Swiss Chard ‘Cabbage Rolls’
When I was a kid, I thought that everyone ate cabbage rolls. It was just a normal part of my existence with a Hungarian/Czechoslovakian grandmother.
When I think of cabbage rolls, I think of her….in the kitchen, cooking. That’s what she did and she was good at it.
When I got older, I realized that not everyone had a grandmother that made these delicious cabbage wrapped meat goodies and it made me feel just a little bit sad for all those who hadn’t had the delicious joy of the cabbage roll experience.
In my adult life, I still love cabbage rolls and with beautiful swiss chard showing up regularly in my weekly CSA (Community Shared Agriculture), I decided to experiment with a swiss chard version of the traditional, grandmother inspired, cabbage rolls of my youth.
Hence, this summer recipe for these Swiss Chard ‘Cabbage Rolls’.
I’ve included a lot of pictures in this post so you can see my process which will make it easier when you make them in your kitchen.
Start with fresh, organic, beautiful swiss chard:
as well as lots of lovely, local, organic ingredients
You could use ground pork or ground beef. I used pork.
Soak the swiss chard leaves in hot water for approximately 15-20 minutes. This will soften them up and allow for easier rolling.
Trim the veins of the swiss chard to make for easier rolling.
Put a scoop of the meat and rice mixture near the thick end of the swiss chard leaf and get ready to roll.
The rolling technique takes a little practice, but after a couple of rolls you should have the hang of it. Fold in the edges as you roll the swiss chard around the meat mixture.
Keep rolling until you have used up your swiss chard leaves. Don’t worry if there is leftover meat mixture. You will sprinkle it on top before you bake.
Spread the remaining meat mixture over the rolls and then smother with an organic tomato sauce.
Put it in the oven and bake covered with foil for 45 min at 375. Then remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 15-30 minutes until it’s bubbly the edges are a bit crisp.
Serve and enjoy!!
Swiss Chard 'Cabbage Rolls'
- 8-10 swiss chard leaves
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooked rice I used basmati
- 1 pound of pastured pork or grass fed beef
- 4 garlic scapes or 2 cloves of garlic diced
- I medium red onion diced
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 1 Tsp paprika
- 1 Tsp oregano
- 1 Tsp sea salt
- 1 Tsp chili powder
- 1/2 Tsp basil
- 3 Cups organic tomato sauce
- Soak swiss chard leaves in hot water for 15-20 minutes
- Cook the rice
- Saute the garlic scapes (or garlic), onion, and carrots in the coconut oil in a frying pan
- Add the cooked rice, all the spices and the sauted vegetable mixture to the meat in a bowl and mix together.
- Add the egg to this meat mixture and mix some more until well blended
- Place a scoop of the meat mixture on the wide edge of a swiss chard leaf and roll it up
- Continue rolling until you use all your swiss chard leaves
- Spread any remaining meat mixture over the top of your rolls and cover with tomato sauce.
- Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for a further 15-30 minutes until it is bubbly and the edges are a bit crisp.
- Serve and Enjoy!
Until next time,
With a Polish mother (2nd generation in Canada) I grew up with cabbage rolls on all of the major holidays – Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving – they were as much part of the meal as the turkey and all the other stuff. I haven’t made them in years so thank you or reminding me of them. The swiss chard is a cool idea and one that I will try.
I’ve just started growing my first Swiss chard plant! Thanks for this great idea recipe. I was thinking of making chard sausage rolls. By adding beef or pork sausage with slice carrot and onion in the roll. Thanks for sharing.
That sounds amazing! Enjoy 🙂
OMG. This is so good. I put a bit of saurkraut in with the sauce just to give it more balance.
Great idea to add the kraut!! I’m sure that would be delish!!
Do these heat up well for leftovers? Could this made ahead the night before and baked the next day?
I have made them the night before and I just wait until right before I put them in the oven to pour on the sauce so they don’t get soggy.
