Kale Wraps with Garden Veggies and Spicy Chickpeas

July 13, 2015
Kale Wraps with Garden Veggies and Spicy Chickpeas - Curly kale leaves wrap spicy chickpeas, crisp and refreshing cucumber noodles, and lots of veggies. A zesty peanut sauce to drizzle the top

“You're sure this will work, right?

I mean, it's summer.  There's blood 

Food Sensitivity Test 1-1024x

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and it has to make it from Iowa, all the way to Florida.”

“Feeling like Snoopy or hearts?”

“Smiley faces?”

She rooted around in her drawer of band-aids, as I taped another cold pack around the small white box holding the four vials she'd just drawn.  “Remind me again, what is this for?”

“A food sensitivity test.”

Food Sensitivity Test 2-1024x

Maybe it's because I'm more in tune, but my goodness, there are so many voices out there telling us their opinions about how we should be eating.  Paleo is best, become a vegan, eat in 3's, eat only raw food, count points, eat everything (but not too much!)

What I quietly want to say is, “I'm really glad it's worked for you, but 

we're all so different.”

My introduction to the idea of personalizing one's diet came around the beginning of the year when I tried Lyn-Genet Recitas' The Plan.

Could it be .. certain foods will trigger an inflammatory response in the body?  Could it be, there's more to the story than simply calories in vs. calories out?  Could it be, even foods that fall in the “healthy” column, those with lots of nutrients, may not be healthy

for us as individuals?

Admittedly, following The Plan's elimination diet exactly to the letter proved a bit more than I could do, although I've been fascinated with, and studying the concept ever since.  Certainly, there had to be a better way to gather the same information?

Kale Wraps with Garden Veggies and Spicy Chickpeas - Curly kale leaves wrap spicy chickpeas, crisp and refreshing cucumber noodles, and lots of veggies. A zesty peanut sauce to drizzle the top

One of the many things I've loved about working with Dana James is her approach.  Everything is personalized, from which supplements to take, tests that might be helpful, and which foods my body responds best to

Thought it might be fun this week to share some of the information I've learned along the way about food sensitivities, the blood test you can take instead of spending months on a strict elimination diet, as well as my results so far

(Remember, what's worked for me, may not work for you.  Also, I want to stress how very important it is to have a health care professional analyze the results with you)

What is a food sensitivity?

It's a delayed reaction to the foods we eat that happens in our gut, not in the bloodstream (like an allergy).  When we eat food our body is sensitive to, our white blood cells release mediators, and it's the mediators that cause the food sensitivity reactions (said another way, our immune system has a reaction)

Reactions vary from person to person and may be anything but obvious, although there's little doubt they can make you sick.  They may cause you to gain weight, have a runny nose, headaches, pain conditions, or a host of other unpleasantries.

(Essentially, whatever your health conditions are, inflammation will be especially noticeable in those areas)

Kale Wraps with Garden Veggies and Spicy Chickpeas - Curly kale leaves wrap spicy chickpeas, crisp and refreshing cucumber noodles, and lots of veggies. A zesty peanut sauce to drizzle the top

Examples of the effects of reactive foods, from some of my classmates.  The group of fifty who tried The Plan together

One person, after eliminating lentils from her diet, noticed her migraines lessened, not only in frequency but intensity as well.  (She is a vegetarian who ate lentils every day!)

Another suffered from pretty severe joint pain.  One of her biggest food offenders?  Rice.  “I was eating it with my meals, and also baking with rice flour.  All in my noble pursuit of avoiding gluten.  Who knew?” 

Another, in the throes of menopause, noticed if she had only a few of bites of oatmeal, her hot flashes were dramatically worse (for the entire day!)

Yet another reported eating a single strawberry, with a gain of 3 pounds(!) by the next morning

Me?  I've discovered inflammation shows up like clockwork, in one of two ways.

