Collard Leaf Tacos with Walnut Taco Filling

raw collard tacosYou know how it is when you settle in to a big plate of tacos…  You savor every ingredient and the mixture of salty, creamy, pungent and sweet.  And after every crumb has been licked away, you feel like pulling on a pair of tennis shoes and bolting out the door for a run.  What?  A plate of tacos doesn’t make you feel so energized that you need to get up and move?  Well, this batch of collard leaf tacos could change all of that.

It’s a balmy 20 degrees where I live right now, but there’s something about this time of year that makes me crave raw foods.  Maybe it’s my body’s way of crying out for sun through plant-based chlorophyll.  Who knows?  In place of corn or wheat tortilla shells, raw collard leaves hold all of the taco goodness in place.  (If the leaves are large enough, you can have one leaf equally torn into two shells after the thick, center rib has been removed.)

Raw collard tacosI decided to play with a recipe of my own for walnut taco filling.  I’ve made Ani Phyo’s taco walnut meat in the past and really enjoyed it, but my curiosity was piqued earlier this week when I saw that Rose over at the Dandelion Vegan Blog uses sun-dried tomatoes in her taco filling.  The sweet, chewy texture of sun-dried tomatoes is the perfect companion to the salty umami of tamari-seasoned raw walnuts.

I recently wrote about my favorite sun-dried tomatoes from Trader Joe’s, which are sealed and bagged like raisins.  They’re not packed in oil, and they don’t need to be rehydrated.  But this recipe could easily utilize rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes or oil packed sun-dried tomatoes that have been rinsed.

Raw tacos with walnut meatThis has been my lunch for two days in a row.  It’s that good.  Best of all, this meal comes together quickly with only plates, a food processor, cutting board, and knife to clean afterwards.  No heavy pans or pots to clutter up the dishwasher.  That leaves more time for going on a hike or turning on a workout DVD if you live somewhere cold like me.  Get your tennis shoes ready.  You’re going to need them.

Collard Leaf Tacos with Walnut Taco Filling

Serving Size: Serves 2

Collard Leaf Tacos with Walnut Taco Filling


  • 1 cup raw walnuts (unroasted and unsalted)
  • 2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in resealable bag (If using jarred instead, rinse them first)
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Collard leaves, rinsed and patted dry with center rib removed (to be used as shells)
  • Red bell pepper, diced
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Kalamata olives, sliced
  • Red onions, chopped small
  • Avocado, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, quartered


  1. To make the walnut meat, process the walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, tamari, chili powder paprika, coriander, and cumin in a food processor until crumbled into small pieces. Take time to stop and scrape down the sides, if necessary, as you process.
  2. Fill collard leaves with taco fixings and a scoop of walnut taco filling. Grab a napkin. It’s going to get messy.


I use sun-dried tomatoes that don't need to be rehydrated. However, you can use that kind. Just soak the tomatoes in water for a half an hour before using in this recipe.


  1. I’ve made that raw walnut taco meat and it is delicious…now I’m craving some!

    • Isn’t it surprising how much walnuts take on those flavors and textures that you wouldn’t otherwise associate with them? Walnuts are okay, but they’re far from being my favorite nut. However, they work so well as taco filling. Plus, you get that omega 3 boost!

  2. Your tacos are gorgeous!! What could be healthier too, with the collard wraps. I’m going to have to make some soon, as I usually have collards in the fridge. I know raw recipes are meant for all raw dishes, but I usually end up mixing and matching. Thanks for the shout out! 😀

    • Since I don’t follow a raw diet, I don’t generally feel that raw recipes have to stay 100% raw either. If the walnut meat works well in other recipes, why not use it? I’ll often include it in a taco salad in a whole wheat tortilla bowl. The collard leaf does a nice stand-in as a shell, because it lets all of the focus go to those tasty ingredients. You’re welcome for the shout out! Thanks for the great idea of including sun-dried tomatoes into the mix. It adds a wonderful chewiness and sweetness.

  3. Those look great! Tacos are by far the best raw food – yummy!

  4. Collard greens are a genius taco shell substitute! They won’t get soggy and fall apart upon first bite.

  5. Making these for dinner tonight!

  6. I had raw nutmeat tacos at Vida Vegan and they were amazing. Your version sounds great and I especially like the addition of the sun-dried tomatoes. Thanks for including the info about where to buy them without oil. I made a ton of dehydrated tomatoes but they are almost gone and I’d like to be able to buy something similar that’s not packed in oil.

    • You dehydrated your own tomatoes? That’s another good reason to get a dehydrator! When you use them, do you have to rehydrate them with water?

      I agree that it’s nice to avoid the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Even after they’ve been rinsed, they can feel heavy. I’ve used the packaged sun-dried tomatoes that have to be rehydrated, but I feel like their flavor is muted after adding water. I like that the TJ’s version has a slight sweetness to it. I only wish that they were organic.

  7. oh wow – look at those colors! I love that taco night can be healthy. :)

  8. Oh my goodness I just made this and my mind is BLOWN. But really…. WOWOWOWOOWOWOW soo good!!

  9. Ok, the tacos look and sound delicious (and ridiculously healthy) – but your bowls are absolutely gorgeous! Anthropologie? West Elm? Neither? Do tell me where you got them, please? :)

  10. i love all the greens and veggies in this taco! i love those bowls too!

  11. I’m making tacos next week and I really need to acquaint myself with walnut meat. But I’m so addicted to making TVP meat – maybe I can combine the two? Hmm..

    • Maybe you could have a variety of taco options! The walnut taco meat is ready in less than five minutes. So after you’ve chopped toppings, which would work for both, you could have one raw taco and one TVP taco.


  1. […] had seen raw tacos popping up all over the place lately ( here & here ) and decided to make my own attempt at nut/seed based raw taco meat. I used collard leaves to […]

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