I don’t know how it’s possible that I had never eaten Swiss chard before a couple of weeks ago. I should clarify: I hadn’t knowingly eaten Swiss chard until recently. I was pretty clueless about the foods that I was consuming until a couple of years ago when I finally began cooking and preparing my own food. Before then, I ate mostly pre-packaged food and take-out. If you think I’m joking, you should know that I lived in the same apartment during college for 3 years and never once in those three years did I use the oven. Not once. That’s just pathetic. And disgusting. If something needed heating, I figured that’s why I had a microwave. I couldn’t be bothered wasting time on waiting around for the oven to heat up first and then waiting more for the food to cook; my motto was “It’s not worth the time and effort if it takes longer to make than it does to eat.”
My, how times have changed. Now I spend huge chunks of my day preparing food, but because I enjoy doing so. However, I feel like I lived so long in a food “coma,” so-to-speak–consuming anything and everything with no regard for the foods I would eat or for how those foods might affect my body–and now I’m having to seriously make up for lost time. In the past year I’ve tried countless new foods–many that I’d never even heard of before–and have also been experimenting with different ways of preparing the foods with which I’m familiar.
Swiss chard somehow slipped under my radar until recently. If I ate it when I was younger, then I certainly had no idea what it was that I was eating. And although I’ve seen recipes containing Swiss chard before, I never really had an occasion to purchase Swiss chard nor the inclination to try those recipes. But thanks to my friend Deb, who has Swiss chard growing freely in her garden, I’ve finally been formally introduced to this leafy green vegetable. And I must say, I
like love it! I eat a lot of salads made from spinach, Romaine, and kale–I began eating kale about a year ago and have been tirelessly eating it since–and although I love all three, I’m aware that I need to introduce other leafy green veggies into my repertoire. Variety is always a good thing. And Swiss chard has so much to offer: Research shows that chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants and they also contain a flavonoid called syringic acid, which has received special attention in recent research due to its blood sugar regulating properties. Swiss chard is also high in Vitamins K, A, C, and E, and is a great source of magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber. Source
Swiss chard leaves have a tendency to be somewhat bitter and tough like kale, but the creamy avocado and the massaging process that are part of this recipe are meant to mask these less-than-favorable qualities. It’s amazing how avocado makes everything better, don’t you agree? And if you prefer your salad dressings with some sweetness to them, feel free to add a little bit of stevia or honey to the mix. I have tried this salad with and without the added sweetener and I find that it’s amazingly good both ways. I hope you enjoy!
- Large bunch Swiss chard, leaves chopped or torn and stems discarded
- ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup cucumber, sliced into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 Tbs. hemp seeds
- ½ large or 1 small avocado
- small garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbs. filtered water
- 1 Tbs. lemon
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- stevia or honey to sweeten (optional)
- Place the torn or chopped Swiss chard leaves into a large bowl.
- Mix together the dressing ingredients (avocado through stevia/honey) in a separate smaller bowl. The stevia and honey are optional and can be used to counter the bitterness of the Swiss chard if you need it, however, I also like the salad without the sweeteners.
- Pour the dressing over the Swiss chard leaves and massage the dressing into the leaves with your hands for a minute or two. Don’t be afraid to get messy, this is the fun part!
- Next, add the tomatoes, cucumber, basil and hemp seeds and mix everything together using your hands or a spatula.
- Serve and enjoy!
Adapted from here.