Tag Archives: healthy side dishes

Simple Sauteed Swiss Chard

Many, many of the recipes on this blog aren’t simple. I know that. It might lead one to believe that I endlessly slave in the kitchen, making intricate things with lots of ingredients, every night of the week. Truth is, while I’d love to spend all day in the kitchen, reality (a.k.a. chores, errands, projects, a full-time job, step-kids, or otherwise life) gets in the way. (It’s just that when I do spend all day in the kitchen, and something comes out well, I want to share it with you!) So on those hectic days, when I’ve just stepped in the door after commuting for over an hour from the office, I rely on fresh ingredients, prepared as simply as possible, to provide us a nutritious meal (and keep my sanity in check). Many times, this means some sort of quick-cooking protein such as chicken, fish, or the occasional steak (or even leftover protein from the day before, if I’ve planned well), and a variety of vegetables, such as baked sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, a tossed salad, or sauteed greens, such as collards, kale, or swiss chard.

Swiss chard has to be one of my favorite greens. That’s saying a lot, since I love greens of just about every kind, and eat them nearly every day. To me, swiss chard is slightly sweet, and doesn’t need much adornment, particularly when it’s at the peak of freshness. This particular chard in the photo was as fresh as one can get – I picked it from my garden. I’d never planted chard before, so I was excited to watch it grow and flourish (I’m pretty much a novice gardener). There’s something about eating something you’ve grown yourself. It nearly always tastes better, simply because of its freshness. But there’s more to it than that. It’s as if it deserves much more respect, care, and love than any “other” vegetable. It’s almost like it’s your “baby”, if that makes sense. While I’m still learning a lot about how to grow vegetables, I love the experience, from preparing the soil, to planting the seeds, to caring for them until it’s time to harvest and enjoy. It connects me to the Earth, to the seasons, to nature. I feel balanced and at peace.

But you came to read about swiss chard. So here you go. Like the title suggests, this is a simple, easy recipe, and I enjoy chard and other greens in much the same manner several times a week. A bit of onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper, and your greens are ready for your enjoyment as a delicious, simple side. Feel free to use other greens in this recipe as well – collards substitute well here.

Sauteed Swiss Chard

1 T olive oil

1/4 c chopped yellow onion

1 clove garlic, minced 

1 large bunch of swiss chard, rinsed well and stems and leaves chopped

pinch crushed red pepper

2 T water

salt to taste

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add swiss chard and crushed red pepper and saute for another minute. Add water and cover pan, and allow to “steam” for another 2-3 minutes, or until swiss chard is wilted and the leaves are bright green. Remove the lid and season to taste with salt.

Serves 3-4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

An Abundance of Summer Produce: Ratatouille

Remember that bunch of lovely veggies from my CSA share last week? With the zucchini, eggplant, some onions, and some tomatoes, basil and parsley from my garden, I made ratatouille. I realize I’m probably late to the ratatouille party – from what I can recall, it seemed that everyone made this dish back when the movie debuted. I never tried it before (that I can remember, anyway), and I wanted to see what it was like. While I typically lean towards fast and fresh veggie recipes in the summer months, I just knew this was something I wanted to take the time to try.

Boy, was I glad I did. What a burst of flavors! The long simmering time didn’t lessen the freshness factor either – with the fresh basil garnishing the dish, it seemed like every bite was summer. Leftovers reheated beautifully too – I enjoyed some for breakfast (yes, breakfast!) with scrambled eggs the next morning. It was a dish that seemed rich in flavor, but pretty light in calories. I am hoping to see more eggplant and zucchini in my future, so I have an excuse to make this dish a few more times before summer is over. Next time you want a superstar side dish, this is a sure winner. I enjoyed it with some lamb chops, and while I adored the lamb, the ratatouille pretty much stole the show.

Ratatouille, adapted from Gourmet magazine

1 lb tomatoes

4 large garlic cloves, sliced

1/2 c chopped fresh parsley

10 fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish

3-4 T olive oil

1 lb eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces

salt

1 large onion, sliced

1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 lbs zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

black pepper

If using large red tomatoes, cut an X on the bottom of each tomato, and drop into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow cool. Peel, and chop. (If using yellow pear tomatoes, cherry, or grape tomatoes, you can skip this step.)

Add tomatoes along with garlic,parsley,  basil, and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and start to make a sauce (about 30 minutes).

While sauce is simmering, toss eggplant with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a colander and allow to sit in sink for 30 minutes.

Cook onions and peppers in 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Season with a bit of salt. Add to the tomato-garlic mixture. Add more oil if you need it to the skillet, and cook eggplant for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the zucchini and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes. Season with a bit of salt and add this to the other ingredients in the saucepan. Season with pepper to taste and simmer, stirring occasionally, covered, for an hour, or until vegetables are very tender. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve garnished with a touch of basil.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian