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.
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.
Greek Rainbow Chard Burritos
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
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.
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.