Swiss Chard — Winner By a Nose

Greens are the magical vegetable. By ‘greens,’ I am referring to the leaves of certain edible plants. My family incorporates some kind of edible leaf (either steamed, raw, sauteed) into every meal, exactly which kind depends upon the season or what is readily available at the local farm or market.

Ditch ‘Processed’ and Get ‘Whole’

Greens go further than just slimming your waistline. Switching from meat and dairy to these easy-to-grow veggies improve not only the human condition but also the lives of the millions of animals ‘produced’ for their flesh and excretions every single day. Think for a minute of what we put others through just because we have been conditioned to think there is no other way to get our protein or calcium. Change starts with us and our individual choices on our plates.

Greens convert the sun’s energy into bite-sized into nutrient-dense foods, packed with minerals drawn from the soil. We are from the soil, so it makes sense our cells require these nutrients in order thrive. For more information on that end, read my page.

In the cool season of Texas, and even the warmer ones, I prefer Swiss Chard (related to the beet green and spinach) in my garden. Now I know many of you don’t eat your veggies as regularly as we do and probably wonder what the heck to do with such a giant leaf.

Move Over, Kale

The bulk of my veggie friends laud kale as the Wonder Leaf — not Swiss chard. In fact, many don’t even know what chard is or what to do with it! Though I won’t deny the power of the Brassica (kale is related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), I do believe chard is one rockin’ leaf.

Kale -- 1 cup, boiled drained
Kale — 1 cup, boiled drained
Swiss Chard -- 1 cup boiled, drained
Swiss Chard — 1 cup boiled, drained

Nobody likes a bossy vegan, but hey. I’ll call a winner a winner when I see one. That is an astounding collection of minerals per serving!

If you’re not a fan of bitter greens for calcium (mustard, turnip), then chard may be for you.

Swiss chard (though moderately packed with sodium) is an excellent source of potassium, known by nutritionists as ‘the other salt.’  Potassium acts as the anti-sodium, so if your blood pressure is high and you eat a good amount of processed foods (all which tend to be high in sodium), getting your 4.7 g of daily potassium is crucial.  A banana a day just doesn’t cut it.

Like many other greens, Swiss chard is also an excellent glucose stabilizer if you are diabetic or have concerns with your blood sugar.

Giant Chard Leaf — Easy Food

Here’s what to do with the chard leaf: a simple braising of the leaves and stems. For a meal for me, I will roll a few (4-5) big leaves around the stems and slice into thin ribbons — stems and all. Once a few tablespoons of broth or water are bubbling in the saute pan, toss the chard around until dark green in color. Finally, turn off the heat and place a lid on them to steam a bit.

These wilted greens become the ‘base’ for yet another quick meal:

⇒ Top with leftover lentils and brown rice spiced Lebanese style with spices from the cabinet (olive oil, cumin, thyme, sesame seed) — a 10-minute meal, from fridge, to microwave, to tummy for lunch.

⇒ Toss with a Creamy Sesame Vinaigrette for a mid-day snack.

⇒ Spaghetti Night, instead of noodles, top with your favorite marinara sauce, vegan meatless meatballs, with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast (please leave off the cheese).

Yeah, but is it easy to grow?

Does a teen-ager have stinky feet?

Tiny Garden, Giant Swiss Chard
Tiny Garden, Giant Swiss Chard

That 4×4 garden space was hastily planted at the end of a busy year, immediately after flipping a compost pile off of it. Seeds were thrown into the area along with a few sickly nursery plants, and the chard was off to the races.

To harvest, just cut and eat. Pretty easy.

This was originally posted at GreensForGood Blog
which has been merged with this one.

16 thoughts on “Swiss Chard — Winner By a Nose

    1. Isn’t chard the best? Glad you came by to comment and introduce yourself. Curious…how did you find me? A search? Another’s blog perhaps? It’s nice to know!

      Going over now to explore. Cheers, BrugesVegan, and come back and comment any time I enjoy the interaction. 😀

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      1. I think I found your blog following a comment (or like) you made on another blog (cannot remember which one though!)
        Thanks for visiting. Will surely be following. Lovely photos!
        greets from belgium, Trudi

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      2. Aw, thanks for that explanation. Yes, I have a feeling we ‘share’ many fellow bloggers, as well as interests. Glad you found me. And I you, Trudi.

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  1. Mmm…chard. And it comes in colors! If y’all haven’t gotten into sweet potato greens, I highly recommend them. Not only are they tasty, they are around to eat in August.
    And speaking of transforming the energy of the sun into vitamins and minerals, isn’t it cool that we do it ourselves with Vitamin D production? Maybe we humans are part ancestral plant.

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    1. Ha! You and I may think alike, PlumDirt. Sweet potato greens? I’ve not heard that yet! May have to put a few in the keyhole and let the leaves spill over. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Although I would not attempt to confirm or comment on the nutritional superiority of chard over kale I do agree that it is MUCH easier to grow. And unlike spinach it is not so desperate to run to seed. It is oblivious to pests and the only problems I have ever had is snails hiding among the older leaves and a bit of mildew in dry weather. Not only that but it looks amazing, even the white stemmed.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, BikingGardener. Nice to have you here! I agree with you on the lack of pests and general tough nature of the chard. Spinach is difficult to grow in my garden due to the heat, much as many lettuces. I stick to what can brave the dog days of summer in Texas.

      As for its beauty, it would work well as an ornamental plant in flower beds too. Such a rich green and the rainbow variety is so pretty!

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