6 Aug 2008

Chard by Request

As per Cybercelt of the Blog Village Communtity and Endangered Spaces Blog request.

Chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla), also known as Swiss chard and perpetual spinach, is a green leafed vegetable often mistaken for spinach. Regular chard has creamy white stems (ribs, stalks) with dark green leaves. In some countries red/yellow stemmed chard and red leaved chard is available. Chard is believed to originally come from Sicily and has nothing to do with the Swiss.

It is extremely nutritious. An excellent source of vitamins K, A, C and E, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and with plenty dietary fiber. It is also a very good source of vitamins B1,B2 and B6, and tryptophan, calcium, copper, phosphorus, zinc and folate.

The vitamin K in chard, one cup providing 300% of daily requirement, helps maintain bone health, the vitamin A in chard improves eyesight and fights viral infections, and the magnesium in chard keeps your blood circulating smoothly, relaxes nerves and muscles and balances blood sugar levels. One cup of steamed chard is only 35 calories so excellent for weight loss diets. This only touches on a few ways that eating chard regularly helps to maintain optimum health.

NOTE: Due to chard containing oxalic acid, calcium supplements should only be taken 3 or more hours after eating it as chard counteracts calcium absorption. People with untreated kidney and gallbladder problems must also beware of the oxalates in chard, never eat raw and eat sparingly when cooked.

The best way to obtain chard is to grow it yourself as young, newly picked leaves are great to eat. It is often called perpetual spinach as you can cut outside leaves off regularly to eat and the plant continues to grow, producing more and more leaves. Plants last for many months. They are easy to grow, need little attention except watering and can withstand frost.

When purchasing chard at the market make sure that the stems are firm and crisp and the leaves are not yellowed or wilted. Do not wash before storing, place in a paper bag or loose in the vegetable drawer of the fridge, eat within a couple of days or they will wilt. They can also be blanched and frozen.

Young leaves are best for salad and older leaves should be cooked. With older chard the stems need longer cooking than the leaves, so start cooking them first. They can also be cooked as separate dishes. They are interchangeable with spinach in most dishes.


White Bean, Greens and Tomato Gratin
From the Vegetarian Times "Dairy-Free Recipe of the Week" Newsletter

1 large bunch chard (1 3/4lbs / 800gms)
2 tbsps cold pressed olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups cooked or canned white beans, rinsed and drained if canned
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 tbsps cold pressed olive oil
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F / 175C. Grease 10" / 25cm oval gratin or baking dish. Remove tough stems from chard and rinse well. Stack greens and cut into thin strips. In skillet/wok heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add greens and cook until tender, tossing often, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, thyme and salt and mix well. Spoon into prepared gratin dish, spreading evenly. Topping: In small bowl, mix all ingredients. Sprinkle evenly over top of greens mixture. Bake until hot, about 40 minutes. 4 servings

Garlic and Olive Swiss Chard
From Epicurean

1 bunch Swiss chard (1lb / 450gms)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 dozen Kalamata olives, chopped

Wash the chard, cut away the stems and chop the leaves. In large skillet/wok, heat the olive oil. Add garlic and red pepper flakes- saute for one minute. Add the chard, saute, turning frequently. Stir in lemon juice and olives, heat through. Serves 6 as side dish.

Swiss Chard Topped with Marinated Portobello Mushrooms
From the Vegetarian Times

2 portobello mushrooms, about 5 oz / 140g each
4 tbsps tamari
2 tbsps vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsps cider vinegar
2 tbsps cold pressed sesame oil
4 tsps minced shallots / spring onions
2 tsps vegan country-style Dijon mustard
2 bunches red swiss chard (green also OK)
1 tsp plus 1 1/2 tsps cold pressed olive oil
4 tsps minced garlic

Wipe mushroom caps with a damp cloth; remove stems. In shallow bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons tamari, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, shallots and mustard. Add mushroom caps and marinate 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, remove stems from chard and coarsely chop. In large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chard and remaining 2 tablespoons tamari. Cover and cook until wilted, 4
minutes. Uncover and set aside. Wipe out pan. Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Remove mushrooms from marinade; reserve marinade. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, 4 minutes per side. To serve, reheat chard and divide among plates. Cut mushrooms into 1/2- inch-thick slices. Arrange sliced mushrooms over chard and drizzle with remaining marinade if desired. 4 Servings.

