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Vegan Stuffed Swiss Chard & Wine Leaves (Or Cabbage Leaves)

2020-08-22

This is a very nice vegan/vegetarian dish, perfect as a starter or a main dish. Usually this version is part of the Lebanese mezze and is eaten at room temperature.

If you are using Swiss chard: wash the leaves, remove their stalks then blanch them by plunging them into a pot of boiling water, for approximately 2 minutes. Drain and cool the leaves before stuffing.

Do the same operation if you are using fresh wine leaves.

If using cabbage leaves, blanch them for 4 or 5 minutes.

If you are using brined wine leaves (bought in jars from Middle Eastern groceries), just rinse them before stuffing.

I would like to add that the vegan stuffing looks like a tabbouleh made with rice instead of bulgur!

Ingredients

  • About 20 or 25 chard and/or wine leaves
  • More or less 1/2 cup of short-grain white rice, soaked in water beforehand then drained
  • 3 large and ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 large bouquet of flat parsley, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions + 1 normal onion, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or more, depending on your taste)
  • 1 tsp of each : allspice & black pepper
  • 1 or 2 potatoes and one large tomato roundly sliced
  • 3 or 4 tbsp of olive oil (generous quantity) + an extra drizzle for the end
  • salt, to taste - a pinch of chili powder (optional)
  • NB: if your tomatoes are not ripe, add 1 flat tbsp of tomato paste
  • NB: if chard leaves are too big, cut them in two.

Method

Step 1

Start by preparing the stuffing by combining, in a bowl, all the ingredients (except the leaves) and seasoning them to your taste. You should obtain a good balance between saltiness, acidity and spiciness.

Step 2

The next step is to flatten each leaf, shiny side down, on a board, and place 2 or 3 tsp of filling (without the sauce) on the upper side of the leaf. Roll once tightly (to keep the stuffing in) then fold both sides and continue to roll down to the end (cigar style). N.B. Remember that rice, when cooked, doubles or triples in volume.

Step 3

When all the leaves have been filled, place them, in rows, in a pot over the slices of potatoes and tomatoes (placed beforehand). Strain the sauce, left from the stuffing, over the rolled leaves and add a drizzle of olive oil. Place a plate (upside down) on top, to weigh the leaves down and keep them folded. The sauce should just cover the leaves. If it does not, add some water. Cook over low heat for approximately 1 hour or until most liquid has evaporated.

Step 4

Serve cold or at room temperature.

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