Bittman’s Stuffed Chard Leaves

from Mark Bittman

Photo from

“A new take on Greek dolmades, grape leaves which are stuffed with rice and meat or lentils. This version is easy enough to be part of any Mediterranean- style spread, since the herb-based stuffing comes together in minutes and requires no cooking. A variety of other grains (barley, farro, wheat berries) also make good fillings. Fresh tomato sauce makes a nice dipping accompaniment.”

[Some ground pork or italian sausage might also be nice as part of the stuffing!]

1⁄2 cup bulgur


1⁄3 cup olive oil, or more as needed

1⁄4 cup lemon juice, or to taste

12 to 16 whole chard leaves, any size (can also use cabbage or kale)

2 cups chopped fresh parsleyor cilantro

1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint

1⁄2 cup chopped scallions or red onion or garlic scapes

Black pepper

Lemon wedges

1. Soak the bulgur in hot water to cover until tender, 15 to 30 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Have a large bowl of ice water handy. Drain the bulgur, then squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Toss with the oil and lemon juice and season to taste.

2. Put half of the chard in the boiling water and count to 20 or so. When they’re just pliable, carefully fish the leaves out and immediately plunge in the ice water. Repeat with the remaining leaves. When cool, drain. Carefully remove the toughest part of each chard stem by cutting close along either side of it (scissors are good for this), chop them, and add them to the bowl of bulgur.

3. Add the parsley, mint, and scallions to the bulgur and toss gently. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

4. On a clean towel, lay one of the leaves in front of you and bring together the cut center of the leaf so the sides overlap a bit, closing the gap. Put a couple tablespoons of the tabbouleh on top of that seam (more if the leaves are large) and roll the leaf about a third of the way up; fold in both ends to enclose the filling like you would a burrito and then roll up the entire leaf. Put each stuffed leaf, seam side down, on a serving plate. Re-peat with the remaining leaves and serve with lemon wedges.