Monday, February 4, 2013

Vegan Swiss Chard Dolmas with Garlicky Pesto Quinoa

Greek food has a special place in my heart, mainly because every time my mom took me on a mother-daughter outing (and these were few and far-between due to the three brothers in the mix) we would end up eating lunch somewhere she could have a gyro. Being young and culinarily inexperienced, I would always order a cheeseburger from the "American" section of the menu, but mom always let me take bites of her lunch, and I always wished I had ordered that. Aside from the gyro, possibly the most perfect non-sandwich sandwich on the face of the earth, I am grateful to the Greeks for dolmas. Man those things are good!

Yesterday before dashing out the door to a Super Bowl party laden with snacks that I couldn't eat (baked brie, chips, crackers, cookies, etc.) I decided to make something different. I had a hankering for dolmas, none of the necessary ingredients in the fridge, and not much time. I made do.

These could only loosely be called dolmas. They are more of a little bite-sized burrito or something, but whatever the heck they are, they are yummy. This recipe is really quite versatile - you could put anything you want into your quinoa filling depending on what you have on hand and what you are in the mood for. The chard I used is from my garden and was pretty small and tender - larger leaves would have to be cut smaller. Another idea would be to blanch your chard leaves before rolling the quinoa in them - this would be more dolmas-like, and I have done this before. It takes more time and can be a bit of a soggy operation, but still tastes good. I hope you enjoy these!


1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup finely grated green cabbage
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 - 1/2 C vegan pesto (recipe below)
salt & pepper to taste
12-15 small swiss chard leaves, tough rib removed

1.) Prepare quinoa according to package directions, the put in fridge to chill. Stir cabbage and diced onion into quinoa, then add pesto. How much pesto you use is up to you - I used closer to 1/2 cup, which made for a very garlicky, pesto-ish (is that a word?) flavor, which I love. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2.) Put a dollop of quinoa stuffing in the middle of a swiss chard leaf, then roll it up like a burrito. Use a toothpick to pin the whole thing shut.

3.) Enjoy!


2 Cups packed basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup high quality olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor and bland till smooth.

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