Monday, October 21, 2013

Chard wrapped polenta with mushrooms and caramelised onion

Today was another day where I wanted to use up some of the ingredients in my fridge and pantry to make something new. This is always a fun exercise because it feels like such a celebration when I find a recipe on the Internet that I have all (or most) the ingredients for. 

I found an interesting recipe for chard (aka silverbeet) wrapped polenta from Mollie Katzen. The original recipe was not vegan, but I changed it up to make it vegan friendly. I also found a mushroom and caramelised onion recipe which I threw into the wrap too.I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, and would most definitely make this again whenever I feel like eating super clean :)

Here's my vegan friendly version:

Chard (silverbeet) wrapped polenta, mushroom and caramelised onion

Serves 4-6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder or onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper 
  • about 12 perfect large chard leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, sliced in thin strips.
  •  1 clove garlic, minced
  •  1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  •  1 teaspoon agave, or sugar of your choice
  •  1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  •  salt and pepper
  1. Put on a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, place a medium saucepan over medium heat for about a minute, then add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Toss in the onion powder/flakes, garlic powder and cumin and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Add another tablespoon of oil, if desired, and sprinkle in the polenta, stirring to coat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté the mixture for 5 minutes or so, or until the grains become lightly toasty.
  4.  When the water boils, add 3 cups, 1 cup at a time, to the polenta mixture, stirring it in, then covering the saucepan between additions so the polenta absorbs it (as if you were making risotto, but with less stirring). This should take about 10 minutes. (Leave the remaining water simmering in the pot on the stove.) When the 3 cups are incorporated and the mixture is tender, 6 to 8 minutes, remove it from the heat and immediately stir in the nutritional yeast. Set aside, covered. 
  5. Now to start on the mushrooms. Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, garlic and a few generous pinches of salt and a grind of pepper. Cook for 5 or 6 minutes or until onions and mushrooms cook down and caramelise. Leave aside.
  6. Pick up each chard or collard leaf, one at a time, hold it by the stem, and immerse the entire leaf in the boiling water, down to the base, keeping it there until the spine becomes supple enough to bend without breaking, 20 to 30 seconds, depending on the size. Shake off any excess water and pile the blanched leaves on a plate as you go. Pat them dry with towels and, using scissors, trim off the stems at the base of the leaves and discard.
  7. To assemble the packages, place about 1/4 cup of the filling (slightly more for larger leaves; less for smaller) near the bottom of each leaf and roll it up tightly, folding in the sides. Place all the filled leaves seam side down on a plate. If you have leftover filling, keep it handy.
  8. Shortly before serving, place a large (10- to 12-inch) skillet over medium heat for about a minute, then add about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the packages and sauté on both sides for a total of 5 to 8 minutes, or until heated through. (You can also sauté any leftover filling or heat it in a microwave and serve it underneath or sprinkled on top.) Serve the packages hot or warm. 
I served my chard packages up with some roasted broccoli and carrot :)

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