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Can you tell that it was a rainy day when I was taking these photos? The lighting is a bit dark for what I was going for, but think of these burritos as that multicoloured arc lighting up the sky after a summer rain. Was that too cheesy? Yes, yes it was. I picked up this candy-coated rainbow chard at a local produce barn over the weekend and happily snacked on a leaf while driving home. I'd never tried rainbow chard before, but like its jelly bean palette, it turned out to be surprisingly sweet. Not saccharine, but pleasant. If you've ever tried to snack on raw kale, it's umm... pungent. Yes, let's stick with that. Raw kale needs a massage, some lemon or balsamic, sea salt, and a bit of marinating time to make it sing. I was pleasantly surprised that raw chard does not -welcome to Lazytown! It's irony, rich, and makes a beautiful burrito (two words that felt extremely weird typing next to each other) that can be eaten warm or cold, raw (without an overly-pungent "green" taste) or steamed. Options, options, options!    
This particular recipe was inspired by, and tastes similar to dolmades, the Greek-stuffed grape leaves, but also burritos, because those two things go together so well... I think "burrito" sounds more fun to eat and approachable to make than "dolmades," so "burritos" these shall be. Mashed chickpeas hold the works together for a non-crumbly filling and a little extra protein boost. Of course, you could substitute the chickpeas for some feta if you fancy, or keep it totally plant-based, or just go totally nuts and add a bit of both. More options, options, options! I was a bit overly enthusiastic about the pitted olives from Whole Foods that I purchased last week, and have added them in here along with my garden's fresh mint, the crunchy chard stems, onion, garlic, oregano, a couple silky glugs of olive oil, and a hit of red wine vinegar. I'm convinced that vinegar makes everything better and I won't hear otherwise.  
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The wrapping and rolling is the same as a burrito roll, except with an extra crushing step. It's all in the crush, tuck, tuck, roll, roll (sing it!). If you want an even easier time rolling, you can pre-steam the leaves, but I'm doing the Lazytown version today. To "crush," making the leaves stay flat and increase their flexibility, take the palm of your hand and apply some pressure where the stalk meets the green leaves. You're now ready to scoop out the filling and "tuck, tuck, roll, roll." 

At this point, you'll have to ask yourself the important questions in life: Do I want to eat them "raw" or cooked? Do I want them chilled or warm? It's okay, I'm here for you if you get overwhelmed, this is intense stuff. The filling is completely cooked, so it's really up to you. I've had them both ways and can't decide which I enjoy more (these tough decisions keep me up at night, I tell ya). If you want to be civilized and eat this with a fork and knife, that's okay, but it's really much more fun, and quite frankly, easier, to eat these like a burrito -pick it up and get in there, we're all friends here. Plus, we all remember when Elaine's boss, Mr. Pitt, tried to eat a chocolate bar with a knife and fork -let's not start that trend with burritos, please and thank you. 
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If you want to serve these with some plain yogurt for dipping, I would encourage that. Or, a zippy tahini dressing is equally as delectable. Something soft, creamy, and bright is really what you want to compliment all of the flavours and textures in these.  

Along with being simple, make-ahead, packable/portable, scrumptious, and not too heavy (yet filling), these also deliver the power of dark leafy greens. Swiss chard in particular is packed with iron, calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamins C, E, K, and A, potassium, and much more. Healthy burritos? Yes, please! I'll take 10.      
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Greek Rainbow Chard Burritos

Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan  

Serves 5 as a main, 10 as a side/snack/appetizer 

10 large rainbow or regular swiss chard leaves, reserved, stems finely diced (for filling)
½ cup uncooked short-grain brown rice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
Ground pepper, to taste
20 kalamata or nicoise olives, pitted and finely chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint or dill (or a combination)
2 tbsp dried currants (optional)

Plain yogurt (for nut/seed-free) or tahini dressing, for dipping

Directions:

Make the rice: In a medium saucepan, combine brown rice with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook on low for 35 to 45 minutes until tender and all the water has been absorbed. Cool.

Make the filling: In a wide high-sided sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat (don’t let smoke). Add finely chopped chard stems, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened and translucent (about 10 minutes). Take off heat, add in olives, chickpeas, and vinegar. Mash with a fork or back of a spoon until chickpeas are slightly broken down and mixture holds together. Stir in cooked rice. Cool completely. Once completely cool, add in mint or dill and currants, if using.

Make the burritos: Lay a chard leaf with the rough side facing you. Press the palm of your hand to crush the stalk slightly. At the bottom of the wrap (leave a ½-inch border on the bottom and 2 sides, scoop 1/3 cup filling; form into a log shape. Tuck in the two outside pieces and roll until you get your “burrito” shape. Place seam-side down on a plate and chill until ready to steam. Or, if you’re eating it raw, dig in now.

To steam: Place chard burritos seam-side down in a steamer basket. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes. Eat immediately warm or cool a little or chill completely (this helps them hold their shape and allows the flavours to meld). Serve with plain yogurt or tahini dressing for dipping/drizzling.

Raw chard burritos can be kept assembled in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Steamed can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 day.  

Notes:
1. They taste wonderful “raw,” without steaming, but if you do steam, I definitely prefer them steamed and then chilled over warm out of the steamer. I also think hand-held is the best way to eat a burrito.
2. If rainbow chard isn’t available, regular red or green chard will work well.
3. Look for chard with very large leaves to help accommodate the amount of filling suggested. 
 


