Swiss Chard often gets overlooked as just another green and I constantly find people confused as to what it is or how to cook with it. In my opinion, chard needs far more attention than what it gets. Why is kale getting all the love, anyway? This vitamin-packed, leafy vegetable is actually part of the chenopods, a subfamily of flowing plants that beets and spinach also belong to. Like beets and spinach, chard is packed with antioxidants and vitamins and it’s beautiful, colorful rainbow stems are just perfection.
The other great thing about chard is that you can eat all of it. Stems and leaves. It’s another, as I like to call it, “nose-to-tail veggie”! (see also my Charred Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto)
This dish, Lemon Garlicky Rainbow Chard with Lentils is super simple to make and it’s loaded with so many incredible flavors, plus you can easily change up the recipe with other fun additions. Mix up the bean type, add some toasted nuts, top with a little cheese, if you want. There are so many tasty possibilities.
Personally I opt for sprouted lentils in this and any other recipe calling for lentils, as sprouting increasing digestion and available nutrition. Check out my extensive tutorial on how and why to sprout. (Regular dried lentils will work just as well.)
Lemon Garlicky Rainbow Chard with Lentils
- 1/2 cup dried lentils or 3/4 cup sprouted lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large bunch Rainbow Swiss chard
- 1/4 cup red wine, vegetable broth or water
- 1/2 lemon, juice from
- salt and pepper
- raw hempseeds for topping, optional
- top with feta or goat cheese
- toss with toasted pine nuts or almond slivers
- green olives or capers
- try chickpeas or white beans instead of lentils
1) Measure out the dried lentils, pick over for any stones or debris and rinse thoroughly. Add the washed and drained lentils to a small saucepan with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes, adding more water if necessary to keep the lentils barely covered. Cook until tender and not crunchy. Strain the lentils and set them aside. If using sprouted lentils, these take much less time to cook. Adjust your cook time as necessary, sprouted lentils usually cook in 10 minutes or less.
2) Cut the leaves from the stems of the chard. Cut the leaves into wide ribbons and slice the stems; keep the leaves and stems separate.
3) Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-low heat and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic to the oil and cook, stirring often, until soft, golden, and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes.
4) Turn the heat to medium and stir in the chard stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the stems soften a bit, about a minute or 2. Add the chard leaves, cooked lentils, wine (water or broth) and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the chard leaves are wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the fresh lemon juice over the top. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as necessary. Top with a sprinkle of hempseeds or toasted nuts, if you’d like. Serve hot or at room temperature.
If you are using leftover already cooked lentils, you are looking for approximately 1 cup cooked lentils. [/print_this]