I came across the idea for this recipe a couple of years ago cooking through April Bloomfield’s cookbook A Girl and Her Greens. While her food is delicious, my biggest complaint about her cookbook recipes is that they’re fairly “chef-y.” Which makes sense, because she IS a chef. But I am not! Most of us are not! So I set out to tweak the recipe to make it a little more manageable for us mere home cooks.
The flavors in this dish are bomb dot com. You have a lovely kale and chard ricotta filling with garlic, Parmesan, and shallot, which is rolled up into little bundles of lasagna goodness. But the sauce. THE SAUCE. This lemon cream sauce is somehow light and kinddd of elegant while also comforting and rich. The cream is packed with garlic and lemon zest and it’s a refreshing alternative to traditional lasagna.
You may be asking why I’m making lasagna in roll-up format. Two reasons: 1) each piece gets extra crispy on the top and edges, and who doesn’t want the crispiest piece? 2) I kind of hate when I’m going to serve a lasagna, as you lift a slice things slide apart and look like a hot mess. These roll-ups are easy to serve because no cutting or slicing is required, and it makes portioning effortless.
Let’s talk about the nutritional value of kale and Swiss chard so you can focus on all the leafy green goodness and not on the three cups of heavy cream. Kale is a powerhouse of Vitamins A and C, and Swiss chard has higher levels of iron than kale, collard greens, and mustard greens. Both are also great for fiber and calcium. So basically, we’ll call this a healthy meal.
This recipe has flexibility to cut back on time and steps, see the recipe notes for a few quick and dirty tips to get this on the table even sooner. It makes a wonderful family dinner but you could really dress it up for entertaining and serve it with a winter salad with ingredients like citrus and fennel to cut the richness of the lasagna.
Kale and Chard Lasagna Roll Ups with Lemony Cream Sauce
- 1 bunch Dino/Lacinato Kale
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 shallot or small red onion or small yellow onion, small diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg
- 1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Lasagna (I used exactly 10)
Preheat the oven to 450.
Prep the kale and chard by removing the stems, rolling the leaves up like little cigar bundles, and then slicing into thin ribbons.
Set a large pot of salted water to boil, and then heat a large pan over medium heat.
Add a little oil or butter to the pan, and cook the shallot, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.
Add half of the minced garlic, stirring for about thirty seconds, and then add the kale and chard in handfuls, stirring as it wilts down to fit it all into the pan.
Lightly salt and pepper the greens.
Cook for just a few minutes, until the greens have wilted but don't hammer them. You want them just wilted and warm.
Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the filling mixture.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta, half of the parmesan cheese, one egg, and salt and pepper.
Stir in the greens to fully combine.
At this point, your water should be boiling so add the lasagna noodles and cook as directed, about 9-11 minutes.
Drain the noodles and lay the sheets out to assemble.
Spread an even amount of filling along the length of each sheet, fully covering the pasta in a layer of greens mixture. Then roll the lasagna up, finishing seam-side down.
The filling should prepare 10 roll-ups.
In a sauce pan, add a small amount of oil over medium heat and cook the remaining garlic for just about thirty seconds, stirring so it doesn't brown or burn.
Add the cream and lemon zest, and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the burner and pour a thin layer into the base of your baking pan.
Place each roll-up seam side down in the dish.
Pour the rest of the cream mixture over the lasagna, finishing by topping with the remaining parmesan.
Bake for 30 minutes until the tops and edges have gone crispy and then allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
To switch up the pasta format, you could use non-boil lasagna sheets and structure this like a traditionally stacked lasagna. Just pour cream in between each layer, finishing on the top with cream and parmesan. I've also made it in stuffed shells and manicotti. For another time hack, rather than cooking the cream garlic and lemon in a sauce pan, microwave the cream by itself on your microwave's "beverage" setting (if it has one) and then add the garlic and lemon zest into the hot cream, stirring to combine.