I love swiss chard, not only because it tastes absolutely delicious but also because it is THE green leafy vegetable with the most vitamins. Swiss chard is a vegetable from the Mediterranean and was written about as early as the 4th century B.C. by my favorite Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Swiss chard is unique in that it comes in a beautiful array of colors, shown in its thick stem and veins. It comes in red, yellow, and green and can be bought together as “rainbow swiss chard.” It gives salads and dishes a splash of color and a whole lot of crunch! Unlike other green leafy vegetables, like spinach, when cooked, swiss chard will maintain its crunchiness.
Swiss chard is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and is high in fiber. It is a chenopod vegetable in the same family as spinach, quinoa, and beets. Its dark green color shows that it is filled with chlorophyll, which studies show may be linked to cancer prevention. Raw swiss chard provides over 700% of your daily intake of vitamin K, needed for coagulation and bone health, and over 200% of vitamin A. In addition, it is a great source of vitamin C, E, beta carotene and mineral zinc and mineral manganese – all contributing to swiss chard’s antioxidant properties.
Research is still being done on this unique, leafy green vegetable but initial studies are finding swiss chard to assist in regeneration of pancreatic cells, assist in blood sugar regulation, and help function as an anti-inflammatory. Cooking swiss chard will reduce its nutrients dramatically but being that it is so packed with vitamins, you will still reap a lot of its health benefits.
The way to prepare swiss chard is to cut the long, thick stem away from the leaves. Remove the stem and fold the leaves into each other and cut. You can eat swiss chard raw as an addition to salad for a slightly bitter, crunchy taste. But most often, swiss chard is eaten cooked. I like to stir-fry swiss chard with a little sesame oil and a lot of chopped garlic. It’s my special garlic swiss chard dish! It absorbs the garlic and sesame flavors well and maintains its crunchiness, which is my favorite part.
So if you have not yet tried swiss chard, give it a whirl! It is up there alongside kale, spinach, and collard greens in terms of health benefits and is just starting to match those old-time favorites in terms of popularity as a vegetable side dish. On top of all of this, swiss chard is absolutely budget friendly. I bought 5 leaves of rainbow swiss chard for $1.50. What a bargain! Enjoy!