Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls

The Phoenix Mountain Preserve is a great place to hike. The designated areas are right in the middle of town, usually involving some kind of small mountainous area. It's here we hike most days in the cooler weather. Here is also where I work through my thoughts and plans for the day.

I've been thinking a lot about seasonal cooking. How not just the seasons make it so but the climate as well. Right now in Phoenix it's a good time for Farmer's markets. The bins are filled with squash and all kinds of leafy greens. Wednesday I picked up some chard which I usually use as a side dish. Then I found this recipe from "Giada De Laurentiis" of the Food Network. I substituted spinach for arugula because that is what I had on hand and used only half of the mint noted and it turned out delicious. A great balance of flavors!


1 bunch swiss chard
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
1 packed cup baby spinach, chopped
1 cup goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 26-ounce jar marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

Remove the thick stem from the center of each chard leaf. Cut each leaf in half lengthwise. Each half leaf should be approx 7 inches long and 5 inches wide.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add chard leaves and let cook about 10 seconds. Remove and rinse with cold water. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

For the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the brown rice, spinach, goat cheese, lentils, mint, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and garlic. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Spoon 1/3 of the filling onto the end of each chard leaf and roll up, almost like a grape-leaf.

Spoon 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange the rolls, seam side down, in a single layer on top of sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cheese begins to brown and rolls are heated through, about 25 minutes.Cool for 5 minutes and then serve.


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