This is a take on the classic Greek dolmade. Fresh grape leaves can be rather difficult to find in the UK so as an alternative, we replace them with delicious and nutritious chard leaves. Chard's robust leaves work well as wrappers. There is a myriad of stuffing mixtures you can use but we prefer to keep it simple and just use brown rice and lots of herbs. The fresh herbs and lemon zest perk up the mixture and we sometimes add crumbled feta to deepen the flavour.
Season: July to November
Time: 40 minutes
8 large rainbow chard
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown rice, cooked
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
handful of sunflower seeds, roughly chopped
1 cup organic feta, crumbled (optional)
zest of 1 lemon
¼ tsp chilli flakes (to taste)
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice
tzatziki or greek yoghurt seasoned with lemon juice
Blanch the chard leaves in boiling water and for 15 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain and cut away the stems at the base.
Set aside the leaves and finely dice the stems.
Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium-low heat and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes Add the diced chard stems and and continue to cook until the stems are tender. Stir in the garlic, cooked rice, lemon zest and chilli flakes. Gently combine all the ingredients and keep stirring until the rice is warm. Remove from heat.
Stir in the herbs, sunflower seeds and feta. Season with salt and pepper.
To roll the dolmades - lay a chard leaf with the inside facing up and place 1 - 2 tablespoons of the filling on the leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf up and around the filling and tuck it in. Continue until you have stuffed all the leaves.
We prefer our rainbow chard dolmades to have a slight crunch but if you prefer the leaves to be a little softer, you can steam in batches (seam side down). Place in a large steamer basket over a large pot of boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes.
Transfer to plate and serve with a slice of lemon and tzatziki or greek yoghurt seasoned with lemon juice.