I love Swiss chard. It's surprisingly hard to find, though; it ought to be sold at every supermarket in the country. Why? Because it's healthy, for one. A close relative of beets and spinach, chard is one of the healthiest vegetables around. It's loaded not only with the standard nutrients (vitamins and minerals) but also with phytonutrients—those anti-oxidants that gobble up the oxidants in our body, caused by, well, breathing.
Starting to sound a little too healthy? Then eat chard for the second reason: it's delicious! Unlike spinach, which wilts rapidly when cooked, chard stands up to a few minutes in the frying pan quite well, meaning more seared-in flavor. (Like the Swiss, chard is neutral in flavor, allowing it to absorb flavors from its neighbors.)
Chard cooks quickly, so for those of us who wait until the last minute to decide what to cook for dinner, this recipe should be in your repertoire. This sautéed chard with red onions, garlic and lemon juice is a perfect side dish, but if you want to turn it into a main, add a cup or two of white beans and find a grain to serve underneath.
Printable directions here, or keep reading for more illustrative photos.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced
freshly ground black pepper
juice of ½ lemon
*Optional: 1 ½ cup cooked white beans
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the red onion and the stems of the chard and saute for a few minutes over medium-high heat, until the onion begins to be tinged with dark edges.
Add the chard and the garlic and continue to cook 4-5 minutes. Toss in the lemon zest and add salt and pepper to taste.