I was never really a fan of cabbage rolls. Boiled cabbage stuffed with a ground meat and rice mixture covered in a sweet tomato sauce…this was just never really my thing. The cabbage was too soft (and a little bit too smelly!), the sauce was always too sweet, and the filling a little too greasy and heavy for my liking. If you like these traditional cabbage rolls, then my apologies. But I do love making and eating stuffed vegetables so I figured there must be a way that I could transform these green meat pockets into something oh so appealing. I found my inspiration on a rainy afternoon, watching Giada make stuffed swiss chard rolls…I like goat cheese, I like lentils, I like swiss chard…and my updated take on the traditional cabbage roll was born.
To make these more of a “hearty” meal for Adam and I, I added some vegetarian ground round to the filling…my substitute for the usual ground beef mixture. I also may have added just a tad more cheese…I figured anything stuffed with goat cheese and covered in parmesan couldn’t be a bad thing. And right I was! If you think you don’t like your grandmothers cabbage rolls, give these a try! Side note: some times the most delicious food is the least eye appealing…these swiss chard rolls may not photograph well, but do not be turned off! Have I ever steered you wrong??
Lentil, Goat Cheese, and Soy Stuffed Swiss Chard Rolls (Adapted from this recipe)
1 head swiss chard (you want about 10-12 leaves)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 package veggie ground round (I used Yves)
1 cup goat cheese, at room temperature (it should be soft)
1 cup cooked brown lentils
1/2 cup chopped mint
1 cup baby arugula leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce or homemade sauce
3/4 cup grated parmesan
Remove the thick stems from the swiss chard and cut in half lengthwise if very large. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add chard leaves and boil for about 10 seconds (you just want to soften them so they are easy to roll). Rinse under cold water and pat dry. They are a little delicate so just be very gentle with this step.
Mix together the brown rice, ground round, lentils, goat cheese, mint, arugula, garlic, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon about 1/3 cup of filling in each swiss chard leaf and roll up like you would a burrito. Spoon about 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish and layer the swiss chard bundles on top. I had extra filling leftover so I just baked it along the side but you could eat it just as is (it is very very good!)
Spoon the rest of the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbly and hot.