ITALIAN STUFFED SWISS CHARD

We have diligently been trying to eat a Vegetarian dinner in this household at least twice a week.  For me personally, I would never give up meat.  However, it does feel good to cut back a few times a week.  When it comes to eating Vegetarian - it needs to be hearty!  Plus, I am very aware with Vegetarian food it is vital to have a good protein blend in your dish.
Perhaps it is just me, but I find most Vegetarian meals are more time consuming to prepare than your standard meat/potato/vegetable dishes.  (except for Italian pasta dishes)  This yummy dish was no exception.  There were 5 easy steps to creating this Italian Stuffed Swiss Chard - made in the morning and refrigerated, to be heated up later for dinner.  By the way, the inspiration for this dish can be found here.  This dish also tasted even better the next day for left overs.
NEXT time I make this I will increase the lentils to 1/2 cup and the rice to 3/4 cup...I love lentils and while this dish was very hearty it would lend a bit more texture if the lentils were increased. (capital letters are a note to myself when I make this dish again - which I most definitely will)
This recipe will easily make 8-10 large stuffed swiss chard leaves.
If anyone has some quick, easy and delicious vegetarian lunch or dinner recipes they would like to share.....please do.  I would be happy to try them out with a post on your recipe.  Many thanks!
1 bunch rainbow swiss chard - 8-10 stalks
1/3 cup green lentils
1 cup basmati rice (rinsed)
1  3/4 cup water or vegetable stock
1 rounded tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp.  ground fennel
1 bay leaf
1 egg beaten
Herbamare seasoning (or your own favorite blend)
salt and pepper
4-6 tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
chopped swiss chard ends
1 rounded cup diced yellow zucchini
2-3 tblsp. diced green pepper
2 tblsp. roasted ground almonds
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
big handful of chopped fresh basil
TOMATO SAUCE:
2 tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, diced
3 minced garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1 rounded tsp. basil, Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground fennel
1 Bay leaf
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes with juice
Start this recipe by making the Tomato Sauce.  Heat up a medium sauce pan on medium low heat with two tblsp. of EVOO.  Add the onions and garlic, sauteing about 4 minutes.  Add in the seasonings and can of tomatoes - breaking them up with your spoon.  Bring to a simmer, turn to low stirring occasionally.

Simmer about 20 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool 15 minutes.  Once cool, remove the bay leaf then blend in a blender or use a stick blender to puree.  Set aside.
Add the lentils to a small pot, cover with a good inch of water and bring to a boil, lid on.  Once boiling turn down and simmer about 20 minutes, until tender, drain and set aside.
Stuffing Mixture:
To a medium sauce pan, add 2 Tblsp. EVOO and heat on low medium heat.  Add in the onion, garlic, seasonings and saute about 3 minutes.  Then add in the rice and continue to saute another 3 minutes.  Add in your stock or water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low to simmer lid on about 15-20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf, toss with a fork and allow to cool.
In a large pot filled with water bring to a boil.  Cut off the stems of the swiss chard, and chop as well as chopping the zucchini and green pepper then set aside.
Once the water is boiling add in the swiss chard leaves, and blanch for 1 minute.
Remove to a clean dish cloth and pat dry.
Heat up a frying pan with a drizzle of EVOO and saute the chopped swiss chard stalks, green pepper, and season with Herbamare Seasoning.  Saute about 5 minutes, then add in the yellow zucchini continuing to saute another 2- 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and add to the rice mixture.  Then add in the ground almonds, beaten egg, and crumbled feta cheese mixing well.
To a roasting pan add a generous ladle full or two, of the tomato sauce.
Stuff each leaf generously, folding up the bottom first then the sides and roll until covered by the chard leaf.
Place the stuffed swiss chard leaves into the roasting pan, cover with tomato sauce and minced basil leaves.
Cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven until bubbling - about 30 minutes.

Ina Gawne
author

6 comments on “ITALIAN STUFFED SWISS CHARD”

    1. Me too Shirley! It did take some extra steps to prepare, but once in a while it is fun to take the extra time making something more complex. 🙂

  1. This is on my list, also to try this week. I still happen to have home grown white chard & I need to make this tasty looking recipe!
    Yum yum yummm! We do try to eat vegetarian 4x/week! 🙂

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July 23, 2015
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