Rainbow chard – nature's “unicorn” food. So nutritious. But what do you do with it? Braise it! This delicious side dish recipe is Paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free! (AIP modification as well)
Beautiful Beautiful Rainbow Chard
When you walk through the grocery store (or farmer's market) and see the big beautiful bundles of rainbow chard sitting there, do you instinctively want to pick them up like I do?
I don't know what it is – maybe it's because it's nature's own unicorn food. I know unicorn-this and unicorn-that is uber-popular these days and it's SO fun to look at all the unicorn creations people come up with on Instagram. However, you don't need to get a whole bunch of food dye or spirulina, pitaya, and whatever is the newest trendy vegan method of coloring food and spend your entire afternoon mixing up concoctions.
You just need to go to the store and pick up a bunch of super healthy rainbow chard.
“Eat the rainbow” says the nutritionists. This checks that box! I mean, it's right there in the name!
“But what the heck do you DO with it” you ask?
That's the tricky part. Using the leaves is pretty easy – just use them like you would any other greens. But then that leaves the pretty part to waste – those stems that come in all that multi-colored gorgeousness.
Braising Chard – A Helpful Cooking Technique
Turns out you can braise them, which is just a fancy word for “cook in liquid for a while.” This breaks the stems down and makes them soft, edible, and quite tasty.
Add a few other flavor elements like something acidic and something sweet and you have a side dish that packs in the nutrition, uses the entire bunch of chard, and is quite delicious to boot. Side note: Sell your kids on the raisins if they turn their noses to this. “Look, there are raisins!”. That usually does the trick for us and they wind up eating it all.
I made a video to show you how quickly this can be made.
Can't see the video? Watch Braised Rainbow Chard
Yes, you can certainly use this recipe with regular green chard, I just am partial to the rainbow chard for the beauty of it.
Rainbow chard – nature's “unicorn” food. So nutritious. But what do you do with it? Braise it! This delicious side dish recipe is Paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free! (AIP modification in notes)
- 1 bunch Rainbow Chard (or any chard)
- 2 tbs Cooking Oil (Avocado, Coconut, Macadamia Nut, Olive, etc)
- 1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
- 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Raisins (make sure to use sugar-free ones for Whole30)
- 1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped
- Salt and pepper, optional
- Rinse and dry the chard and then cut the ribs off the leaves. Cut the ribs into about 1/4-1/2 inch pieces and set aside. Cut or tear the leaves into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Heat a large skillet or pot over medium heat and add the cooking oil. Once hot, add the onions and chard ribs and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Add the chard leaves, water, lemon zest, 1 tbs lemon juice, and raisins and stir. Then cook, covered, for 6 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the walnuts. Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve.
*To make AIP, omit the walnuts and pepper and use a compliant cooking oil like coconut oil
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