Swiss chard sounds and looks like a scary vegetable. It’s big, unusual, and unfamiliar. But it’s so packed with great vitamins and minerals that you really need to include in in your child’s diet. The list of powerful nutrients in Swiss Chard is 23 vitamins and minerals long (for example, one cup of cooked Swiss Chard contain 700% your daily value of Vitamin K, 200% your daily value of Vitamin A, and 50% your daily value of Calcium).
General preparation instructions include removing the tough, woody stem and then chopping it into one inch ribbons. Get over your fear of this strange vegetable by incorporating it into your child’s diet in a few of the following ways:
- Chop it finely and sneak it into green salads
- Swiss chard wilts like spinach when it is cooked, so add it to any casserole, and it adds beautiful color along with all of that nutrition.
- Add a handful of chopped chard to soups, even ones that are pre-packaged. Just add it to the soup before heating it up and it will be wilted by the time you serve the soup warmed. If you’re making a homemade soup, add Swiss Chard in the last five minutes of cooking.
- Serve it as a side dish to dinner by boiling a bunch of chopped chard and then serving it with a spritz of fresh lemon juice. It really is a delicious dish!
- Prepare it with a little flair by sautéing one bunch in a pan with a teaspoon of oil and two smashed garlic cloves. Add salt and pepper to taste, and you will not believe what a fancy dish you have!
Finally, here’s a recipe I tweaked from Bobby Flay, which my kids ate without a second glance:
Chard, Squash and Tomatoes
1- 14 oz. can diced Mexican-style or Italian-style tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed with the side of a knife
2 sprigs fresh thyme, or ½ tsp. dried thyme
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 small butternut squash – you’ll want about 2 cups of squash
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
Crumbled pecorino, shredded romano, or parmesan cheese (optional)
Pierce butternut squash all over with a knife (don’t peel it yet) and microwave until soft (about 10 minutes). Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds, and scoop flesh into a bowl. Add garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes and mash together. Then add Swiss chard and tomatoes and mix until combined. Empty vegetable mixture into an 8X8 casserole dish and microwave an additional 5 minutes, or until chard has wilted some. Top with cheese and serve warm.