I first heard of Swiss chard when looking up juicing recipes, but never seemed to come across it in Hong Kong. Little did I know that they were available at Island East Markets, where I snapped up a gorgeous bunch of plain and rainbow-coloured chard (for just ~HK$25 a bunch, if I recall correctly!).
A relative to the beetroot and quinoa, Swiss chard is a large, leafy vegetable that’s normally used in Mediterranean cooking. It’s alsos considered to be the second healthiest vegetable after spinach, being:
- very low in calories (19 kcal per 100 grams, raw)
- excellent source of antioxidants and vitamin C (33% of recommended levels per 100 grams)
- rich in Vitamin K (7x the recommended intake per 100 grams) to support bone health and prevent brain disease
- high in omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus
Swiss chard leaves need to be washed thoroughly to get rid of dirt. They can taste quite bitter raw so it’s recommended to cook, braise or sautee it — however, this does destroy some of the antioxidants so it’s best to eat it in a salad raw or juice it.
For me, I first separated the leaves from the stalks, and cut up the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Unlike spinach, they don’t shrink as much once cooked, so make sure you don’t cut them up too big. Next, I heated up some oil in a pan and sauteed them with garlic (and ate it with some salmon and quinoa salad).
Taste-wise, the chard was quite firm and nutty with a texture that was a bit like eating old kai-lan (Chinese kale), but in a good way. As for the stalks, I used them in a carrot-apple-beet-swiss chard stalk juice the next day in my Kuvings slow juicer. 🙂