Take Chard of your Health
By Mark Mulcahy
There is a lot of hoopla around Kale these days. It seems as if everyone is talking about it or trying the latest Kale recipe. And yet long before Kale was King, Swiss Chard reigned supreme. As the Queen of gorgeous greens, Melissa’s Organic Chard enjoys a rich nutritional profile, interesting history, and surprising versatility. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, then this Queen may be the green for you!
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most of us could be deficient in crucial nutrients such as Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Vitamins A, C, K, & E. Chard is a wonderful addition to any meal by being rated a ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ source of all of these. In the joust for superfood stardom consider this, compared to Kale, Chard contains fewer Calories, and more Fiber, Protein, Calcium and Iron.
Hailing from Sicily, Chard is adored around the world, for many reasons and in many ways. In Germany it could be combined with bacon and nutmeg, whereas in Egypt, maybe taro and coriander. The name “Swiss” was added to distinguish chard from French chardon by nineteenth century seed catalogues and the name stuck. Why Swiss? Named in honor of the Swiss botanist Koch who determined the scientific name. On her culinary conquest, Chard came to America around 1830 and gained in popularity after the Civil War. Historically, the stems have held more prominence in European cuisine, whereas Americans tend to prefer the leaves. I say they are both genuinely delectable and worth finding a use for in your meal plan each week.
If you like spinach, then you’ll adore Melissa’s Organic Chard! This earthy, yet mild green possesses slightly bitter or pungent undertones. Chards sweetness can be influenced by time of year, size of the leaf, and cooking method. Chard grown in cooler seasons tends to be a bit sweeter, which makes springtime Chard an excellent buy! Doing a quick boil of your Chard reduces the oxalic acid that can block the absorption of iron and also add to its bitterness.
How do you do a quick boil? Slice leaves 1-inch wide and the stems ½ inch wide and boil for just 2-3 minutes.
Here are a couple of other ways to get the best flavor from this Queen of greens:
Combine with creamy, sweet, or tangy things to help minimize Chard’s slightly mineral taste. A splash of balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a bit of crumbled feta are all complementary companions to this wonderful green. Once you have tried Chard, your taste buds will tell you what you like best. One last key point to maximize your enjoyment of this delicious and nutritious green, make sure to taste your chard dish before you automatically add salt. This veggie is considered a ‘salt accumulator’ from having originated on the coasts of the Mediterranean, and contains higher sodium than some other cooking greens.
The versatility of chard is endless. In my journey for new recipes I found Chard Pesto, Gratins, and even Pickled Chard Stems! I’m always looking for new ways to try things; I love to eat with my hands and will say yes to almost any new adventure. So when I found this recipe I knew I had hit the jackpot!
Check out the recipe and give yourself the royal treatment by picking up some Melissa’s Organic Chard the next time you are in the produce department. Then start Charding a course to take your taste buds on a culinary adventure they won't forget!
Swiss Chard Taco Wraps with Cumin-Lime Sauce
For the Cumin-Lime Sauce:
3 tablespoons Fresh Organic Lime Juice (from 1 to 2 large limes)
1 teaspoon Organic Lime zest
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Organic Scallions, minced-white and light green parts only (I save the rest of the onion and tops for baked taters or to add to omelets)
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin + more if you like the heat
⅛ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 tablespoon Honey
½ teaspoon Fine Grain Sea Salt
For the Wraps:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 (15-ounce) can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups Fresh or Frozen Organic Corn Kernels
2 cup Organic Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small Organic Red Onion, diced
1 small Organic Bell Pepper, diced
3 cups Cooked Brown Rice
2 cups Fresh Organic Cilantro, finely chopped
12 Swiss Chard Leaves, stems removed (save these for a sauté or gratin later in the week)
Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar and secure it with a lid. Shake vigorously until the dressing is well combined. You can also do this with an immersion blender or food processor. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the black beans, corn, pepper, tomatoes, red onion, and pepper. Cook until just heated through. About 5-8 minutes. Toss in cooked rice and fresh cilantro, and then toss with the dressing. Season with a little salt and stir until well combined.
To assemble the tacos, scoop a healthy portion of the veggie mixture into each chard leaf and either wrap like a burrito or hold like a corn tortilla. Add a few pickled jalapeños, avocado, shredded cheese and a small dash of hot sauce, if desired.