If you've been enjoying your local farmers market or CSA program as we've been this summer you may be seeing an abundance of hearty greens just waiting to make their way into your next recipe. Though kale is a very popular super green, there are many other varieties of hearty greens that offer similar benefits. We do have to admit that we love kale and had to challenge ourselves this week to give another hearty green a chance, and boy are we glad we did! Swiss chard has been making a steady appearance at the local markets and in our CSA boxes recently and inspired this recipe. But more on greens first!
The term dark green leafy vegetables refers to a large variety of lettuces (romaine, butterhead, arugula), greens (kale and collards), as well as spinach and swiss chard to name a few. Leafy greens are considered nutritional powerhouses due to their variety and high content of certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Swiss chard in particular contains vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and iron. It is regarded as an important iron source specifically for those following vegan diets though may not be a reliable source of calcium due to the presence of oxalic acid in swiss chard which can bind calcium and inhibit absorption in the intestine. Swiss chard does have a more bitter taste than other greens and is less likely to be consumed raw for this reason. It cooks down well with long, slow cooking methods though we wanted to find a fresher use for this power green perfect for the late summer season. We think this recipe highlights chard in a subtle way and may help you fall in love with another green, we sure did!
Swiss Chard and White Beans with Lemon Herb Olive Oil
PREP TIME: 45 mins (+ 12 hour soaking time)
TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes (+ 12 hour soaking time)
1 1/2 cup dried white navy beans or any other variety of white bean
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stems of fresh oregano, ~1 Tbsp of removed leaves
4 large fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
I bay leaf, finely crushed
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 /2 tsp sea salt
Dash of red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 small lemon
Fresh tomato and pepper relish
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes (we used sweet yellow)
1/2 cup diced sweet pepper (we used sweet yellow)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cracker black pepper
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Start by placing the dried beans in a large bowl, cover with water, and place a lid or plate over the top. Allow beans to soak at room temperature for ~12 hours. Drain soaking water and give the beans a quick rinse before adding to a pot with enough liquid to cover and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bring mixture to a boil then lower heat to medium-low, partially cover with a lid allowing steam to escape, and simmer for ~45 minutes or until beans are tender but still firm enough to hold their shape. Drain beans from cooking liquid while reserving ~2-3 Tbsp of cooking water in a small bowl.
Dice tomatoes and peppers into small cubes. Add red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper and stir to combine then set aside.
Rise, de-stem, and chop swiss chard into bite size pieces and set aside. Using a mortar and pestle lightly smash the fresh oregano, basil, and bay leaf until fragrant. Add olive oil to a large pan and turn to medium low heat. Add crushed garlic to oil and stir until fragrant. Once oil has warmed, turn heat off and add chopped swiss chard, smashed herbs, paprika, salt, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice to the oil and stir to combine all ingredients. Add cooked beans to the finished sauce and stir until sauce is well dispersed. Serve beans warm with a spoon of fresh tomato pepper relish over the top.
*Sauce inspired by this recipe from another food blog we love, 101 cookbooks by Heidi Swanson
This dish is leafy green perfection. The rich olive oil sauce brightened with plenty of paprika and flowery oregano creates a perfect medium for the slightly bitter swiss chard to truly shine. This over firm white beans and topped with a fresh tomato and sweet pepper relish is a meal you surely don't want to miss. With this recipe you won't have to wonder again what to do with those unique hearty greens - we think this will work with just about any variety!
Jess and Cecelia
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Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.