CSA: Merrimack Valley – Swiss Chard Baby Rolls

Welcome to CSA: Merrimack Valley, where area chefs offer recipes that will help you make the most of your CSA farm share. We’ll introduce you to some of the less common items in your basket and hope that you’ll be inspired to eat fresh, healthy and local.

Maria Natera shares her recipe for Swiss chard baby rolls. Natera is the healthy living programs manager at Groundwork Lawrence, a nonprofit organization that promotes urban environmental and social well-being. ( Editor’s note: The article was originally published in the May/June ’18 issue of MVM. ) She teaches cooking classes on how to eat healthy on a budget and manages three summer farmers markets and one winter market.               

At Groundwork Lawrence, Chef Maria Natera teaches healthy living workshops and strives to strengthen the growing community gardener network. She is also a volunteer at Lawrence CommunityWorks and serves on its board. Her Swiss chard recipe is colorful, kid-friendly and great to make when you’re tired of the same old salads. Photos by Adrien Bisson.

Swiss Chard Baby Rolls
Servings: 8 to 10

2 bunches Swiss chard, stems trimmed
4 differently colored peppers (green, red, yellow and orange), julienned
2 carrots, julienned 1 small zucchini, julienned
1 small summer squash, julienned 1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped 1 cup scallions, chopped
1 white onion, diced 2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons butter 3 cups cream
2 cups Romano cheese 2 cups Parmesan cheese
4 cups mozzarella cheese
2 cups rice, or preferred grain, cooked

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a pan heated to medium-high, add the oil and half of the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the peppers, zucchini and squash.

3. Mix cilantro, scallions and spinach with the rice or grain of preference. Fold in the cooked vegetables.

4. Fill a cooking pot with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and soak the Swiss chard in the hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. This will soften the leaves and make them easier to roll. 

5. Put a scoop of the vegetable and rice mixture into each Swiss chard leaf and roll them up. Fold in the edges and place the rolls into a baking or casserole dish. Set aside.

6. In a hot skillet, add butter, onion and the remaining minced garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the cream, Romano and Parmesan cheese and stir. When the sauce is thick, it is ready. Top the Swiss chard rolls with the sauce and leftover cheese.

7. Cook at 375 F for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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