These vegan rice, tomato and herb stuffed swiss chard rolls make for a delicious, nutritious, and healthy vegan dinner or side dish. Plus, they can easily be customised and made gluten-free adding your own favourite grain and veggies to the filling.
Soak the rice in hot water for 30 minutes. Then drain it.
Finely chop the tomato, red chilli, parsley, mint and spring onion.
In a large bowl, mix the rice with the chopped ingredients. Add the spices and stir well.
The next step is optional - depending on the chard freshness and how easy they are to roll (without breaking), you can blanch the leaves. When the leaves are younger, they are a bit softer, so easier to roll. However, we will still be cooking them later on- so this isn't necessary if they roll fine.
If you decide to blanch them, then add the leaves to a pot of salted boiling water. Blanch them for 1 minute then quickly rinse them under cold water (or place in a bowl with icy water). Carefully drain them and pat them dry. You can use paper towels or a tea towel to absorb as much of the water droplets as possible.
Mine didn't need blanching, so I just proceeded with the next step.
Lay each leaf on a flat surface. Cut off the stems and keep them.
Add a bit of the rice mixture on the centre of the leave. Depending on the size of the leaves, add 1-2 tBsp. Adjust as needed depending on the size of the leaf.
Bring the top of the leaf down then one of the sides of the leaf over the stuffing, then the other and fold around the filling, creating a roll/ parcel of stuffed chard leaf. You can see exactly how I do this in the recipe video.
In a saucepan, either add the chard stems to the bottom or a sliced potato. The point is to raise the stuffed chard leaves, so they're not directly on the bottom of the pot. These vegetables will also be edible, and chard stems are actually really nutritious.
Lay the stuffed chard parcels over the layer of chard stems/potato. Layer the parcels in the pot as high as needed.
Lay something (like a bowl, a plate or jar - see the video) on top of them to weight them down. This will prevent the leaves from opening while boiling and also helping them to steam more.
Cover with water, making sure the stuffed leaves are fully covered.
Bring to boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove the cover/weight halfway and lower the heat to low/medium and simmer.
Once ready, you can serve the stuffed swiss chard rolls along with some lemon juice, with some homemade pita bread or as part of a more substantial meal. They make for a great vegan dinner party dish or even part of a vegan thanksgiving spread.
Feel free to experiment with the fillings. For a gluten-free option, you could use quinoa instead. You can also experiment with adding different vegetables to the rice filling too.