Ah, Saturday…

How I love coming home to Victor in the kitchen, chopping, slicing, and dicing away.  It’s so much fun to see what new and exciting thing he has prepared.

Victor has the cooking shows on TV while I’m at work and he’s playing Domestic Goddess – laundry, vacuuming, whatever. And every now and again a recipe comes up that he decided we should try.

Giada De Laurentis had such a recipe… a rice and lentil filling wrapped in swiss chard.


Naturally, he changed his filling around – neither one of us is very good at following recipes – but Giada’s original recipe follows.

Giada’s Goat Cheese, Lentil, and Brown Rice Rolls


  • Butter, for greasing the baking dish
  • 6 large Swiss chard leaves (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • Salt


  • 2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
  • 1 packed cup baby arugula leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup goat cheese, at room temperature (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 26-ounce jar marinara or tomato-basil sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or unsalted butter diced into 1/4-inch pieces


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

Remove the thick stem from the center of each chard leaf. Cut each leaf in half lengthwise. Trim the ends from the leaves to make each leaf-half about 7 inches long and 5 inches wide. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the chard leaves and cook for 10 seconds. Remove the leaves and rinse with cold water. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

For the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the brown rice, arugula, goat cheese, lentils, mint, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and garlic. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Spoon 1/3 cup of the filling onto the end of each chard leaf and roll up like a jellyroll.

Spoon 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange the rolls, seam-side down, in a single layer on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil or dot the top with butter, if using, and bake until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are heated through, about 25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve.

First thing Victor did was substitute red lentils for the green.  He said was snickering as he went through the jars on top shelf.  Most folks, he surmised, probably didn’t even have lentils in their cabinets.  We had three varieties – red, brown, and French green.  He chose the red lentils to empty a jar.  That’s actually an important consideration when we’re searching ingredients.  Is there a container I can empty and remove so I can find other things easier?!? 

Everyone should have this problem.

He also left out the mint but added diced prosciutto and peas.  And jarred sauce?!?  At our house?!?

The end result was fantastic.

The flavors just blended perfectly.  And it was really easy.

We’re going to get several meals out of this.

Several really good meals.