Leafy greens. We hear so much about them these days. The world, including me, has woken up to the fact that we need to eat these super greens daily for optimal health. Now, if you are like me, you might be a little scared to try them. Believe me, I was. I mean they’re totally scary–big and green and they’re vegetables. Run for cover!
My friend, Laura, told me a few years ago that she would like to prepare broccoli for me and then we’d see if I really hated it or not. As it turned out, I just didn’t like the overcooked, limp broccoli like I remembered from the school cafeteria and buffet restaurants. It turned out, I just needed someone to prepare it in a delicious way.
Leafy greens are the same. If you think you don’t like them, perhaps you’ve never had them prepared correctly. (I forgive you if you hate them because of a texture thing. I have that problem with mushrooms.)
Look how pretty this Rainbow Chard is! Do you feel your body screaming for you to saute it in a little olive oil with some garlic and onions and consume it as quickly as possible? Man, it’s good. You can sneak greens into quite a few recipes and it’s a great way to work up to eating the suggested daily amount, about 2 1/2 to 3 cups per day for the average person.
If you think you don’t like leafy greens, start with mild greens like spinach and chard. Then work up to trying other kinds. (This is a great list of leafy greens.) Eating them raw counts too, so don’t forget to factor a salad or two in your weekly menu plans.
One day I was going through old issues of Cooks’ Illustrated found a recipe for some kind of chicken with chard on the side. I honestly can’t remember anything about the chicken. All I remember is the chard with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. I started to salivate.
We make green beans with potatoes and tomatoes as often as we can during the summer. So, thought I, why not sub chard for the green beans? I did and it was a party on my plate. I ate mine over quinoa to make it a more hearty meal. You could do the same or you could serve it as is on the side of chicken or beef. Or just eat it plain. You’ll love it. Cross my heart.
Want a closer look?
1 large bunch organic chard (red, rainbow, or Swiss), 5-6 leaves
1 Tbsp. or more olive oil (you can use canola or another oil, or butter)
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups canned or fresh tomatoes (a small can of diced would be great)
4-5 Yukon gold or all-purpose potatoes (peeled or unpeeled), cut into 1/2″ dice
salt and pepper
splash of balsamic vinegar
cooked quinoa, for serving
Wash and dry the leaves. Cut down the center of each leaf to remove the rib. Save the rib, if desired, and slice thinly. (You can cook this up along with the onions.) Place the leaves on top of each other and chop into 1/8-1/4″ pieces. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and add the potatoes. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook until they are nicely browned and almost cooked through. Place the cooked potatoes in a bowl and set aside. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until tender. Add the chard and quickly saute until it starts to wilt. Put the potatoes and the tomatoes into the skillet with the chard. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Let it continue to cook for a few minutes to let the flavors meld a bit. Then remove from heat and add a little balsamic vinegar. Serve as is or over cooked quinoa or rice.
Makes enough for 4 people with hearty appetites.
Now, are you going to be brave and add some more greens into your diet?