Seasonal Salute: Rainbow Chard
Gardening is just the most amazing thing. I’m always in awe watching what comes up out of the dirt after there was nothing weeks ago. We planted rainbow chard again this year – I love it. It’s inspired me to highlight seasonal selections from my garden and local farm stands this summer. Does anyone belong to a CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture)? Having your own garden can be a bit like that: I have this box (or garden in my case) of produce, now what do I do? Well, we ate a LOT of salads last week! As I’ve said before…the garden/nature doesn’t wait. That’s also the beauty of a garden or CSA: you have to deal with your bounty. It inspired me to think about and research different ways to enjoy eating our rainbow chard. Last year was the first time we grew it and ate it!
Don’t be intimidated by the largeness of the leaves and stems. It’s super easy to clean and separate them – see my video below (note how little space I have!). The video is for collard greens, but the same technique applies to all large leafy greens like rainbow or swiss chard, kale and spinach. Also, the same technique is used for each recipe.
How to remove the leaves from the stems:
How to slice the leaves into ribbons or how to prepare a chiffonade of chard leaves:
Chiffonade which means “made of rags” in french, is the technique illustrated in the video above! The preparation is also used for leafy herbs like basil and mint. Now aren’t you fancy-shmancy knowing not only what it means, but how to do it!
Reminder: each recipe uses the same techniques to prepare the rainbow chard – separate the leaves from the stems, chop the stems and slice the leaves into ribbons (or a chiffonade!). Set aside and grin smartly because you know how to do it!
Here are two Chard recipes for you to enjoy!
Rainbow Chard with Lemon Pasta
*This recipe is Gluten Free only if you use Gluten Free pasta or acceptable substitute. Whole Wheat pasta is not Gluten Free.*
- 1 bunch rainbow or swiss chard, trimmed and stems removed and cut, leaves sliced into a chiffonade (see how-to videos above!)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
- 4 1/2 Cups vegetable broth
- 1 lb. whole wheat fusilli pasta
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chard stems, season with salt and pepperand cook about 3 minutes. Add the shallots and season with another pinch of salt and red pepper flake.
Add the vegetable stock and fusilli. Turn up the heat to maintain a vigorous boil and cook until just about done – 12 minutes or so. Stir in the chard leaves and cook until the leaves wilt down and pasta is finished – about another 3 minutes. Test pasta for doneness. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and adjust the seasoning as needed. After plating, sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano.
Warm Salad of Rainbow Chard and Lentils
- 1 Cup duPuy, brown or green lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
- 2 1/2 Cups water
- 6 large Rainbow or Swiss Chard leaves with stems removed and sliced and leaves sliced into a chiffonade (see how-to videos above!)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- Optional: crumbled Feta cheese
Bring lentils and water to a boil over high heat, cover reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. While the lentils are simmering, prepare vinaigrette using recipe below. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave lentils covered for 5 more minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Stir in salt and pepper.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over meduim heat. Add chard stems and season with salt and pepper. Cook stems for about a minute. Add sliced leaves (it will seem like a whole lot, but they will wilt down) and cook for a minute more, until they turn bright green and start to wilt. Remove the skillet from heat.
Carefully fold in chard and top with the vinaigrette to taste. I start with about 1/4 Cup since the salad is warm and will absorb the vinaigrette. I leave the rest on the side for guests to drizzle on to their heart’s content!
Note: if you plan to eat leftovers, don’t be alarmed if the colors turn “muddy”. It will still be perfectly delicious! Try adding some crumbled feta cheese to brighten it up a bit.
Classic Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 Cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: minced shallots and/or fresh herbs like thyme or chives
Whisk the Dijon mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and optional shallots/herbs in a mixing bowl. Whisk again before serving if ingredients start to separate.
Recipes inspired by Food52, Serious Eats, gingerroot, Alton Brown & Ina Garten