I found the most beautiful rainbow chard at the farmer’s market this week. In fact, it was so beautiful, I hated to cook it. The leaves were so plump and full and the stems so colorful and vivid, I wanted to just look at them all day. They were ruby red, fuchsia, lemony yellow, and light orange. Nature does stunning work.But, alas, uncooked chard soon becomes not so beautiful. So cook it, I must.
Chard is one of the most healthful vegetables on the planet. Chard has been found to help ward off osteoporosis, anemia, cardiovascular disease, colon and prostate cancers, high cholesterol, and vitamin-A deficiencies. Chard is a mega source of vitamin K—1 cup cooked chard provides almost 700% of daily recommended vitamin K. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, B vitamins, and minerals such as copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
The nice thing about rainbow chard is that it doesn’t lose its color altogether after you cook it, so you can still have a colorful, beautiful meal. There are many things you can do with chard but I decided to simply sauté mine in garlic and olive oil and add Roman beans, which in Italian are called borlotti. This is hearty enough to stand on its own as an entrée but light enough to have as a side dish as well. My favorite way is to eat it with some fresh, crusty Italian bread. Bread? Oh, my god. Yes, the demon bread. I don’t care. You can have bread made of anything at all that suits your diet, but if there’s any dish that calls for bread, it’s this. Especially if you enjoy sopping up the juices at the end, like I do. Or, you can have it with noodles, rice, or just by itself.
So here’s my very simple recipe for Sautéed Rainbow chard with Roman Beans. Enjoy!
Sautéed Rainbow Chard with Roman Beans
2 bunches rainbow chard
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
½ teaspoon paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can roman beans, drained and rinsed
Wash the chard well. Cut off the stems at the leaves and trim off about 1/2 inch from the bottoms, or more if they are browned or mushy. Cut out the thick parts of the ribs in the center of the leaves. Slice the stems and ribs into ¼-inch-thick pieces.
Roughly chop the leaves.Heat the oil in a wide pan. Add the garlic and saute just until it begins to brown. Add paprika then stems and ribs.Sprinkle in ½ teaspoon salt and saute until they are tender and start to brown. Begin adding the leaves. You’ll probably have to add the them in batches. Pile the leaves and sprinkle some salt. Cover the pan and let the leaves cook down. Continue adding leaves until you added them all. Make sure to sprinkle in some salt with each batch—it will help break down the leaves. When all the leaves have wilted, stir it all together.
Add the beans, some pepper, and about ¼ cup water; stir. Cover the pan and cook about 5 minutes.Serve with crusty bread as a main dish or side dish.