Monday, February 27, 2012

Warm Rainbow Chard Salad with Cannellini Beans

Had I known as a child, the existence of Rainbow Chard, I think I may have taken more interest in vegetables.  It's vegetable eye candy! I love the variety of vibrant colors.  And though I realize that Rainbow Chard is not really one plant (how cool would that be?), but rather a mixture of different colored varieties of Swiss Chard, it's still a fun vegetable to cook with.

Not to mention, it's another one of those super veggies with chock full of nutrients.  And even more exciting, is the fact that some animal studies show that syringic acid, one of chard's flavonoids, has the ability to inhibit activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. Alpha-glucosidase is an enzyme used to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. When this enzyme gets inhibited, fewer carbs get broken down and blood sugar is able to stay more steady. This blood sugar-steadying process seems to be particularly true following a meal. Which means Chard should be in every Diabetic's...actually everyone's diet!

It doesn't end there, extracts of chard have also been studied for their effect on pancreatic cells.  And it seems that chard extract can help pancreatic cells to regenerate and continue producing insulin.
If you'd like, you can read more about it here.

Now my only question is, why haven't I been eating more Chard!

Now this following recipe was given to me by a friend.  She brought it over to one of our dinners one night and I couldn't get enough.  So I had to ask her for the recipe, which she has generously provided.  I hope everyone has an opportunity to make it because it's really a delicious way to enjoy Chard.

Rainbow Chard with Cannellini Beans
Serves 2-4


1.5-2lbs....Rainbow Chard (or regular chard, or kale)
1 small onion, finely diced
1.5tbsp.....Olive oil
2 plump garlic cloves, finely diced
1pinch.....Red pepper flakes
2tbsp........Rosemary leaves, chopped
1/2cup......Dry white wine*I used Masala since I was out of white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
1.5cups.....cooked cannellini beans (or Great northern) *don't forget to rinse well if canned!
Freshly grated Parmesan


1)  Wash and chop Chard into pieces (including the stems).  Simmer Chard (or Kale) in large salted pot of water until just tender.  Approximately 8min.  **Consistency is important! You want the greens to be just tender but still maintain a little crispiness, so check often.

2) Drain the greens, flash with cold water and put aside.

3) In a large pan, heat olive oil, and cook onions with the garlic, red pepper flakes, and rosemary leaves until transparent - approximately 3min. Then add the white wine and reduce until it's a little syrupy.

4) Add the beans and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Finish with some lemon juice.

5) When serving, pour the beans into a dish and top with the greens.  Sprinkle with some shaved or grated Parmesan and ENJOY! (Serve warm or at room temperature)

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