Saturday, October 8, 2011

Eat your chard!

Each week I post info. regarding a healthy food and why it's so healthy, but not just that - how to enjoy it!  Healthy foods are often given the reputation of being not as tasty as our over-processed, fat and sugar-laden foods.  My response to that is from experience - the more healthy I ate, the more it became difficult to go back to those over-processed versions of "food."

With that being said, this week how about trying some Swiss chard?  Swiss chard is shockingly high in nutrient values.  In just 1 cup of cooked chard you can find plenty of fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin C.  Beyond that the carotene and vitamin A levels are plentiful. 

I first fell in love with this delicious green when I planted it in my garden.  It grew into a beautifully colored plant that added to the aesthetic value of the garden.  But, better than that, I cut the greens for a recipe and found they came back in about 10 days.  It's the plant that keeps on giving!  It's beautiful in pots as well- with your favorite flower mixed in.  Chard likes the cool of spring and fall, so can be planted early and you can keep harvesting late into fall/winter.

Recipes often suggest separating the soft greens from the ribs of the leaf.  I had a hard time leaving behind those ribs - seemed wasteful, since those were the colorful part of the leaf and often the more colorful the plant, the more beta-carotenes are in there.  So, I sauteéd the ribs with some cayenne pepper and mixed them in with rice.  This is a new food staple in my house.  There are recipes that keep the leaf and stems/ribs in tact as well.

Suggestions for using chard:  Use just as you would spinach in your favorite soup, pasta, or salad recipes.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Chop and saute to serve with pasta.  Swiss chard can also be easily frozen and used all winter long.

My favorite recipe:


in Greek: σπανακόριζο or σπανακόρυζο, pronounced spah-nah-KOH-ree-zoh

This is an adaptation of a traditional Greek spinach recipe. Try topping with a sprinkle of crumbled feta or Parmesan cheese.
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves 4-6


  • 2 1/4 pounds of chard, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 1/3 cups of brown basmati rice
  • 5 1/4 cups of water
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)


In a stock pot, sauté the chopped spring onion in the oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add the chard and 1 1/3 cups of water and cook until the chard wilts, about 5-7 minutes. Add rice and 5 1/4 cups of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice and salt, cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat. Stir, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes until the dish "melds."
Serve with freshly ground pepper and garnish if wanted with feta or Parmesan.

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