Stuffed Chard Leaves with Beef and Couscous, Secret Recipe Club

The dog days of summer are upon us – and so is the August edition of the Secret Recipe Club.

I think that means our recipes should be lazy rather than ambitious… So we can spend long, warm evenings star-gazing, of course..

This month I was sent to Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking – an interesting blog I was anxious to explore


Sid has lots and lots of great-sounding recipes on her blog, grouped into interesting categories.

I’m not sure but I’m guessing she might have a Danish heritage as one section is devoted to Danish Recipes. She hosts a Tapas Night once a month so there is 6 years of Tapas ideas (and Boat Club – we used to belong to a boat club….). There’s a Gluten-Free section for those so inclined, as well as Retro and International.

Like I said: lots and lots.

I was inspired by her Stuffed Grape Leaves.

And now for the usual disclaimers:

I’ve never seen grape leaves here (not a French dish) but I have lots of rainbow chard in my garden which is perfect for stuffing.

She made a lot of stuffed grape leaves (and she has an excellent pictorial on how to do it). I only wanted a few.

She ended up using rice but her photo of ingredients showed couscous and za’atar – which is what inspired me, so that is what I used.

I made a few changes – but kept the spirit. We were very happy with the results.

I heat water in a large skillet to blanch the chard leaves – just big enough so they can lie flat.

Stuffed Chard Leaves with Beef and Couscous

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 8 medium – large chard leaves
  • 6oz (180gr) ground beef
  • 1 tbs couscous
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) beef broth
  • water
  • 1 cup (8oz, 120ml) tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Stuffed Chard Leaves


  • Blanch the chard leaves in boiling water for 20 seconds.
  • Remove and refresh in cold water, separating the leaves from each other. Drain well.
  • Cut the stem out by slicing on either side of the stem, about half way up the chard leaf.  Discard or reserve for another use.
  • Mix the beef, couscous, za’atar, lemon pepper and garlic.
  • Divide into 8 portions and form into small log shapes
  • Place each portion on a chard leaf, about 1 inch from the tip.
  • Roll the end of the leaf over, then roll the whole bundle over once.
  • Tuck the sides of the leaf in, folding as necessary and continue rolling to make a neat bundle.
  • Put chard bundles into a skillet, add beef broth and enough water to almost cover.
  • Cover the skillet and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. 
  • While they cook combine and heat the tomato sauce, paprika and chili powder
  • To serve: spoon sauce onto 2 plates and add stuffed chard leaves.

Print Recipe

Here are a few of the other things I plan on trying:

Broccoli, Cheddar, Quinoa Casserole: We love broccoli and quinoa and cheese. This will be perfect when we switch back to winter cooking in a few months.

Danish Potato Salad: This one is on the list to make before summer ends.

Leek Pancakes: I see these topped with smoked salmon for the holidays…. Or any days.

Messy Burgers: One more for summer.

Herbie Chicken: Finally, one for the crockpot when it comes out of summer storage.

Check out all the other great recipes from this months fun.

Last update on August 1, 2016

13 thoughts on “Stuffed Chard Leaves with Beef and Couscous, Secret Recipe Club”

  1. What a fun take on the stuffed grape leaves we made. I’ll have to have my friend over sometime and make them with chard as you did and see what she says about it. I always love seeing the twists other people come up with on my recipes, and shamelessly steal them as well.

  2. I love that you used chard! Great idea! I would love to make these – and maybe sub cauliflower crumbles for the beef. I need to mull on it, but I want to make these!! Great pick this month!!

  3. Sid, they were great – thanks for the recipe!

    Sally, there really are a lot of wonderful recipes

    Philip, chard is great for ‘rolls’ – it’s substantial enough but easy to work with

    Nicole, thanks, I love stuffing leaves, too 😉

    bcmom, really a lot of possibilities. – bigger leaves would make a great main course.

    Karen, thanks… chard it good!

    Sarah, now is the time to try….

    Wmpy Vegetarian, cauliflower would be great… I love getting the extra dose of veggies. Peppers would be good, too.

  4. A little bit of genius there to sub chard leaves for grape leaves. Little green cigar rolls are always so appealing! Wonderful SRC pick!

  5. I’m with Dorothy – it’s genius to sub chard leaves for grape leaves. Funny, I normally don’t see grape leaves here either, but happened on them at a store I don’t usually go to. I almost bought them, and now I’m regretting that I didn’t. But of course, I could just go to my regular grocery for chard and still make these delicious-looking leaves – thanks to you!

  6. Dorothy, strangely, I have never tasted a grape leaf so I have no idea how close my recipe is LOL

    Thanks, Emily…. when one has chard in the garden one has to be creative 😉 It grows fast.

    motherwouldnknow, and the chard is so very good for you (Are grape leaves?) After years of living on this side of the pond I’ve gotten good with substitutions.

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