Juiced Garden Greens
From Martha Stewart Living

Green-vegetable juice is sweetened with fruit juices to make a wonderful, energizing morning beverage. A piece of ginger root adds a healthy kick and a bit of bite.

1 unpeeled cucumber
2oz / 50g green Swiss chard
3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1/2 Granny Smith apple
3/4 cup cubed honeydew melon
1 celery stalk
1/4 fennel bulb
1-inch piece of fresh ginger

Place all ingredients in an electric juicer and juice. Divide between two glasses and serve.

Watercress, Red Chard and Mint Salad
From The Times On Line
By Lucas Hollweg
The simplest of side dishes pepped up with mustard and mint. Use young leaves.

2 tsp dijon mustard
1½ tsp redwine vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 big handfuls of watercress
6 big handfuls of baby red chard leaves
1 small handful of mint – say 25-30 leaves

In a big salad bowl, mix together the mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil until thoroughly combined – you want it to emulsify, so add it a few drops at a time. Throw in the salad leaves and tear the mint over the top. Toss everything in the dressing until properly coated. Serves 6 as a side dish.

Swiss Stalks with Garlic and Parsley

7 oz / 200 g Swiss chard stalks, cut into 2" / 4cm long pieces
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsps parsley, chopped
fresh grounded black pepper

Add Swiss chard stalks into a pot of boiling water, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes until tender; drain and set aside. In pan sweat garlic in olive oil for a few minutes over medium-low heat until it just turns light brown . Add Swiss chard stalks, parsley, salt and pepper. Raise heat to moderately high, stirring and cook for 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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aTxVegn said...

I love the recipes you posted - simply flavored and easy to prepare. I love all the greens but don't eat them cooked as often as I do raw in salads.

Rural Vegan said...

Would you believe I've never had chard, except in soup? Shame on me!

Fruity said...

Don't think I have eaten this veg before.

Jackie said...

I have never had chard either that I know of....shame on me too.

I have something for you....thanks for hanging in there with me through these difficult times!!

Bunches of hugs:-))))))

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jackie:
Thanxs for visiting my blog earlier today. Appreciate it.

Chard? That is a new one to me. Is it available in the US? I will look into it, sounds like a flexible and nutritious veggie.

Take Care,

Waterrose said...

Sometimes I think that I need a chart of when I can eat what. I take allergy medicine and need to make sure I'm not eating anything with calcium for about 3 hours prior to taking the allergy pill. I was watching the news this morning and they were talking about vitamin D and that you needed to make sure you were either doing this or not doing that so that you could absorb the D. OHHHH it gets so confusing! Thanks for the information...eventually it will all sink in.

Unknown said...

These are some fantastic looking recipes. I wonder how much vegetable protien is in them, as well as fiber. I'm sure a good amount, which makes them that much more attractive.


Anonymous said...

Thanks! I need those vitamins now.


I have never had Chard but it sounds like I need to do that! Love the recipes!

Mihl said...

Wow, you even have a recipe for the stems. That's awesome because I usually don't use them. Now I can save them for this recipe.
P.S. A couple of days ago, in a comment on my blog, you mentioned that you grow your own ginger. Now my boyfriend wants to grow his own ginger too :)

Laura said...

I'm going to try some of these out! You and some of your readers might want to check out the new Raw documentary Simply Raw

Naomi said...

That's very interesting Jackie. I've never heard of Chard before. Spinach isn't that popular over here in England. It's a shame really as it's so good for you.

inland empire restaurant and food reviews said...

I'll have to make some chard now!!!

Kumudha said...

I often see chard, but I just don't know what to cook with it...

Thanks for sharing so many nutritious recipes with chard.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Chard is definitely one of my favorite veggies. In fact, I had some today!

dreamy said...

I have always thought oxalic acid inhibits iron absorbtion but I didn;t knew it does so with calcium as well! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I dont think i have eaten this veg. before.

urban vegan said...

I've always loved chard, but Omniman doesn't care for it. Maybe these recipes will change his mind.