Comments

08/18/2014 9:18am

Ha, I have tried snacking on raw kale, usually after I eat something bad and feel low, so I perk myself up with raw kale. And it's um, pungent was the right word! But I am always looking for uses for chard. Chard grows easily where I live and we always seem to have an abundance for it and sticking in a pie just seems unhealthy. (oh, maybe because it is!) But I love your burrito presentation, stunningly gorgeous. Even non-chard people would be tempted to try these. And I really like the addition of the dried currents, gives it something special as my 4-year old would say!!

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08/18/2014 10:25am

This is a great way to eat chard! And these photos are so stunning! The colors are lovely.

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08/18/2014 11:20am

These are the most vibrant burritos ever! I love the Greek spin for the stuffing! All of my favorite things rolled up in a pretty little package! Yum!

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08/18/2014 11:22am

I love how healthy and colorful these burritos are! Beautiful photos!

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08/18/2014 12:48pm

I am so amazed by these burritos, Allison! These are picture-perfect, not to mention they look delicious, too. Can you believe I've never tried a chard leaf before? Crazy, I know...but I love this recipe so I definitely have to change that!

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08/18/2014 2:17pm

Oh wow - these look fantastic! I love dolmades - we call them stuffed vine leaves over here. The flavours you have used here are awesome and your pictures are fabulous!

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08/18/2014 7:14pm

What a wonderful way to eat chard, Allison! I love how colourful this burritos are!! And about your photos I love the lighting!! To be honest these photos look so stunning!!

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08/18/2014 8:28pm

Talk about the most colorful and beautiful burritos ever! I love how fresh and delicious these look.

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08/18/2014 9:05pm

I love swiss chard! Love the splash of color that the rainbow chard adds to the rolls. Flavors sound delicious and looks so healthy. Yum!

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08/18/2014 11:05pm

These are so beautiful!!! I don't think I've ever actually eaten rainbow chard before, but every time I see it I just want to buy it so that I can take photos of it! Your photos are amazing and I can't tell at all that you took them on a rainy day. Sometimes it amazes me and makes me so happy that fruit and vegetables are so beautiful! I just posted a picture of a rainbow which just reinforces the fact that we are the same person :) Burritos are pretty much my jam these days and I love the filling that you used in these! The chickpea and olive combo is amazing and I could eat a huge bowl of just the filling! But I really want to try these with the rainbow chard leaves because I know I would love it and it just makes it look so much prettier! I'm also a lazy eater sometimes and I would most likely go with the raw leaves and the crushing method! I hope you had a great weekend, Al! xoxo!! :)

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Allison
08/19/2014 6:43am

Izzy! Thanks girl. I hadn't either, but I really loved it. I agree! Fruits and veggies are so gorgeous. Awe-inspiring and exciting (well, to me and you, at least hehe). I just saw the rainbow on your post! We share a brain, it's official -if it wasn't already! By the way... I miss you! and love you, which is worth writing in the comments. Let's meet half-way today in... Nebraska? Chicago? Is that doable ;) I don't know US geography, clearly. Sending you hugs and kisses (along with my Passport because I don't want to run into any trouble). Al xoxo!

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08/19/2014 10:20am

I've never seen rainbow chard... it's so gorgeous! And these burritos look amazing... the tzatziki sauce is so happening :)

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08/19/2014 10:45am

Allison, these are just ridiculously creative. I love that you added the mint, dill and currants. Greeks sometimes add currants (well, raisins ... ) to their stuffed veggies (along with pinenuts) which remind me of this idea a little.
Above all, though, I ADORE your photos in this post. They don't look like they were suffering from lack of light AT ALL! I just love how you've managed to bring out the rainbow effect in the chard stems!

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08/19/2014 1:32pm

Beautiful chard! I just saw some of this over the weekend and couldn't believe how beautiful the colors are. Speaking of rainy days. It seems that every time I pull my camera out the clouds roll in and the light is terrible. Drives me crazy!

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08/19/2014 2:46pm

How pretty are these?! I never see rainbow chard at our market. I need to research this! Delish!

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08/19/2014 2:47pm

Oh oh oh! This is genius! The chard holds up so well and is just gorgeous. That filling looks delicious! Chickpeas and brown rice for life :) All around, an amazing recipe Allison!

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08/19/2014 9:52pm

Mind = Blown. These burritos are every kind of amazing, Allison! I have GOT to get my hands on some swiss chard so I can make these ASAP. I'm thinking lunch tomorrow. Oh, and I personally LOVE eating rainbows.. :D

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08/21/2014 1:48am

Hmmmm.... Your pics make me want to eat chard, Ive never seen the rainbow version, so pretty, but truthfully, I have never found a recipe that my tastebuds enjoy! I shall try these burritos, because they look amazing and let ya know. :)

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08/24/2014 9:06pm

Wow, this looks amazing!! Thank you Allison for coming up with a creative way to eat rainbow chard. It's so easy to grow, and the colors are amazingly vibrant. can't wait to try out your recipe. Also VERY excited to find your site as I'm a gluten free vegetarian and always looking for recipes.

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Debbie
09/07/2014 11:19am

These are wonderful! Thanks for the recipe ;-) I have made stuffed vine grape leaves many times and have never thought to stuff the swiss chard leaves. To ensure the small dice of the onions, chick peas, olives, and herbs, I used my food processor. Also, I used my pressure cooker with the steamer basket to steam these to perfection. Just some tips! Thanks!

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09/08/2014 4:43am

I love rainbow chard. These look so good! I'm definitely going to have to try making them!

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