This particular dish always reminds me of the late Auntie Julia may she rest in peace. Our long-time neighbor back in Ramallah. When I think of our neighbors, I think of them more than just neighbors, the relationship is even deeper than friends it was more like a family and still is.
Auntie Julia used to make this dish during lent, and every year she would share some with us. Whenever I eat this dish, my mind takes me back to those old sunny spring days, where I can still see Auntie Julia coming out of her veranda carrying her warm smile on her face and the stuffed Swiss chard in her hands, freshly cooked, still warm and delicious. It was one of my favorite dishes and my very fond memories of Auntie Julia. I miss her and miss those old days.
Auntie Julia loved to spend time in the kitchen. Baking was one of her specialties, and she always made delicious cookies. We knew that every time we visit she’d have some cookies in store to offer. And hers were one of the best cookies I’ve had.
Interestingly, sometimes certain dishes remind us of certain people, and every time we eat them one can’t help but think of those special ones. Is our connection to food intertwine with our relationship with those whom we care about? What do you all think?
And since it is #lent I wanted to share this vegan delicious recipe in honor of Auntie Julia.
The stuffing is similar to vegan grape leaves, but the swiss chard gives a different unique taste. I like to stuff mine with bulgur instead of rice.
To read more about swiss chard and for another easy vegan recipe check out my swiss chard in olive oil recipe.Print
This particular dish always reminds me of the late Auntie Julia may she rest in peace. Our long-time neighbor back in Ramallah. And when I think of our neighbors
- 4 Swiss chard bunches
- 1 cup hot water (for cooking) and about 4-5 cups for boiling
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the stuffing
- 1 cup bulgur, washed and rinsed
- 1 small sweet onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 2–3 tomatoes finely chopped
- 1/2 bunch parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (about 1 can)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- juice of 1 lemon
- Take out the bottom edge of each leaf, cut the long stem out, and set it aside.
- Fill up a large pot with water and let it boil about 4-5 cups.
- Dip all the leaves in the boiled water for 1 minute only, take out and place in a strainer.
- Prepare the stuffing: In a bowl add bulgur, onions, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, chickpeas, olive oil, allspice, cumin, salt, and lemon and mix everything well together.
- Lay flat the leaves on a cutting board and cut into small pieces, about fist size.
- With a spoon take some of the stuffing and spread length-wise on each leaf, then roll, similar to how you stuff rolled cabbage. Continue until all leaves are done.
- Place all rolled swiss chard in a pot, layer them on top of each other, long stems can also be layered.
- Once all done, place the pot on high heat, pour 1 cup of hot water over the leaves, or fill up ¾ of the pot. Sprinkle some salt, pour in ¼ cup of olive oil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat on low cover the pot, and let it simmer for about an hour. Halfway cooking pour ¼ cup of lemon juice.
Serve warm or room temperature. Squeeze more lemon if needed.
- Leaves are so fine, so dip them in water for up to 1 minute only, otherwise, they’ll be too soft and hard to roll.
- The long stems can also be cooked, once cut layer them with rolled leaves.
- When cutting the leaves, if the middle stem is thick, cut it out.
- Make sure not to overstuff them, they can easily break during cooking. Stuff with about a finger size.