Swiss Chard Tamale Bites is a crazy mash up of Quinoa Lentil Swiss Chard Rolls and tamales, rolled together into one recipe that tastes amazing. Traditional tamales are quite delicious, but this lighter lard-free variation requires no corn husks, steaming , or tedious wrapping. For this dish, Swiss chard leaves are spread with a simple tamale dough, topped with a delectable squash and black bean filling, rolled up tightly into a delicious bundle. After that, simply bake the tamale bites until warm, slightly crisp, and delectable. It’s not really authentic tamale flavor but Swiss Chard Tamale Bites are definitely a fun and flavor packed twist.
Swiss Chard Tamale Bites
Serves 3 (6 Tamale Bites per Serving)
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12 Swiss Chard Leaves (try to pick leaves with minimal tears and holes)
4 ounces butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into small cubes (about 3/4 cup, once diced)
1/4 cup black beans, drained
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely diced (you can find cans of chipotle peppers in the hispanic section of major grocery stores; check for gluten)
1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce from the chipotle pepper, use more or less depending on heat preference
1 cup (packed) baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup masa flour (you can find this in the Hispanic section of major grocery stores but be sure to check for gluten- I used Maseca brand)
1/2 teaspoon flax seed
Salt & Pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup corn (if using frozen, defrost & dry thoroughly)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Add squash and beans to baking sheet , then drizzle with olive oil and season with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to evenly coat vegetables in spices.
2. Roast vegetables for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender and beans begin to split open.
3. Scoop roasted vegetables into a medium microwave safe mixing bowl. Add chipotle, adobo sauce, spinach and parsley. Toss to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Microwave vegetables 20-30 seconds, or just until spinach begins to wilt down. Set aside filling. (Leave oven on at 400 degrees).
4. To prepare the Swiss chard leaves, place a damp paper towel on a large microwave safe plate, and stack 6 of the Swiss Chard leaves on top of towel. Cover with another damp towel, then stack the remaining Swiss Chard leaves on towel. Top with a final damp paper towel and transfer plate to microwave (depending on the size of the chard leaves, you may have to trim off the thick stem ends of chard leaves before they will fit in your microwave).
5. Microwave Swiss Chard for 25-30 seconds, or until leaves are “steamed” and pliable.
6. Place one leaf flat on a cutting board, then use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to carefully remove the thick steam and divide the leaf into two pieces.
7. Repeat process with remaining Swiss Chard, then stack leaves on a plate and set aside.
8. To prepare the tamale dough, add dry ingredients (masa flour, flax, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper), to a medium mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
9. Pour water into dry ingredients, then stir until ingredients are evenly mixed and a dough is formed. Add corn and stir until incorporated into dough.
10. To assemble the tamale bites, spray a 9 inch square glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Lay three Swiss Chard pieces flat on a work surface. Scoop about 1/2 of a tablespoon of the tamale dough and place on lower half of each Swiss chard leaf. Use the back of the spoon, to carefully spread out dough into a thin layer (it doesn’t have to be completely even). Add 2-3 teaspoons of the vegetable filling on top of tamale dough.
11. Starting the bottom, roll up Swiss chard leaf tightly to enclose the filling. Place in prepared baking sheet seam side down.
12. Continue to assemble tamale bites, placing them side by side in baking dish, until you have 16 rolls. (I purposefully added a few extra Swiss Chard leaves to the ingredients list in case a few got torn. When you are rolling the tamale bites, choose the best leaves possible).
13. Spritz the tops of the tamale bites lightly with nonstick spray, then transfer baking dish to oven. Bake tamale bites 19-20 minutes, or until heated through and edges of Swiss Chard begin to darken and crisp.
14. Transfer tamale bites to plates & enjoy!
Nutrition Information-- approximately 162 calories per serving (6 tamale bites per serving)