Monday, August 5, 2013

Swiss Chard Lasagna Roll-ups

Have you ever had brown rice pasta?  If you haven't you should totally try it. I got organic brown rice lasagna noodles for this recipe, and they were absolutely delicious. The ones I got contained just two ingredients: 100% whole grain brown rice flour and golden milled flax seed (providing omega-3s). 

I have been wanting to try brown rice pasta because Charlie loves noodles, and while I am not against eating gluten (unless you have a true gluten allergy or intolerance), I do try to incorporate other whole grains besides wheat. Too much of anything can be a negative thing, so I try to vary our grains so that we are limiting our gluten intake a bit. A future post will be coming on gluten, but the concise answer to why I want to limit our gluten is this: there is mixed evidence that wheat strains today contain more gluten than they did a century ago, causing gluten sensitivity when we eat a lot of it; and there is also a theory that gluten sensitivities are on the rise simply due to the large amounts of breads and pasta that Americans eat. So, "everything in moderation," right?

*You may recall from my first post that our meals need to be dairy-free because Charlie has a cow's milk protein allergy.  There is cheese in this recipe, but I reserved some of the swiss chard filling before adding the cheese to the rest. I cooked the dairy-free lasagna roll-ups in a separate dish so that they wouldn't be contaminated. I know it seems mean to eat cheese in front of him, but luckily he has never ever liked cheese in any form so I don't feel so bad. Now, if it were ice cream, that would be a different story...

Swiss Chard Lasagna Roll-Ups

8 cooked and drained organic brown rice lasagna noodles
1 small organic onion, diced
2 cloves organic garlic, chopped
1 small bunch organic swiss chard (stems removed), chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup part skim organic ricotta cheese
1 free range organic egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup shredded organic mozzarella cheese for topping
Your favorite jar of tomato sauce (I used a basil marinara sauce)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Place drained lasagna noodles on baking sheet or cutting board and lay out flat to cool

3. In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes

4. Add chopped swiss chard and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes

 This is the filling I reserved for Charlie to make his roll-ups dairy free:

5. Place ricotta cheese in a medium mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg

6. Add swiss chard mixture, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix until combined

7. Spread cheese mixture (and in our case, also the reserved dairy-free mixture) onto the lasagna noodles and roll up


Cheese mixture:

8. Coat bottom of baking dish with about 1 cup of tomato sauce

9. Place rolled-up noodles in baking dish



10. Once roll-ups are in the dish, top with additional sauce and mozzarella cheese

11. Bake, covered for 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly

I served with a mixed green and raw veggie salad on the side

(Recipe adapted from

*This recipe may seem like it takes a lot of time, but as lasagnas go, I found this one to be much quicker than ones I have made in the past. However, to break the work up, you can always chop up the onions, garlic and swiss chard the night before. What I did today was I assembled the roll-ups in the morning and just put the baking dishes in the refrigerator until I was ready to bake them at dinner  time. You can also assemble them and freeze them to be baked from frozen in the future.

What are the nutritional benefits on this meal?  Processed tomato products (like the jar of tomato sauce in this recipe) have been shown to provide more bioavailable lycopene than even fresh tomatoes! The brown rice noodles are gluten free and provide omega-3s from the flax that they contain. Swiss chard is a great source of vitamins C,K,A and B-complex vitamins, and is a rich source of copper, calcium, postassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorous.

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