Swiss Chard Stuffed with Zesty Herb Rice & Chickpeas – Mehshe Selek Ate3

Swiss Chard Stuffed with Zesty Herb Rice & Chickpeas- Mehshe Selek Ate3

IMG 1566 682x1024 Swiss Chard Stuffed with Zesty Herb Rice & Chickpeas   Mehshe Selek Ate3

On my recent trip to Lebanon, my brother and I spent quality time together making these moreish stuffed Swiss chard fingers and I think they’re just the right treat. I had never made them before and when I asked my aunt for the recipe her response went a little like this:” a handful of this, pinch of that, taste and see…” and well we had to make 3 different batches before we got it just right.

IMG 0994 682x1024 Swiss Chard Stuffed with Zesty Herb Rice & Chickpeas   Mehshe Selek Ate3

Making these heavenly chard fingers was also special because the leaves were picked from the family gardens and were grown organically. A word of warning- they really do get eaten up quickly and since it is quite time consuming to make, I strongly suggest you make a very large batch and then freeze any excess for later use.

IMG 1004 682x1024 Swiss Chard Stuffed with Zesty Herb Rice & Chickpeas   Mehshe Selek Ate3

I mean it… they are VERY moreish!

IMG 1399 682x1024 Swiss Chard Stuffed with Zesty Herb Rice & Chickpeas   Mehshe Selek Ate3


Swiss Chard Stuffed with Herb Rice & Chickpeas

Time: 1-2 hours preparation + 45 minute cooking time

Makes: 50 stuffed Swiss chard fingers or enough for 5 people

The Cast of Characters

For the filling

  • 2.5kg/6lb of Swiss chard leaves w/ stalks or about 50 leaves
  • 450g or about 2.5 cups of Egyptian or short grain rice
  • 180g or about 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and halved & peeled (you can substitute with pine nuts)
  • 1-2 onions finely chopped or about 1 cup
  • 4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped or about 2 cups
  • 1 large bunch of parsley, finely chopped or about 2 cups
  • 1 small bunch of mint, finely chopped or about 1/2 cup
  • 125ml or 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 125ml or 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the pot (medium size, about 15 cm deep. Enough to hold the stuffed chard and the water to cover them)

  • 2-3 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced
  • water to cover

The Nitty-Gritty

1) Crack chickpeas (which have been soaked overnight) by running them over with a rolling pin so they split in half. Discard all skins.

2) Remove chard stems (before or after cooking) then soften leaves by dipping 5 or 6 at a time in boiling, salted water for no longer than a minute. Have a large bowl of ice cold water at hand and as you remove the boiled Swiss chard let it cool in the cold water so to stop cooking. Then set aside in a strainer and allow to drain while you finish the process for the remaining leaves.

3)Wash and drain rice. Mix the rice, chickpeas (or nuts), parsley, mint, chopped onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper, cinnamon, sumac, oil and 3/4 of the lemon juice. Reserve the other 1/4 of lemon juice to sprinkle on chard rolls near end of cooking.

4) Stuff one leaf at a time using a heaping teaspoonful of stuffing. Fold up from bottom or where the stem end was over stuffing and fold in from each side to center; then roll up like a cigar as per below photo illustration.

dks stuffed swisschard 680x1024 Swiss Chard Stuffed with Zesty Herb Rice & Chickpeas   Mehshe Selek Ate3

5) Layer the pot with the sliced tomatoes, onions and garlic and then add the chard fingers in layers with open end down. Add the remaining lemon juice and some rock salt to taste. Cover with a plate that fits into the pot, so it keeps everything from moving around, and then cover with water. Bring to a boil for about 15 minutes then uncover and simmer on low-medium heat to reduce the sauce. Entire cooking time should take about 45 minutes.

6) Once finished cooking, set aside to cool for about 15 minutes then turn out onto serving platter. Serve cold. You can serve with them a chilled garlic-yogurt dressing.

P.S- chopping off the tough stem-end helps facilitate the rolling and minimizes tearing. If you feel that even after the cutting of the stem there still remains a tough bit, then cut it out as required following a V shape.

