Stuffed Baby Chard Leaves

photoI am that girl who puts thought into a dish before making it. I plan. I sometimes even research. It drives my husband crazy (just a little) but it’s all in the name of healthy, tasty, meals. So when I peeked into the fridge last night and noticed big bunches of fresh local kale and baby chard, my mind was racing. I didn’t just want to throw together a salad, I wanted something more rich and indulgent. Then… this dish came together pretty quickly. And it was delicious.

Right now you can find a colorful assortment of chard leaves at your local farmers market or online at my Farmigo shop. My baby chard leaves happened to be not-so-baby (they were actually pretty big and lush) but you can alternatively use anything pliable and somewhat sturdy, including collards or cabbage leaves.

You need:

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (if vegan, skip and use the entire block of tofu)
  • 1/2 block crumbled firm tofu
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped super fine
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp ume plum vinegar (or more lemon juice + pinch salt)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups finely chopped raw kale
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (we use the one on our Farmigo website)
  • sea salt + black pepper to taste
  • 12 baby chard leaves
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • grated parmesan or romano (optional)

How to:
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta (if using) and the crumbled tofu. {We happen to love Maplebrook’s ricotta, made from rBGH-free milk, and free of preservatives, this cheese is hand-dipped and hand packed; buy it here.} Add the lemon juice and ume vinegar (if using) and stir. Add the oregano, garlic, kale, basil, some pinches of salt and pepper and mix together well. Taste.

Prepare a baking dish with an even layer of tomato sauce covering the bottom. Rinse and dry the baby chard leaves before using and trim the tough stems off. Scoop a very generous tablespoon of filling onto each leaf. Gently tuck in the sides and roll them, then place seam side down in the baking dish. Top with a scoop of tomato sauce and drizzle of olive oil. Grated cheese is optional at this point! Bake 25 minutes. These would also make a great appetizer.

Tasteful Tips: Chard- can we say ‘super-food’? It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C and is a very good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin E, dietary fiber and calcium. And it happens to be very low in calories, sweet!

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