Chipotle Cheddar Chard with a Kick

Last week I cooked Swiss Chard for the first time. I’m excited to receive a variety of dark, leafy greens in my Boston Organics box each week, since it gives me a good excuse to try new recipes for leafy greens besides the old standard spinach. Don’t be intimidated by the big bunch of broad leafed chard in your grocery store – if you’ve ever cooked spinach, you can handle cooking chard. (And if you’ve never cooked either, what are you waiting for!?)

Chard is a tall leafy green vegetable with a thick, crunchy stalk that comes in white, red or yellow with wide fan-like green leaves. It belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile: it has the bitterness of beet greens and the slightly salty flavor of spinach leaves. Both the leaves and stalk of chard are edible, although the stems vary in texture with the white ones being the most tender. Oftentimes people shy away from those vegetables that aren’t of the standard baby carrot-cucumber-tomato-iceberg lettuce variety. Boost your nutrient intake (and your cooking ego) by buying a bunch of chard and trying out this recipe.

I’m starting to love spicy foods, and the crushed red pepper gave these greens a fiery kick. I’m sure chipotle pepper would have tasted great too if I had any! If you want to make this dish more of a meal, I think it’d be great over light pasta – like Angel hair pasta – or rice noodles. If you’d rather try this recipe with fresh spinach, reduce the cooking time a bit since spinach wilts quickly (and eliminate the step of cooking the stems first).

Chipotle Cheddar Chard from Eating Well

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced (I used a whole onion to make up for the lack of tomato)
1 pound chard, stems and leaves separated, chopped (see Note)
1 medium tomato, chopped (didn’t have a tomato and it was fine without!)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or water (I used vegetable broth)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (I used crushed red pepper)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (I used soy cheddar cheese)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and chard stems and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato, broth (or water), chipotle to taste and salt; bring to a simmer. Add chard leaves and cook, covered, stirring once, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Scatter cheese evenly over the chard and cook, uncovered, until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information Per serving (6 servings): 90 calories; 6 g fat (3 g sat, 1 g mono); 13 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 315 mg sodium; 493 mg potassium.
The recipe says this makes about 6 servings, but if you like a big helping of leafy greens, it’s probably closer to 3 servings. Note: After washing the chard for these recipes, allow some of the water to cling to the leaves. It helps steam the chard and prevents a dry finished dish.

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