The first, brain fog.  Within a couple of hours, I'll have a terrible time concentrating, and feel very much out of sorts.

The second, lymphoma in my left leg.  The lingering effects of a blood clot that developed and damaged a vein deep inside my leg, during recovery from a car accident 28(!) years ago.  I can tell shortly after eating a reactive food; there's noticeably more swelling, along with varying degrees of a dull ache

What's causing all of these food sensitivities?  What are some of the ways we can identify them?  What are some of the most common food offenders?  Based on the results above, am I forever banned from 30+ foods; many of which I really like?

(.. to be continued .. )

Kale Wraps with Garden Veggies and Spicy Chickpeas - Curly kale leaves wrap spicy chickpeas, crisp and refreshing cucumber noodles, and lots of veggies. A zesty peanut sauce to drizzle the top

Such a fun recipe from the weekend

With the weather hot and sticky here in Iowa, and sweet neighbors who dropped off veggies and beautiful leaves of kale(!) straight from the garden.  Something light seemed in order

A plant-based version of lettuce wraps, with curly cucumber noodles.  The original recipe called for a zesty peanut sauce (I fed to my husband).  I love and used Emeril's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette, and included it here as well



ps:  You can read more about food sensitivities in  Part II  |  Part III  of the series

— — —

~ Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine | July/August 2015

Kale Wraps with Garden Veggies and Spicy Chickpeas


  • Kale Wraps
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • sea salt
  • 4 large curly kale leaves washed, patted dry and tough stems removed
  • 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 pinches each ground black pepper and chili powder, divided
  • pinch ground cumin
  • 1 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 ⅓ cups shredded purple cabbage
  • ¼ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh alfalfa sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • Zesty Peanut Sauce
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp tamari sauce
  • 2 tsp lime juice (fresh is best)
  • 1 ½ tsp honey (or liquid sweetener of choice)
  • pinch ground ginger

  • Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil


  • Kale Wraps
  • Slice ends off cucumbers.
  • Working one at a time, secure cucumber in a spiral slicer and turn the crank to create noodles. Place noodles in a colander over a bowl; sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and let sit for 10 minutes to drain liquid.
  • On a flat surface, lay each kale leaf flat.
  • In a medium bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork and season with a pinch each salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cumin.
  • Divide the chickpea mixture among kale leaves and spread in an even layer to within 1 inch of edges.
  • Over chickpea mix, layer cucumber noodles, bell pepper, cabbage, tomatoes, sprouts, and cilantro.

  • Zesty Peanut Sauce
  • To a mini food processor or blender, add garlic, peanut butter, tamari, lime juice, honey, ground ginger, and remaining pinch each black pepper and chili powder.
  • Add 1 tbsp water; process until smooth.
  • Add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, and process until sauce reaches desired consistency.

  • Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper until sugar and salt dissolve.
  • Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.)
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings.

  • Finish and Serve
  • Drizzle 1 tsp dressing over ingredients on each kale leaf.
  • Fold in sides of each kale leaf and roll up like a burrito; secure with a toothpick. Slice each wrap in half and serve with remaining dressing
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Calories 385
Total Fat 24.9g
Saturated Fat 4.4g
Carbohydrates 33g
Fiber 8.3g
Sugars 16g
Protein 13.1g
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  • Reply Vanessa July 21, 2015 at 3:50 am

    That peanut sauce sounds Amazing!! Can’t wait to try it

    • Reply sexyveggie July 23, 2015 at 1:09 am

      Thanks Vanessa!

  • Reply Alli Smith June 19, 2018 at 5:53 am

    5 stars
    I love the bright colors and the freshness of this salad. I misplaced my favorite peanut sauce recipe a few months ago and couldn’t find one I liked as well at that one. But, hey, I think I just found one – yours looks amazing.

  • Reply Candy June 19, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Using lettuce or kale for wraps is so delicious. We have even us d cabbage leaves for wraps. Fresh veggies is perfect filling

  • Reply Tasheena June 19, 2018 at 7:47 am

    5 stars
    These kale wraps look so yummy. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try this summer. The perfect light meal.

