Putting a healthy and delicious dish on the table doesn’t have to take all night or become a major construction project. This is a good, green go-to from my “Weeknights with Giada” cookbook, a Christmas gift that keeps on giving. (Thanks, fellow foodie Amanda Harper!) Tonight’s fare – Ricotta Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls.
Here’s what they look like in progress. Me and my new baking bestie Giada love that dark green good-for-you color of the Swiss chard leaves that form the wraps for this easy to put together palette please-r. No need to keep you waiting. Here’s all you need to know:
5 large Swiss chard leaves
1 15-oz can cooked lentils, rinsed and drained. Another option. I cooked my own lentils, which took an entire 10 minutes. Sort, rinse, boil, done.
1 1/2 cups ready cooked brown rice Or – I am madly in love with my rice cooker and use it every weekend, so ready cooked brown rice? Done.
1/4 cup (4 ounces) whole-milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 packed cup (1 ounce) baby arugula leaves, chopped. This is when I miss my garden most.
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint. Again, the garden missing.
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon Kosher sale
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 jar (26 ounces) marinara or tomato-basil sauce I used about half this much and was happy with the results.
Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8 X 8 baking dish and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Remove the thick stem from the center of each chard leaf. Trim the ends to make each leaf half about 7 incheds long and 4 inches wide. Here’s where I improvised a bit, having chard that didn’t seem to care how wide or long it was. Add the leaves to the boiling water and cook for 10 seconds. Seriously. This recipe says 10 seconds. Not sure what kind of an oven timer you have, but mine goes off by the time I set it for 10 seconds. I say, ‘boil quickly or until leaves become slightly limp’. So, after you boil them, rinse them with cold water and let them drain on paper towels.
In a medium bowl, mix the lentils, brown rice, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup olive oil, arugula, mint, garlic, salt and pepper. Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon a heaping 1/3 cup of the filling onto the end of each leap and roll up like a burrito, tucking in the sides as you go. Arrange the rolls, seam side down, in a single layer on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Slide the baking dish into the oven an bake for 25 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are heated through. Cool for five minutes are serve.