Thursday, January 24, 2013

Garlic Swiss Chard {Whole30}

   I'm going to be honest here, I have never had swiss chard until the Whole30. Now, i'm obsessed. I can't stop eating it. My newest and most favorite way to make it is with tons of minced garlic in coconut oil. Cooked this way, I can eat it: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. It's awesome!
    I started my hunt to find out "what is so nutritious about Swiss Chard?" Yes, it's a green veggie (automatic nutrition?) It looks a little like "kale" and people always say that stuff is good for you. Here's the run down on swiss chard. The local farmer told me after selling me his chard leaves that it is commonly used in Mediterranean cooking. He also said that the most nutritious part of the chard was the leaves, while the stem is rather tough (especially in the colorful chard: rainbow chard). 
   According to WHFoods swiss chard has ~13 polyphenol antioxidants. Additionally, chard is HIGH in Vitamin K (715.9%DV/cup cooked). That's great... what does Vitamin K do? Well, i'll tell you! Vitamin K helps promote bone grown and retain bone density. Sounds pretty good to me right? Additionally, chard is fairly high in Vitamin A (214.3% DV/cup) which aids in eye, retina, health and acts as an antioxidant. 
  Now if that hasn't convinced you to at least try it, maybe this will. One of the primary flavonoids (   ) in chard is called: syringic acid. This flavonoid inhibits the activity of an enzyme called: alpha-glucosidase who's job is to break down carbohydrates. Because chard helps slow the enzyme activity down, the time it takes for the carbs to be broken down into simple sugars and shoved into your blood stream is extended. Okay so what does this mean-a longer more steady blood sugar? Helps reduce those "spikes" you could get from instant sugar to your blood stream.
   Are you totally in love with chard already?? If you're still on the fence move on to the recipe and maybe that will hook you!

Recipe:
7 swiss chard leaves (I used rainbow, but any color will do)
2 tbs. minced garlic (~6 cloves)
1 tbs. virgin coconut oil
1 tbs. filtered water

Yields ~ 2 c. cooked chard


Directions Clean your chard leaves well under cold water (scrubbing dirt off). I bought mine organic, so there was some dirt in between the curled leaves to clean out. Next you want to "de-stem" I leave some of the stem the more tender part (towards the leaves) because I like the pretty colors! But I disgard the bottom portion. But it is full of iron, it just doesn't taste "good" and is really tough. I thought it would taste like a celery stalk so I bit into it... it doesn't taste like celery. Also, the fresh leaves taste a little bitter. But while cooking, it's like magic, the bitterness disappears!

Cut around the stem like I have above and leave only our pretty leaves. Next, cut the leaves into  1" wide strips. The easiest way for me was to fold the two parts of the leaf (above) over each other and then cut. So you get 1" wide really long strips.
Next, in a pan of coconut oil add  minced garlic. Sautee on High until golden-brown, watching carefully. Then add in swiss chard leaves. 
*Make sure your leaves are completely dry, or the water on the leaf will cause your oil to "splat" all over.*
Cook for about 2 minutes on High. Then add 1 tbs. warm water and reduce heat to medium/low. Let the chard wilt down (like spinach does). The leaves will become tender and almost a "nutty" flavor. 
I ate mine at breakfast one morning. With a side of 3 sweet potato wedges, a handful of eggplant wedges and 2 eggs. It was more of a "left-over" veggie breakfast plate. 

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