Facebook Comments:

21 Responses to “Swiss Chard Stuffed with Zesty Herb Rice & Chickpeas – Mehshe Selek Ate3”
  1. Asha@FSK 27 August 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    What a brilliant idea!!!! I have swiss chard and was wondering what to do with them that isn’t what I usually make.. you just gave it to me!!! :)))

  2. nana 27 August 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    b7eb hal akle kteeer

  3. Mika 28 August 2010 at 6:54 am #

    I always eat swiss chard as salad. I love it, I love stuffed food and rolls like this, with spices and lemon so I will surely love your recipe when I will cook it…
    I love lebanon cuisine, it has such simple but deep in flavour recipes…
    Thanks for this!!!

  4. susie 28 August 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Looks great…..must try!

    Happy Birthday Beth…..I’m around Sunday & Monday…..drinks???

  5. Chris Bourne 28 August 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Great picture’s as ever. Just got stop eating all the food before you snap it…sorry!x

  6. valentina 29 August 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    Sweet Beth, I hope you have had a wonderful birthday weekend. You are one of the loveliest persons I have met this year. What a treat! Love these moreish parcels. How lovely that you have managed to cook taht with your brother.

  7. tasteofbeirut 30 August 2010 at 4:01 am #

    I love swiss chard and your photos remind me I have to eat some soon!

  8. Christel 30 August 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Happy birthday Bethany! I am trying it right now so will get back to u later. I ve tried it before but was not successful at it. Yours is very well explained 🙂

  9. Maha 31 August 2010 at 5:17 am #

    Looks so yummy!

  10. nadine trad 31 August 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVEEEEE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!! u have a lucky man @ home!!!!!!!!
    craving this big time now!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Vibey 1 September 2010 at 12:39 am #

    Delicious, although… ALL the chickpea skins? Eep! Might have to buy some split channa (which are already skin-free) from my Indian grocer.

  12. Meeta 2 September 2010 at 11:41 am #

    A all time favorite for me – in all it’s wonderful varieties! i do not think I’ve actually tried it with chickpeas. The skinning scares me! ;o)

  13. Jamie 2 September 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    This really is a great recipe, Beth. Love the flavors and love that it is all wrapped up in Swiss chard which I love.

  14. Krista 8 September 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    These are SO beautiful, Bethany!! 🙂 I’ve loved cabbage rolls since I was little, but I like this moreish version very much. 🙂

  15. Tigre 16 September 2010 at 2:57 am #

    Dear Beth,

    Having just discovered your delectable recipe for Chicken Liver Parfait, I am now a dedicated fan of your blog. My partner and I love Lebanese food and Middle Eastern flavours; this recipe appears to be too tempting. Fortunately swiss chard is a staple in Colombia where it is called acelga. Checkpeas (garbanzos) are also very abundant. I can not wait to try this recipe, especially for my vegetarian friends!

  16. Andreas 8 October 2010 at 7:20 am #

    Actually this food is a local dish found in other Mediteranean areas like Greece and Cyprus. In Cyprus it is called “koupepia” in Greece its called “ntolmades”. In the Greek and Cypriot variation, instead of chickpeas they use ground meat (usually pork) and herbes like anise. In some parts of Greece, the “ntolmades” dish is served with an egg-lemon sauce which give an extra sweet and sour taste.

  17. France Aouad 14 October 2010 at 4:52 am #

    Love your blog !
    For people who dont like chick peas I suggest, if I mayof course, to substitute them with pine nuts !!

  18. Rosa 14 October 2010 at 7:24 am #

    That dish looks so scrumptious! Fabulous.



  19. Naomi 17 September 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    This sounds delicious. Just one question (and sorry if I’m being dense), am I supposed to cook the rice and chickpeas (separately) in advance or is the stuffing raw and then it cooks in the sauce? Thanks.


  1. CSA Box #4: June 5, 2012 « The Unschooled Locavore - June 7, 2012

    […] on the Swiss chard, I was given some great ideas last time we found some in our box. I came across this Lebanese stuffed Swiss chard recipe that sounds just mouth-watering and I picked up some sumac Tuesday night specifically to try the […]

  2. Six months in « The Unschooled Locavore - June 12, 2012

    […] great! I made too much of the filling (because I had very few chard leaves but couldn’t scale the recipe down quite that much), but we happily ate the leftover filling the next day for lunch. Don’t […]

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