They have heated up well for leftovers for me too!
Made these tonight except I was concerned about the spices so I cut them in half. Just delicious and next time I will follow the directions as written. Excellent recipe!
Thanks for commenting on your experience with this recipe Maryjane! I think they are delicious too!
Are you adding the rice and spices to raw hamburger then mixing in the egg.
Yes! I cooked the rice and added the cooked rice and spices to raw pork (or hamburger), rolled it up and then cooked it after that. I hope this helps!
I bought a side of pastured pork last summer and I was looking out at all this beautiful chard in my garden. I grow a lot of tomatoes and always have sauce on hand. I hadn’t had cabbage rolls for decades and I loved the ones my mom used to make. I thought, I bet those would make really good cabbage rolls and I was thinking someone must have had that idea. Google it. I made and froze sufficient to last me most of the winter and my chard is ready again! Thanks for a great recipe!
Sounds great Jim! Enjoy!
So delicious. I used chard from my garden and ground pork. Comfort food 101. Dredged focaccia bread through the sauce left on plate. Thanks for the recipe.
That sounds great! So glad you enjoyed it!
The spices were perfect in this recipe! I used yellow onions with no red onion or carrots, and passata instead of tomato sauce. Wow, this is soooo good! I ate too much and had to make an effort to not eat way too much! Comfort food at its best. Thanks so much for this!
I’m glad to hear you liked it! I love it too 🙂
Hi Dr. Peggy!
I would really like to try your chard roll recipe omitting the meat.
Do you have any tips to pass on?
My first thought would be to sub out the meat for chick peas or some other beans or maybe sweet potatoes. You could experiment! Let me know if you try one of them and how it turns out!!
I had never tried Swiss Chard before. Planted it & wondered what I could make with it.
Then I researched Swiss Chard rolls not cabbage rolls. I always find cabbage to be strong & harder to work with.
I was so thrilled to make these rolls with Swiss Chard & so easy.
Very tasty too. My son says he could have them everyday.
I’m so glad that you like it and your son does too! It’s kind of sneaky good 🙂
I see the photos but no actual recipe (ingredient/amounts)
The post is fixed so you should be able to see it now!
I hope you enjoy it!
I went to Google and typed in “ground pork and Swiss chard recipes” and was led to yours. When I saw it also called for garlic scapes I was so excited because we have both chard and scapes in the garden right now. I followed the recipe and OH MY GOODNESS it is SO delicious! My husband said that I can make this anytime!! This is a grand slam recipe. Thank you so much. I am now a follower. 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed!!
We love love the Swiss Chard Rolls. I had never planted Swiss chard till two years ago. When we had such an amazing crop, I knew I needed to do lots with this yummy vegetable. This recipe came up & there has been no turning back to a cabbage roll…
It is so tasty, my family can’t get enough.
Thank you for creating an awesome meal.
It really is delicious! I’m so glad that your family is enjoying it 🙂
This recipe sounds so good and I have a lot of Swiss chard. Can you tell me if I can prep the rolls and then freeze them uncooked? I would like to freeze them in batches and then just add the sauce just before baking.
I don’t see why not!
I’ve done it where I added the sauce and then froze all of it uncooked but I’m sure either way would be fine.
And I didn’t even follow the recipe to the letter!
First of all, I’m trying to eat plant-based if not vegan as much as possible, so I used Impossible “beef”. The package only weighed 12 oz, so I made up the other 4oz with small chopped baby bellas, sauteed with the rest of the veg.
Next, I didn’t have oregano, nor chili powder.
I doubled up on the basil, and threw in a few splashes of mild hot sauce instead.
I used crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, and added a bit of black pepper.
I was afraid this was going to be bland, even with all of that. But I trusted my instincts, and the process, and it was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. Certainly since I’ve started eating healthier.
Thank you so much!
Decadent, but totally guilt-free!
I’m so glad you tried this with your own tweaks and it turned out great!