Is Swiss chard the new kale? Only time will tell, but this versatile vegetable should not be ignored. It’s a wonderfully nutritious plant that can be eaten fresh, steamed, braised, juiced, sautéed, frozen and/or dried.
It is full of dietary fiber and is great for your digestive tract. It’s full of vitamin K, which is good for your bones. It’s got carotenes, vitamins C and E in good supply, vitamin B6, calcium and protein, as well as a host of other nutrients.
Sturdier but more mellow than spinach, it has celery-like stems that add texture, and it’s available almost year-round.
Choose greens with large, juicy stems. Try red, rainbow or white-stemmed.
Refrigerate the chard in a plastic bag for up to three days. Before preparing, chard needs to be washed thoroughly. Place chard in a sink full of water, swish it around, and wait a few minutes; the sand will settle to the bottom. Remove the leaves, drain the sink and refill it, then repeat the process.
Try it in any recipe calling for spinach. Or these favorites:
Rinse, drain and trim chard. Pat completely dry. Chop both stalks and leaves into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Press chard in and sauté‚ until it wilts, about 3 minutes. Add chickpeas, rice, wheat berries and seasonings, except tahini. Continue to sauté for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 cups of water. Cover pan and reduce heat to simmer.
Simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes or until rice and wheat berries are completely cooked. Check water level frequently and add water if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in tahini. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.
Rinse, trim and dry the chard leaves. Chop coarsely into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Stir in minced onion and sauté‚ about one minute. Add the garlic, dried pepper, turmeric, cumin and ginger. Sauté‚ 2 minutes.
Add the prepared chard, pressing it in, and cook until wilted, using tongs to ensure even cooking. Lower heat to low. Stir in yogurt and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook, uncovered about 2 minutes. Remove dried pepper. Serve immediately.
Rinse, drain and trim the chard leaves. Pat completely dry. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Mince in two batches in blender or food processor, scraping sides as necessary.
Add parsley, basil, garlic and cheese. Mince until a uniform consistency is achieved. Add olive oil slowly while machine is running.
Gradually add the hot water while continuing to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Store in a tightly sealed, covered container in refrigerator.
Rinse, drain and trim chard leaves. Steam for 2 minutes over boiling water in a metal steamer.
Drain in a colander, pressing out excess liquid with the back of a spoon. Mince the onion in a food processor. Set aside. Do not wash out processor bowl. Purée chard leaves, scraping sides as necessary, until a fine consistency is achieved.
Combine chard with remaining ingredients. Chill, tightly closed, for at least 2 hours.
Use as an appetizer with crudités, breadsticks or crackers. May also be used as a salad dressing or ladled over any steamed vegetable.
Rivka Tal is a former Minnesotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: [email protected] .