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Swiss Chard, Brown Rice and Dried Plum Dolmas

The natural sweet, chewy bites of California dried plum add texture, flavor and moisture to this earthy dish.

 Recipe courtesy of Chef Mark Liberman and the California Dried Plum Board.

Prep Time  30 min Cook Time  1 1/2 hours Serves  24



1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 cups brown rice

4 bay leaves

8 cups water

6 teaspoons salt or to taste

2 cups diced California dried plums

2 cups diced Swiss chard stems

6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

6 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

72 large leaves Swiss chard

Juice of 4 lemons

1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds kernels, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


1.  Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add rice and bay leaves and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.

2.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in dried plums, chard stems, sunflower seeds, parsley, lemon zest and spices. Season with salt and let cool completely.

3.  Rinse chard, pat dry and cut away stems. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Cook 3 to 4 leaves at a time just until softened; remove and place in a bowl of ice water. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

4.  Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on the bottom half of each leaf. Fold in sides, then roll up tightly to enclose filling. Spread a layer of Swiss chard leaf scraps on the bottom of a large and heavy pot to prevent dolmas from burning. Lay dolmas seam side down over leaves.

 Drizzle with remaining olive oil and add boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of dolmas. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and let cool slightly. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with sunflower seeds and red chile