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Pandemic Gourmet: Magic with Greens

“We have nothing to eat,” I say.

“Oh no, not this again,” my daughter Joanna replies. “Just go sit down.”

A half hour later, she’s done it again: a magical dish appears.

I wish I could tell you that the chard she used came straight from our Victory Garden. Alas, our chard isn’t yet big enough for rolling anything more than a grain of millet. Patience, Janice.

Joanna used chard because that’s what we had. Cabbage, of course, would be perfect. Or lacatino (non-curly) kale. Or collard greens. They’re all fabulously healthy and rollable. You get the point.

Oh, one more thing: the “rollatini” part of the name of the recipe is something I threw in just to make it sound fancy. “Rollatini” is a term usually applied to eggplant or chicken or something that’s stuffed with cheese and whatnot and then rolled up and baked. But since rollatini isn’t even an Italian word, I feel entitled to take liberties.

Swiss Chard Rollatini

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup currants (or raisins if you’re desperate)
  • 1 cup millet (or brown rice, but then increase the amount of water and cooking time)
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 3 cups water
  • zest & juice of one lime (or lemon, if that’s what you have on hand)
  • 3 Tbsp finely-chopped fresh mint

Preparation

  1. In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts until they’re fragrant and light brown. Add the olive oil, onions, and salt.
  2. Cook until the onions soften and caramelize a little, and then add the millet, currants, and water.
  3. Cook, covered, 20-25 min until the water is absorbed.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. While the millet mixture is cooking, cut off the stalks of the chard, dice, and add to the millet (so that there’s more nutritious crunch).
  6. Microwave the chard leaves for a minute or so to soften them.
  7. When the millet mixture is done cooking, stir in the lime juice, zest, and mint.
  8. Spoon about 3 Tbsp or so (depending on the size of the chard leaf) of the cooked millet mixture onto each chard leaf and roll up like a burrito (tuck in the sides), and place each roll seam side down in an 8×8 baking dish (see note).
  9. Add 1 Tbsp water, cover with aluminum foil, and bake 15 minutes.

Note: If you have kids, I think this rolling-up part would be fun for them. And since children are much more likely to eat food they’ve helped prepare, this might be a great way to get them to try a green vegetable they otherwise might approach with a less than enthusiastic attitude.