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Simple Collards Wraps with Curried Lentils & Quinoa

Simple Collards Wraps with Curried Lentils & Rice

My first step off the plane back into my home of Philadelphia welcomed me with a rush of balmy hot air. Hello East Coast. Hello 90-degree summer. Hello “please take me back west”.

In all reality, transitioning from a vacation is significantly easier when done in the summer. This is the time of year when I love my city the most. It’s the time of year where Philly offers free yoga classes, outdoors, every day of the week. (Sweat & smiles, all around). The time when I can ride my bike effortlessly, no jacket needed. And when beer gardens pop-up by the handful to meet my bike-induced, thirst-quenching needs. (Although, I am still waiting for that California/Portland kombucha-on-tap scene to take over Philly and fulfill those needs, too.)

As for the west coast – I feel we may meet again one day. Sunny California, you stole a piece of my heart. And did a good job streaking my hair blonde with your sunrays.

Grace Dickinson

My recent travels took me through L.A., some smaller towns of Cali, all around Portland by bike, and up and down numerous, breathtaking mountains. There was lots of vegan food to be had, some of which I will be recreating (in particular, the Coconut Lentil Quesadillas from Real Food Daily!). An abundance of inspiration. Park picnics with friends. Fantastic & jolting iced coffee (Intelligentsia, for the win). Corresponding coffeeshop interactions. Adventures, surfboard crashes, and even a reality TV show recruiting.

I’ve never been so active on a vacation. Daily swim-yoga-hiking combinations unfolded, and its climbing those West Coast mountains that I’ll miss the most. I tell you, that’s where I truly feel alive.

Beluga lentils

Now that I’m back though, I want to keep that feeling of “aliveness” alive. That calls for healthy, nourishing food, and with this killer East Coast heat wave, some cool eats, too.

Shall this be the summer of collard wraps? I’ve already deemed it the summer of socca, but it can be both, right?

Simple Collards Wraps with Curried Lentils & Rice

I love how light and refreshing collard wraps feel, while also being able to easily pack in a bunch of flavor into one portable package. It’s the kind of meal that won’t weigh you down on blazing sunny days, and also one that can generally be enjoyed hot or cold.

Keep the filling hot if you’re feeling a warm but light dinner. Or roll these up, place them in the fridge, and have a cool, ready-to-go lunch for the next day. I, of course, did both.

Simple Collards Wraps with Curried Lentils & Rice

This meal would fit right into the forward-thinking cities of Cali (and Portland, too!). So in a sense, I’m just bringing my trip home with me. Working or not, I like to view every day of summer as vacation, and these are so easy to make, they fit well into that mindset. A one-pot meal? Packaged into fresh summer greens? With tomatoes and avocado? Ready to join me for the Cali-inspired summer of collard wraps? Yeah, me too.

But don’t worry. More socca is on its way too. And for my East Coast friends, I’m not moving just yet.

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Crispy Brown Rice Cakes with Avocado and Egg

Crispy Brown Rice Cakes with Avocado and Egg

April showers bring May flowers. And rainy rides to work.

Thank god for rain pants, otherwise I would’ve been one soaking mess at the office today. I hate driving, and I hate the majority of Philly’s public transit systems. So unless there’s some kind of lightning zombie apocalypse, you can generally catch me on my bike if I’ve got places to be.

If this sounds like you – invest in some rain pants. I’ve been borrowing a friend’s this week, and they are a savior. You could say they’re kind of like meals like this – good to keep around for when you need to be somewhere quick but still want to treat yourself well.

Okay, so maybe that rain pant / crispy brown rice cake comparison is a bit of a stretch. But both have served me well this past week. Hence, here I am, laying out a thank you to each on my blog today. So be it. I’ll blame the weather on this rambling blog post, if need be.

Let’s cut to the chase. There is certainly no debate around whether or not a ripe avocado is a savior in all lunchtime situations. It is, it is, it is. And if you’ve got brown rice cooked and stored in your fridge, you can use it to turn a breakfast-like combo into an interesting meal like this in no time.

Not dissimilar to avocado toast, this simply swaps the bread for crispy, wholesome rice used as a base and spiced as you desire. Feel free to play around with the toppings, or keep it simple like this. Following April showers, serve with an obligatory side of flowers.

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