Taste the Rainbow

Confession: I used to shun the chard.

Bulky and mysterious (like its fridge-hog friend, collard greens), chard made it home with me only when the swap box overflowed at the end of pickup day.

Not anymore.

Thumbing through Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty last winter, when the Swiss chard was a weekly sharebox occupant, I ran across a preparation that, after a few tweaks, quickly became a household staple—as in, I make a batch just about every other week.

We’ve used it as a side (try it with these yogurt-marinated chicken thighs) and as a main (on its own or over brown rice or farro). Bonus: if you prep the greens ahead of time, it pulls together in under 20 minutes, plus it’s a healthy gem in tomorrow’s lunchbox.

These days, I actually swap for chard. Crazy.

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Regular ol’ Swiss is hardly monochromatic, but the stained-glass shards of rainbow chard stems make for a visually arresting (and delicious) dish.
Chard, Carrot & Chickpea Sauté

Serves 4. Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, sub in some mint and/or parsley.

  • 1 bundle of Swiss or rainbow chard (about a pound)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus a drizzle at serving
  • 1-1/2 cups diced carrots (roughly 2 large or 4 medium)
  • 1 13- to 15-oz can of chickpeas (about 1-1/2 cups), mostly drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper, to taste
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I generally prep the greens on CSA-delivery day so that they’re ready when I’m ready.

 

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Destemmed, washed, and wrapped in paper towels they’ll keep in a zipper bag for up to a week if you squish most of the air out.

Set a pot of salted water to boil.

Meanwhile, trim and halve the stalks (just so they fit comfortably in the pot), but keep the leaves whole for now, since that makes them a little easier to deal with later on.

Blanch the stalks for 5 minutes. Halfway through, add the leaves.

Drain everything into a colander (in the sink, please), and run cold water through until the greens are cool enough to handle. Squeeze out as much water as you can, then give it all a rough chop. Set aside while you get the carrots working.

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and caraway seeds; sauté for about 5 minutes.

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With 1-1/2 cups of beans, I usually add about 1/4 cup of the liquid.

Add the chickpeas and their liquid, plus the coriander and cumin. Stir to incorporate the spices, then add the chard (both leaves and stems), and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for just a minute or two more. Taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with a dollop or two of the yogurt, another drizzle of good olive oil, and a big pinch of cilantro.

 

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This here is definitely not a sad desk lunch.

 

 

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Yes to Swiss chard! I used to swap out my chard for other veggies, too, but I have learned to love them so. They grow so well out here in CO – we have three plants, and they are cranking out their leafy greens like crazy right now. Love the addition of Greek yogurt here, too.

    1. Susan says:

      Yes! I’m planting some alongside the lettuce starts as soon as our heat breaks (with luck, this weekend).

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