Food challenge: Swiss Chard
This week we challenge you to make something with Swiss chard.
A few weeks ago, on my personal Facebook page, I posted a picture of the beautiful produce I picked up from my local farmers’ market -- farm-raised eggs, colorful red peppers and tomatoes, kohlrabi, and a few bunches of rainbow chard. In the comments that followed the question became obvious: What is and how do you cook that colorful, leafy vegetable?
Swiss chard, also known as Mangold in Germany, is a multicolored vegetable that hails not from Switzerland, but from the Mediterranean region.
It is a true superfood filled with a powerful punch of vitamins and minerals. According to the George Mateljan Foundation, chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, which the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition categorizes as powerful combatants against diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
Alana Sugar, Certified Nutritionist for Whole Foods Market, states that chard also helps boost immune system support by having high vitamin C and vitamin K content. Just one cup of cooked Swiss chard supplies more than a third of your daily value of vitamin C. Vitamin E, another chard superstar, has shown anti-inflammatory effects and helps protect tissue from oxidation damage.
The best part is that chard is very easy to prepare and is a surefire way to add nutrition and color to any dish.
It’s also a vegetable that has little to no waste. Unlike other varieties of greens, both the leaves and the stems of chard can be consumed.
There are three types of Swiss chard: Rainbow, red, and white. The only difference between the three is their color. The taste and nutritional value remains the same no matter which variety you choose. It is best to purchase organic chard whenever possible, as chard falls under “greens” in the Environmental Work Group’s Dirty Dozen shopping list.
In the recipes below, substitute coconut oil for the recipes calling for cooking on or above medium heat. Finding anything other than extra virgin olive oil is tough and you should never use extra virgin olive oil for anything higher than medium low heat cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has a very low smoke point and can be damaged. If you can find regular virgin olive oil, use that, but it can be very difficult to find. Try coconut oil instead. Don’t worry, your food won’t taste like coconut, but your kitchen may smell like a sunny afternoon on the beach.