Healthy, low-calorie wraps
Jump-start your off-season slim-down with Swiss chard
Swiss chard wraps are healthy, low in calories and filling. Swiss chard leaves are typically large enough that you can make a wrap using the leaves instead of carbohydrate-heavy sandwich wraps if you are going carb-free. This wrap has quinoa, turkey, cheese, caramelized onions and cranberries so it is full of protein, vitamins and flavor.
Swiss chard can be found at farmer’s markets and all the local grocery stores and it is easy to buy. Search for full leaves that look fresh and not wilted or filled with holes. Rainbow chard is what we see at the local stores, with a rainbow of colors in each bunch. It is in the same family as beets (goosefoot family). The stems take a little longer to cook and soften, while the leaves cook up quickly like spinach.
A cup of chard has only 35 calories and contains tons of calcium, fiber, vitamins C & A, lutein, zeaxanthin (both good for the eyes) and beta-carotene.
Caramelizing onions is one of my favorite ways to eat this cancer-fighting food. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute states that eating onions significantly lowers the risk of prostate cancer. Many other studies show onion consumption (along with garlic, scallion, leek and chive) protects against stomach and esophageal cancer as well. Plus, they are a great anti-inflammatory and antiviral antioxidant. Yes, they’re difficult to cut with all their smelly sulfur compounds but worth it and here’s a trick: cut your onions while wearing your low-light ski goggles. No kidding, it helps.
When I caramelize onion, I add a mixture of canola and olive oil (or grapeseed oil- whatever your oil choice is). No need to add butter and sugar. Over medium heat, I sear the onions while stirring until a little brown appears. Then, I reduce the heat to low and let them cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is a starter I use in a lot of vegan dishes to give it a nice umami flavor with no animal products.
Swiss chard turkey wraps
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems cut off, rinsed
2 medium onions, caramelized
8 ounces sliced deli turkey
1 cup cooked quinoa
6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil or butter
Blanch the Swiss chard by cutting off the stems and placing the full leaf in a pot of boiling water for two minutes, then place the chard in a bowl of ice-cold water for 30 seconds. Drain and wipe dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
Slice onions into half-circle thin slices. In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat one tablespoon olive oil and one tablespoon canola oil, grapeseed oil or butter and melt. Add onions and cook until slightly brown, stirring- about seven minutes. Reduce heat and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are light brown and very soft. Sprinkle with salt.
In a bowl, stir onions, quinoa, cheese and cranberries together and season generously with salt and pepper.
Place the chard leaf on a workspace horizontally and place two slices of turkey on the chard.
Add about 1/3 cup quinoa mix on the turkey, near the bottom. If using balsamic glaze, drizzle a line back and forth on mixture. Roll the chard over the mixture once to cover quinoa mixture and fold in sides and then roll until closed. Repeat for remaining chard leaves.
Makes six wraps.
Tracy Miller is a caterer and personal chef. Her cooking style is healthy and she always adds fruits and vegetables to her meals. You can log onto http://www.ColorfulCooking.com for catering needs or email Tracy@colorfulcooking.com.