Rolled kale with feta is great for Lent, or any time

By Scott Alessi, Monitor Managing Editor

The supposed “sacrifice” of giving up meat on the Fridays of Lent isn’t really much of a sacrifice for me. In fact, be it Lent, Advent or Ordinary Time, I’m likely to have multiple meatless meals throughout any given week.

My wife and I received a vegetarian cookbook as a wedding gift that has provided numerous delicious meatless ideas, and plenty more we’ve yet to try. One of our favorites is this dish, which is fairly simple to make and tastes great any time. It is also easy to customize by making simple substitutions. Here is our slightly adapted version of the recipe:

Rolled kale with feta and olives

This recipe combines some great flavors, but with just a little prep time to put the dish together, it also looks quite impressive, offering a vivid array of colors. Here’s what you’ll need:

– large fresh kale leaves
– a block of feta cheese
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
– 2 tablespoons minced garlic
– 1/2 cup red or white wine
– 1 cup chopped tomato
– 1/2 cup sliced olives

  •  Start by cutting the kale stems off, chopping them up and setting them aside. You want to make

    preparing the stuffed kale rolls

    sure you have nice, full leaves left, so be sure to pick the best of the bunch, not ones that are ripped or wilted.

  • Cut the feta into thin strips. It is best to keep them intact and not let them crumble. Another option is to use crumbled feta and mix it with something that will hold it together – I’ve found that goat cheese works well for this purpose and adds to the flavor of the dish.
  • Place the cheese filling on one end of each kale leaf and roll them up.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the chopped kale stems and garlic. Cook for about five minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the rolls of kale stuffed with cheese, placing them in a single layer across the skillet and pour the wine over them (I prefer to use red wine, but you can just as easily use white or even water or

    Let it simmer...

    vegetable stock if you’re not a fan of wine). Top off the skillet with the sliced and pitted olives and the chopped tomatoes.

  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. It will be done when the kale is tender and the cheese filling is hot.
Once you’re done cooking, carefully place the rolls of kale on a plate and garnish with the olives, tomatoes and chopped kale stems (here’s where you have the chance to really make the dish look great!) There are plenty of other options you can add in for garnish or stuffing to freshen up this dish, whether you’re making a meatless Lenten meal or dinner any night of the year.

Ready to eat!


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