch bonnet or habanero, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have softened, about three minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.

Stir in the curry, paprika, allspice and cayenne and stir to combine.

Return the beef to pan and stir in the thyme, salt and black pepper.

Add the broth and raise the heat to bring to a boil, if necessary, then return the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the scallions and season to taste with additional cayenne and/or salt.

To assemble, place one collard leaf on a plate, scoop a quarter cup of rice onto the centre of the leaf, followed by a heaping one third cup of the meat mixture.

Fold burrito-style and serve.


Calories: 420; Total Fat: 19g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 75mg; Sodium: 460mg; Carbohydrates: 33g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 30g.