  • Reply Angie June 19, 2018 at 8:32 am

    4 stars
    It looks amazing and tasty too. Can’t wait to try this one someday.

  • Reply Amber Myers June 19, 2018 at 10:05 am

    5 stars
    I have a friend who has food sensitivity. She just has to watch what she consumes. My mom can’t have dairy or she gets sick.

    So far, I can eat what I want, but I know it can change with time. Eek!

    This looks tasty! I love spicy foods, so I’d be all about those chickpeas.

  • Reply Lisa Favre June 19, 2018 at 10:56 am

    5 stars
    I actually get really bad reactions to avocados – but they’re so tasty that I try to go through with it even though I sometimes get terrible stomach pains from them. I can’t resist a good avocado!

  • Reply Jeanette June 19, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Oh my gosh is that look absolutely gorgeous! I have a lot of food sensitivities one of them is eating raw fruits and vegetables. I am able to eat them but not often. When I do I cannot wait to make this! This looks absolutely outstanding

  • Reply Pam Wattenbarger June 19, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    I think it is really interesting to consider that some foods may not be the best for different individuals. These kale wraps look really tasty.

  • Reply Chubskulit Rose June 19, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Kale are such beautiful veggies and very healthy too. I have grown them one year and I got so many. I fell in love with it but I have never made it this way.

  • Reply Bonnie G June 19, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Its scary to think that certain foods can cause problems for others. This recipe looks very healthy.

  • Reply Gemille Sleweon June 19, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    5 stars
    I’m allergic to mushrooms and developed the allergy while in college. I never really ate mushrooms before because I didn’t care too much for them, but now when i eat them my mouth gets dry and itchy and little bumps start to form. I’m vegan, so i have to be careful because a lot of vegan dishes have mushrooms because of the meaty texture.

  • Reply Pearl June 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Hi there, this is not related to your pretty kale wraps, but related instead to me and you.
    I’ve just stopped by your site and wanted to let you know I linked to your site in my recent post. I referred to you as my inspiration on the photograph category as I am writing posts about photography, digital photography, and food photography.

  • Reply Brandy June 20, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Oh Yum, I love kale spinach, any leafy green veggie really. This look pretty outstanding. I marvel at your creativity when it comes to food. I just love it. 🙂

  • Reply Maddy June 20, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    5 stars
    No matter how much I coax kale into looking and tasting good, my husband just averts his eyes and grabs a roll or three. I, on the other hand cannot wait to try this divine-looking salad. Another hit, Deb!

  • Reply Anosa Malanga June 20, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    This lettuce wraps makes me drool while browsing the the pictures and reading your post. I guess also having some allergies are normal to many, glad I don’t have any. I will try to make some like this and looks for the the recipe. Great way to detox for a weekend or so.

  • Reply Caroline August 31, 2018 at 1:20 am

    I’ve recently gotten into smoothies and juices to up my leafy green intake – I’m a fan of kale, chard, and the rest, but honestly, if you balance the veggies out with some good fruits, you can’t even taste ’em. My most recent mix is banana, red chard, carrots, strawberries, blackberries, and apple + ginger juice. Seriously amazing and great for you!

  • Reply Dina October 18, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    5 stars
    My husband and I adore kale. I’m so pathetically in love with it, our sister-in-law gifted him a t-shirt from Whole Foods that reads “kale” on the front and most days that shirt turns me on like no other in the closet!
    xo dina

  • Reply Molly May 8, 2019 at 11:58 am

    I’m sure it comes as no surprise that Kale is all the rage here in Oregon. Let’s be honest. By itself, it’s terrible. But mixed in with other things? Yum!

    I usually blend kale into some kind of smoothie (my current favorite is kale, strawberry, and beet).

    Thanks for the recipe!

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