Nourishing Color

Deep green, softly scalloped leaves.  Rich red, yellow, orange, and purple veins. Swiss chard is among the most beautiful of the leafy green vegetables. The rainbow Swiss chard, well, you can’t help but grab a bunch, bring it home, and then… then what?

You may struggle with HOW to eat more leafy green vegetables, even if you earnestly want to work these nutreint powerhouses into your daily menu. Swiss chard, after all, is a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, and calcium. Although it provides only a fraction of the calcium you get from a glass of milk, it brings you a hefty dose of magnesium and vitamin K, also critical for building healthy bones. Swiss chard is an excellent source of iron. And as the seasons change, who doesn’t need the immune-protecting qualities of vitamins C, A, and E? That’s right, beauty is more than skin deep with this veggie.

But again, HOW do you cook it! As some of my friends and family recently commented on Facebook, this is one green that can be enjoyed “naked.” Unlike some of the more bitter greens, Swiss chard is complemented nicely with just a little vegetable oil (different oils for flavor variety), a pinch of salt, a dash of spice. Steaming or stir-frying are a great way to preserve flavor and texture, as well as nutritional value, in cooking. It’s an easy add to soups, as well.

I recently threw this one together for a one-dish meal that includes grains, legumes, nuts, leafy greens, and healthy fats (fat also helps absorption of the veggie vitamins!). Hope you enjoy! 

  1. Cook Gemelli or any pasta according to directions, drain, and set aside.
  2. While pasta cooks, wash and roughly chop the Swiss chard, then set aside.
  3. Drain and rinse a can of black beans and set aside.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Saute 1 tsp minced garlic and a handful of pine nuts until very lightly browned, sprinkle in a dash of salt, then immediately add the Swiss chard to the skillet. Using tongs, turn the chard in the pan until it is slighly wilted.
  6. Add black beans and pasta to Swiss chard mixture and turn mixture with tongs untill well-heated.
  7. If you like, serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and/or black pepper. 

What is your favorite green leafy vegetable recipe?

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