Popular with Mediterranean cooks, chard is often overlooked in American produce aisles. Here are just a few reasons why you should give Swiss chard a chance. Besides being delicious, chard is chock-full of essential nutrients. Just one cup of cooked Swiss chard provides more than 700 percent of the daily value for vitamin K! Chard is also rich in magnesium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E. In most places, this leafy green is available year-round. Swiss chard is versatile, too: Try it sautéed with garlic, add it to soups and stews, toss it in salads–the applications are endless.
Legend has it that the word “Swiss” was added to chard by a 19th-century French seed catalog to distinguish it from a variety of spinach called charde. And it seems the name stuck. Swiss chard comes in several varieties–yellow, red, and white–all with green leaves. The name of the variety indicates the stem color. Often, all three are packaged together and sold as rainbow chard. Use any variety in any recipe.
How to Choose Swiss Chard
Look for bunches of chard that have dark green leaves and rigid stems. Wash the chard well in cold water and remove the bottom inch of the stems. Use both the leaves and stems in cooking; if the chard is older, the stems might be tough and require a slightly longer cooking time than the leaves. Use the leaves for salads.
Swiss Chard and White Bean Stew
Try using a blend of white beans and cannellini beans; the two sizes make for an interesting texture. You’ll find fire-roasted tomatoes on the shelf with other canned tomatoes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, stems and leaves roughly chopped
Light sour cream, shredded cheese for garnish (optional)
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes, until the onion is soft, but not brown. Add the yam, toss, and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add the beans, tomatoes, and chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the yam is tender.
3. Add the chard and cook, uncovered, until the chard is soft, about 4 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese.
Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup brown lentils
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups chicken stock
3 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups water
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, stems and leaves chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon slices for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is soft but not brown, about 4 minutes.
2. Add the lentils and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, covered, about 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
3. Add the potatoes and 3 cups of water. Continue to cook, covered, over medium heat, until the potatoes are tender.
4. Add the chard, salt, and pepper. Cook, uncovered, until the chard is soft, about 5 minutes. If soup is too thick, add more water, a quarter cup at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
5. Add the lemon juice, garnish with a lemon slice, and serve.
Swiss Chard and Kale Salad
3 cups chard, washed and chopped
3 cups kale, washed and chopped
2 tangerines, segmented
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a chilled salad bowl, combine the kale and chard.
2. Add the tangerine segments, feta cheese, and pecans.
3. In a small jar, add the lemon juice, orange juice, and olive oil. Shake gently. Pour over the salad 30 minutes before serving.
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