Let’s take a little reprieve from deliberating the perils of processed food, and enjoy a nice refreshing recipe, okay? We’re here to savor the joy and nourishment of real, wholesome food. Cheers to that.
Swiss chard is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. Seriously, I cannot get enough. Happily, it also turns out to be a power food, chock full of antioxidants, carotenoids, fiber, and a load of vitamins. Heartier than spinach but more delicate than kale, this visually stunning veggie is one of the loveliest ways to get your leafy greens. It’s even tasty raw, in a surprising salad with brussels sprouts, sunflower seeds, and a maple-mustard vinaigrette in one of my new favorite cookbooks.
It’s also fantastic in a light stew with tomatoes and canellini beans (a recipe I turn to again and again) or a vibrant wheat berry salad with avocado and feta. Perhaps the simplest, most classic preparation is just a quick sauté with olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic if you like. But I decided swiss chard deserves better. With a fragrant blend of ginger and garlic, the swift kick of red pepper, and the bright bitterness of orange, this dish delivers.
Serve it as a colorful side dish. Stir in chickpeas or quinoa for a hearty vegan meal. Add a dribble of soy sauce and scatter with sesame seeds for an Asian twist. Or follow my delicious example, and fold it into a sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwich with tangy mustard. Make sure to use quality bread from your local bakery. If you need a liquid accompaniment, I suggest honey ginger lemonade. Don’t skimp on the mint (or vodka)!
Spicy Swiss Chard with Carrots and Ginger
1 large bunch swiss/rainbow chard, washed and roughly chopped
Stems from chard, diced, optional*
2/3 cup shredded carrots (use pre-shredded, your grater will make them too soft)
4 scallions, white/palest green part only, sliced*
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
knob of ginger (same size as garlic)
about 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on your taste for heat)
1/2 tsp fresh orange zest
Salt to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Watch it closely to avoid burning the garlic, and cook just until golden and fragrant, about one minute.
- Stir in scallions, carrots, and the chard stems. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until carrots soften slightly.
- Add chard leaves, orange zest and salt. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes, until chard wilts to your liking.
*To avoid waste, freeze the scraps from your scallions and chard stems (if you’re not into the texture) to make vegetable stock later.