What is it? Chard is a bitter green, and in order to enjoy it you have to know how to cook it. They belong to the same family as beets and spinach, and rank highly among the super greens. I enjoy eating the stems raw, especially if I'm feeling run down. They are, um, invigorating, give it a go sometime.
Why Should I eat it? Fuh-IBER! This plant has close to 15% of a person's recommended daily intake, and these bonus nutrients: vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E and dietary fiber. It is a very good source of copper, calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and protein. In addition, Swiss chard is a good source of phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, folate, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid.
This vegetable has whole body benefits, you can read an in depth article here.
How should I cook it? My personal favorite is sauteed with onion, garlic, olive oil and chicken. Chard is naturally salty, and makes the dish virtually seasoning free, save for a little black pepper.
Use chard in place of cooked spinach, and pair with any meat, poultry or fish. If you are having trouble getting used to the flavor, use bacon(!) to help you transition.
Traditional (Northern Italian Chard)
1 yellow onion
1 bunch Swiss Chard chopped
3-4 garlic cloves diced (roast these bad boys for extra WOW power)
pre cooked chicken (baked or pan fried)
copious amounts of olive oil
dash of red pepper flakes
1. Chop onion coarsely and throw in a large pot with nothing coating (I use a cast iron dutch oven) That's right, no oil. This will make them soft and sweet. Once the onions are close to translucent, pour some olive oil in and cook a little more.
2. Throw the diced garlic and pepper flakes in and cook 2-3 minutes
3. Put the chard in and cover. Let steam slightly for a couple of minutes, then start stirring.
4 Once the chard is wilted, place pre-cooked chicken in to heat up and soak up some juice/oil.
*Original recipe calls for white kidney beans, but this makes the dish non Paleo. If you go for the beans, watch the measurements so you don't go over in carb blocks. Just like black beans, the serving size is 1/4c per 1 block.
How does this fit in with the Zone? Chard is one of those veggies that is over 1c per serving, so just pay attention to the onion. Cooked onion is about 1/4c per carb block. If you are sad about the dish not being salty enough for you, add in a little vegetable or chicken broth around step three. Just a touch, you don't want to make soup.