As an Israeli, you get to experience lots of different food types from all kinds of ethnic groups. Being a daughter of Moroccan mom and Polish dad, the variety of foods I’ve tasted are endless. But one thing I’ve learned, no matter where you’re from, in all ethnic groups, there is one signature dish of stuffed vegetables. This vegan stuffed chard recipe is Middle Eastern-style and it full of traditional flavors.
Stuffed vine leaves are a very popular dish in Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisine. One thing is for sure, a flavorsome stuffing of just the right amount of rice and herbs makes for a great recipe.
Use this vegan stuffed chard recipe for other vegetables
There are many ways to stuff vegetables. Some people add meat and others use lentils. The most popular vegetables for stuffing are red peppers, squashes, zucchini, onions, beets, vine leaves, eggplant, tomatoes, and more.
You can use this rice mixture from this recipe to stuff different kinds of vegetables too!
For more amazing vegan stuff vegetable recipes:
This recipe has two major ingredients: chard and seasoned rice.
Chard is considered to be a superfood. It’s packed with minerals, vitamins, and fiber. This recipe is healthy and tasty. For more health benefits, we’re going to stuff the chard with seasoned rice in a lemon marinade.
How to season the rice to stuff the chard
We recommend using basmati rice, but you can use whole rice as well.
Wash the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes, celery, parsley, onion, and green onion until nicely chopped. Add the mixture to the rice with 1 tablespoon of salt and one tbsp of Baharat.
Baharat is a spice blend used in the Middle East. Baharat means “spices” in Arabic. In the mixture, you can find:
- Black pepper
- Coriander seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Cardamom pods
How to roll the chard – All the tips and tricks
- Boil the leaves -boil the chard leaves in hot salted water for 1 minute. This will soften them up and allow for easier rolling. Gently rinse the leaves with cold water and place aside to dry.
- Cut the chard stems off -chop the stems and set them aside.
- Add the rice – put a scoop of the rice mixture near the thick end of the chard leaf and start to roll.
- Fold in the edges – before you roll the chard around the rice mixture from the thick part to the narrow part, be sure to fold in the edges to tuck the rice in.
After filling all the leaves, place them in a wide saucepan, and squeeze another lemon for a bit more flavor. Sprinkle sea salt and pour the water until it covers the stuffed chard about 1 centimeter. Place the lid on the pan. Now, it’s the hardest part—we need to wait.
More healthy vegan recipes that we absolutely love:
Vegan Stuffed Chard Recipe, Middle-Eastern Style
- 1 pack chard leaves
- 2½ cups basmati rice
- 2 lemons, squeezed
- 1 red onion
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 pack fresh parsley
- 4 scallions or green onions
- 2 tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Baharat
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Fill another bowl with ice-cold water.
- Trim off the tough, stalky base of each chard leaf.
- Add the chard to gently simmering water and cook until tenderized. Chard generally takes about 40 seconds. Remove the leaves from the pot, and transfer to the cold water. Remove, strain and lay flat on a plate. Blanch all your leaves until you have a plate with chard layered out on top of each other. (Or blanch vine leaves for 5 minutes, rinse in cold water.) Set aside.
- In a blender, blend the tomatoes with all the herbs and onion until its nicely chopped. Add to the rice, along with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Mix well.
- Lay a chard leaf on your work surface. Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold each side, then roll tightly.
- Place the stuffed chard seam-side down and arrange each one that you make - snuggly but not overly tight, next to each other in a wide saucepan.
- Sprinkle sea salt and squeeze one more lemon.
- Add water until it covers the stuffed chard about 1 cm. Bring to a boil and cover the pan. Cook at a low temperature for 1 hour or until the rice is soft.
- If you are using whole rice, the cooking time will be longer. Make sure that there is always water in the pan to prevent burning.