I am lucky. I was born to parents who were brought up on leafy greens, namely collards, mustard and turnip greens. I never had to “learn to like” them like so many people I know. The more bitter, the better! But that’s not the case for most folks. If it’s not lettuce or spinach, it’s out of the question! If this describes you and you’re spent on spinach, take heed. I’ve got an idea I think you’ll like. It’s the often overlooked Swiss chard. Mild, tender and really yummy, Swiss chard is similar to spinach when it comes to taste and ease of preparation, and it’s full of good nutrition. Adding Swiss chard to your menu gives you a healthy and satisfying serving of potassium, iron and antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which helps support healthy cells and protect against free radical damage. When purchasing Swiss chard, you may find a few varieties: red, green and rainbow (multi colored). All are delicious and can be prepared the same way. Always start by washing the leaves and stalks under running water. Remove the stalks and cut off the tough bottom ends before chopping into bite-size pieces. Slice or chop the leaves and unless your recipe calls for a different approach, begin cooking by sautéing, braising or steaming the chopped stalks first for about 5 minutes; then add the chopped leaves, which will take just a few minutes to cook. Here are some favorite ways to savor Swiss chard:
- Add to soup or stew towards the end of cooking. Remember, you want the leaves to be bright green, but tender enough to chew and digest. I love this wonderful Hearty Greens Soup With Bowtie Pasta And Tomatoes.
- Add to beans or serve beans over a bed of steamed chard. This recipe for Swiss Chard with Black Eyed Peas does just that.
- Add to grain dishes or serve grains over a bed of steamed chard. Here is a popular recipe for Greens With Carrots, Feta Cheese And Brown Rice - be sure to use Swiss chard in the recipe!
- Use it in place of or alongside spinach in a recipe.
- Make poached eggs and serve over steamed chard. Delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- Sauté with onions, garlic or shallots like we did in our recipe for Swiss Chard with Shallots.
- Steam chard and serve with your favorite salad dressing. Top with pine nuts and a bit of feta cheese, or try this recipe for Chard With Sherry Vinegar and Walnuts.
- Steam whole leaves and use as a wrap. Try stuffing with whole grains, veggies or tofu. You can even stuff with chicken or fish. Here’s an idea for Swiss Chard-Wrapped Salmon With Chunky Orange-Chipotle Salsa.
- Sauté with veggies and add to quiche or frittata.
- Make creamed “not” spinach with chard. We’ve used tahini, a delicious, versatile sesame seed “butter” in this recipe for Creamy Sesame Greens.