Eat your greens. Haven’t we all heard that when we were little. In fact, even as fully grown adults, we struggle to get our dose of green leafy vegetables in our daily diet. But this simple 10 minute recipe will leave you with no excuses to include greens in your daily diet.
The star of this recipe, as the name suggests, is Chard, and the particular variety I have used is the Swiss Chard. While it is not as popular as its market neighbors like Kale or Spinach, it holds a powerhouse of nutrition to be benefited from. In particular, this leafy green is known for its high content of Vitamins A, C and K as well as fiber and minerals like iron and potassium. Chard is from the Beets family and is known for its bright colored stems (red, yellow, pink, purple and white). The most common variety is the one used in this recipe, however, when all the varieties are bunched together, they are sold as “Rainbow Chard”.
Swiss Chard has an earthy taste and unlike the Kale, both the leaves and the colorful stems can be cooked and eaten. This makes it just as versatile a leafy green as its competitors like Kale and Spinach. When buying Swiss Chard, ensure that the leaves are bright and the stems are firm. Avoid picking up any that have wilted leaves or signs of damage on the stems. Furthermore, I strongly recommend using the Swiss Chard within 1-2 days of purchase (stored loosely wrapped in a plastic bag). Because they are available year around, I see no reason why they need to be pre-prepared and stored for long periods. The fresher, the better.
The best way to prepare leafy greens greatly depends on type of leafy green and its nutrient content. For example, Vitamin C is water-soluble and heat sensitive. So cooking Swiss Chard (which is high in Vitamin C) with water will not only degrade the vitamin C, but it will cause it to leach into the water, leaving only the cell structure i.e. the leaves behind. On the other hand, nutrients like Vitamin A become “bio-available” because of the softening of the cell structure during cooking. Lesson – the cooking method has to be a fine balance between making the leaf palatable and make certain nutrients bio-available while preserving others.
This steamed Swiss Chard recipe takes 10 minutes from preparation to completion, resulting in a earthy tasting, beautifully colored dish. It is a great side with any meal comprised of rice, rotis and subzis.
|Prep time||5 minutes|
|Cook time||5 minutes|
- Chard – 1 bunch, roughly chopped (Any variety of Chard will be fine)
Spices and Herbs
- Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
- Garlic Powder – 1 tsp
- Roasted Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – As per taste
- Cooking Oil – 1 tbsp
Food safety tips
– Make sure to wash the leaves for 30 seconds under cold running water while gently rubbing the leaves to release any trapped dirt
– Separate leafy greens from raw meat or poultry products and use separate cutting boards for each to prevent bacterial cross contamination
– Discard leafy greens within 2 hours of chopping or cooking. Always buy leafy greens that are kept at a chilled temperature to prevent bacterial growth
How to cut Chard? (Visualize it if you can 🙂 )
- Cut of the stem (until the base of the leaf)
- Press your fingers on the stem between the leaf to check if it is tender. If yes, then it can be cooked and eaten
- Fold the leaf in half with the stem in the center. Then, starting at the stem, fold again
- Using a guillotine motion of the knife, chop the rolled leaf into thin strips. This knife technique is called “Chiffonade”
- If the stem is not tender, cut the leaf off by running the knife at the edge of the stem from the top to the bottom until the leaf is released from the stem
- In a pan, add oil
- Once it heats up, add cumin Seeds. Once they splutter, add garlic powder
- Immediately add the chopped chard and mix for 1 minute
- Add salt and roasted cumin powder
- Cover the lid and steam the chard for 3-4 minutes. This should be until the leafs have wilted slightly and the stems have cooked, but have not become mushy
- Turn of heat, transfer to serving bowl and enjoy the leafy greens. As an optional garnish, a squeeze of lemon juice of would be nice. Furthermore, some toasted walnuts, almonds or pine nuts would add a nice crunch too
- Use the steamed chard as a topping on a homemade pizza
- Use the steamed chard as an addition to a breakfast wrap or toast with hash or eggs
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