By: Erin Walter, RD
These colorful leafy greens are a great way to add variety into the diet. Chard is unique because the stalks come in many colors from reds to yellows and even white and are sometimes referred to as “rainbow chard”. Chard also comes in different forms including baby and mature which offers versatility to this nutrient dense vegetable. The baby chard has a softer stalk and milder taste which is great eaten raw in salads and as sandwich toppers while the mature chard is best for cooking to tone down the some of the bitterness and soften the stalks.
Chard is packed with many nutrients including vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, iron and calcium just to name a few. It also contains powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients including carotenoids and betalains. Health benefits of these nutrients include anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that may help to stave off chronic inflammatory diseases.
Cooking with chard is easy and adds delicious flavors and textures to your meals. Chard can be sautéed or braised as side dish or added to soups and stews, and even rice or pasta dishes. It’s typically available all year round though its peak season is in the summer months of June through August. Next time you are shopping at your grocery store or even your local farmers market, try to pick some up to add a variety of colors, textures and flavor to your dishes!
Hornick B. Chard a vegetable valedictorian in the class of leafy greens. Food and Nutrition Magazine. July/August 2015. 32-33.