This is one of my favorite healthy vegan meals. These Swiss Chard Rollups are out of this world and a delicious way to get your dark leafy greens.
One of my favorite moments in life is when I create a new dish that is not only nutritious, but also rich-tasting and delectably delicious.
So it was downright beautiful when Jeff and I sat down to enjoy these Rollups. They're very easy to create, with just a few simple steps that anyone can do. You'll be so impressed with your masterpiece, that you'll likely want to scarf it down, but try to savor each and every bite. ;)
So how did this creation come into being?
One of the ways to decide what to whip up at mealtime is to take a quick stock of the main ingredients you have on hand. This can mean beans, grains, veggies, pasta, etc.
Next, what do you feel like eating? Is your body telling you to eat something very simple and light? Or do you feel the need for something a little heavier and grounding? Your body truly will tell you what it needs!
On this particular day, I really felt the need for something highly nutritious. But I was also craving something a little sinful tasting. But "sinful tasting" doesn't necessarily mean sinful. It just tastes that way. ;O)
Upon opening the fridge, I discovered a beautiful bunch of Swiss chard But rather than just serve my chard as a side dish, I wanted to do something different with the leaves. My desire was to bring them front and center, the stars of the show. And one of the best ways to do this is to use them as handy dandy little packages that can hold any filling you desire.
With that decided, I had to figure out what to fill these little chard packages with. A grain was the first thing that came to mind. And I chose quinoa, which is not only packed with protein, but has a delicate flavor that would work well with the delicate nature of the Swiss chard.
Of course, since I'm such a sauce freakazoid, a sauce would definitely be poured over the top to elevate this dish to gourmet status. Your main goal when making a sauce should always be to focus on using healthy ingredients. When you can learn to create sauces that are not only delectably sinful tasting but nutritious too, then you'll have a sauce that you can enjoy with abandon.
By the way, you can use any green and any grain you'd like in this dish. There are no rules here.
Swiss Chard Rollups
2 cups quinoa
3 3/4 cups veggie broth (or water)
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
8 Swiss chard leaves
1/2 cup marinara
For the sauce:
2 large handfuls cashews
1/4 cup water
1-2 Tablespoons Tamari
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon miso
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon tahini
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grated non-dairy cheese* (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups unrinsed quinoa and stir often until the quinoa is toasted. (There's no need to rinse your quinoa, as you normally would, because the heat of the dry pan will remove the natural bitter coating of the quinoa.)
3. Add veggie broth (or water), onion and garlic, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer quinoa, covered, for 10-12 minutes, or until quinoa is al dente (softened, but with a bite) and the quinoa filaments are visible. If you need to, add more veggie broth until thoroughly cooked. If your quinoa is cooked to perfection and extra liquid remains, simply pour off. Remove from heat.
4. Using a spatula, divide quinoa into sections equal to the number of Swiss chard leaves you have -- there's nothing worse than getting to the last leaf and having nothing to fill it with.
5. While your quinoa cooks, wash your chard leaves and cut off the stem at the bottom of each leaf. Make your sauce by adding all sauce ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth and creamy. Adjust flavors to delight your tastebuds.
6. Create a work space with a rectangular glass baking dish, one large plate, and your pile of Swiss chard leaves.
7. Spread marinara over the bottom of the dish. Using a large spoon, scoop out a section of quinoa filling and carefully place in a Swiss chard leaf. Starting with the end closest to you, begin to roll the leaf from end to end. (Yes, the red vein should remain -- it adds a lovely crunch to the dish.) Transfer to baking dish. (Some filling may fall out during the transfer; just stuff it back in.) Repeat for each leaf.
8. Pour the sauce over your rollups. (If the sauce has thickened up, feel free to add a little water to the blender and mix well before pouring.)
9. Top with grated non-dairy cheese, if you'd like such as Daiya or Follow Your Heart brands.
10. Place dish in oven, and cook uncovered until sauce is bubbly, cheese has melted and filling is hot, approximately 20 minutes.
And there you have it. Sinful-tasting, yet one of the healthiest vegan meals made of a healthy grain, the all-important green leafy veggies, and a sauce made with healthy fats. I served our rollups with lightly toasted crusty bread and 1/2 an avocado. Enjoy!
Note: An asterisk (*) denotes a "fun food" and should be used sparingly. Not recommended as part of a healthy everyday vegan diet.