Eat Local! Swiss Chard
February 29, 2016
Contrary to its name, Swiss Chard is not native to Switzerland. Although it does prefer a cooler growing season, it is actually native to the Mediterranean region.
Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about Swiss Chard’s medicinal properties in the 4th century BC, doting over its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential. Today, Swiss Chard remains known for it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (it is a vegetable…) but now we know how important it is for optimal bone health. Because Swiss Chard provides the minerals needed to prevent bone loss, like vitamin K, calcium and magnesium, it is a perfect choice for those at high-risk for osteoporosis (post-menopausal Caucasian women). Just 1 cup of Swiss Chard (chopped and boiled) supplies 636% of the daily value goal for vitamin K – a nutrient everybody could use more of!
Swiss Chard can be a tough leafy green so I recommend gently blanching the leaves before eating in a salad or wrap – or adding it to a dish that will be cooked. Swiss Chard should have dark green leaves and yellow or rainbow-colored stems. Leaves should be devoid of holes and yellowing. To remove the stems, lay leaves flat on a cutting board and follow the crease between the stem and leave with a sharp knife. Lay de-stemmed leaves on top of each other and roll up to create a “ribbon” or “chiffonaded” style of leaves.
Valentine’s Day Frittata
This delicious frittata is a great way to start the day – and not just Valentine’s Day – with a healthy dose of protein and vegetables.
Yields 8 slices
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
1 bunch chard (divided) – stems removed & minced, leaves reserved
2 gloves garlic, minced
8 pasture-raised eggs
¼ cup half-and-half, cream or milk
2-3 small zucchinis, cut in half moons
2-3 handfuls of Swiss chard leaves, chiffonaded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup shredded fresh basil
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat broiler. In a large broiler-proof skillet (a cast iron works great), heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and finely minced chard stems; cook just until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together eggs and half-and-half with a little salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over onion mixture in skillet and add zucchini and greens. Cook over medium heat. As mixture sets, run a spatula around edge of skillet, lifting egg mixture so that the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking and lifting edge until egg mixture is nearly set and surface is just slightly moist.
Add cherry tomato halves in a design of your choice, then sprinkle Parmesan over top and broil 4-5 min or until top is set (when jiggled) and cheese and tomatoes are golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve in bed to your sweetie 🙂
Italian White Beans and Garlicky Swiss Chard
What a way to continue to celebrate the Year of the Pulses by pairing Italian white beans with Swiss chard!
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups Swiss chard (about 1 bunch), rinsed and chopped
¼ cup low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 ½ cups cooked)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in chard, broth and pepper flakes. Cover and cook over medium heat about 4 minutes or until chard is wilted and crisp-tender. Add beans and heat through, about 5 minutes.
Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar, if desired. Pair with chicken sausage, fish, tempeh or another plant-based protein to make a complete meal.
– Recipe adapted from “Well-Fed Heart”
Article by Darci Barman, MSN, RDN, LD, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist practicing “foods-first”, functional nutrition at Pilgrim’s Wellness Clinic in Coeur d Alene and Thyme for You Nutrition in Spokane Valley, WA. For more information, see www.darcibarman.com