Swiss chard and goat cheese casserole [Vegetarian]

Jaymi's Notes:
I love two things about this recipe. First, it comes together incredibly quickly and I'm a fan of dishes that take little prep work and you can pop them in the oven to finish cooking, leaving you time to get other parts of a dinner ready. Second, I love how customizable it is. You can personalize it without having to modify the basic parts of the recipe. The components can be easily substituted with your personal favorites -- swiss chard could be spinach, or kale; olive tapenade could be kalamata olives; kidney beans could be black beans, and so on. I also used quinoa-corn flour pasta shells as a gluten-free option for the pasta noodles, as this ingredient is also as customizable as you want and I enjoy how colorful it is. It makes a delightful main for a lunch or dinner, and the leftovers are excellent.

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Kelly's Recipe:
Hopefully we've had our last snow for this winter, but it is still unseasonably cold around here. Last year at this time we were weeks away from the first spinach at the farmers' market and this year it looks like we'll be lucky to get it in May. It's still the kind of weather that makes you want to make a casserole. I couldn't get any Swiss chard at my grocery store, so I used spinach. Yes, I know, I used American spinach rather than waiting until May. It's been a long winter. You could use any green leafy vegetable such as kale or collard greens as well, you'd just have to cook them longer before they go into the oven. We really enjoyed this dish. It had a really nice balance of flavours, a little bit piquant, but with a lot of creaminess from the goat cheese. If you don't have any tapenade, just roughly chop up some olives, it's work just as well. This made a lot, and we had it for lunch today, and it was just as good.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

This recipe is from the website The Kitchn.

Goat Cheese and Swiss Chard Casserole

1 large head Swiss chard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped well-drained canned plum tomatoes
1/2 pound whole wheat shells
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive tapenade
3 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper

1. Rinse the Swiss chard, drain very well, and chop it into chunky pieces. It's going to get cooked down, so no need to be too precise here.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until just slightly tender. Stir in the garlic, add the tomatoes, and then add the Swiss chard. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the chard has just wilted. Be careful not to overcook the Swiss chard; it will have the opportunity to bake in the oven as well.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

4. Remove the chard and tomatoes from the heat and stir in the goat cheese, kidney beans, olive tapenade, capers and half the amount of parmesan. Fold in the pasta and season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the pasta mixture into a 1 or 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top. Bake until heated all the way through, about 15 to 18 minutes.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Tags: Recipes | The Cooking Project | Vegetarian | Weekday Vegetarian