Rainbow chard has the intense mineral edge of Swiss chard, the earthy sweetness of red chard, and the wonderfully mild nutty flavor of golden chard.
What is Rainbow Swiss Chard? Rainbow Swiss chard is distinguished by its bouquet of wrinkled, slightly savoy rich green and bronze leaves and bright-colored stems. The leaves grow upright and tall from a dense rosette of ribbed stems in a myriad of colors including gold, pink, orange, purple, red, and white with bright and pastel variations. Rainbow Swiss chard is not unique from other chards in its subtle earthy flavors along with slight notes of tang, due to its betalain pigment content.
What Does It Taste Like?
Chard's flavor is comparable to spinach, although this depends on what cooking technique is used. It can be bitter, especially Swiss chard. Cooking tends to diminish the bitterness so that its earthy, sweet, almost beetlike flavor is more pronounced.
Chard is a nutritional powerhouse vegetable packed with vitamins, nutrients, and health benefits. Rainbow chard contains high levels of vitamins C, K, E, beta-carotene, and the minerals manganese and zinc. As noted, it also contains betalain. Betalin pigments have repeatedly been shown to support activity within the body's detoxification process, activating and processing unwanted toxic substances.
How to Store Rainbow Chard
Store bunches of rainbow chard wrapped loosely in plastic in the fridge for a day or two. For longer or better storage, separate the leaves and stems/center ribs. Store the stems/ribs loosely wrapped in plastic. Lay the leaves on layers of paper towels, roll them up, and pop them in a plastic bag. Leaves stored this way can last up to a week.
How to Cook Rainbow Chard
Thoroughly rinse both the leaves and the stems of the chard before cooking it—they both can hold more than their fair share of grit and dirt from the field. Younger chard leaves can be eaten raw in dishes like salads. The more mature leaves are tougher and best served cooked. For the even cooking, remove the colored ribs/stems from the leaves, then chop the stems and start cooking them before you add the leaves.
No matter how you cook rainbow chard, remember that it has some red chard in it and will "bleed" red when cooked, tinging adjacent foods a lovely shade of pink.
Rainbow Chard Recipes from the Farm Kitchen
15-Minute Rainbow Chard, Red Bean, and Peanut Stew vegan + grain-free | One Green Planet
Ingredients 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3.5 ounces rainbow chard, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
4 rounded tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
8.5-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon light soy sauce or grain-free tamari
Generous handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Pinch of sea salt
Heat the oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add the onion and rainbow chard to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
Add the garlic to the pan, along with the chili flakes, cumin, and ginger and cook for a further minute.
Tip in the tomatoes and spoon in the peanut butter. Reduce the heat to medium.
Add the red kidney beans and soy sauce to the pan. Stir regularly to prevent burning and cook for 8 minutes.
Spoon into bowls and scatter with the coriander. Season with salt.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 210 | Carbs: 21 g | Fat: 11 g | Protein: 9 g | Sodium: 564 mg | Sugar: 7 g
Swiss Chard Gratin
from scratch fast | vegan + gluten-free
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat), stirred
2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 bunches (1.5-2 pounds) Swiss chard, leaves and stems coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup regular or gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In the meantime, put 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk in a small bowl and add the cornstarch. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. Pour the rest of the coconut milk into a medium saucepan. Add the grated garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Give the cornstarch coconut mixture another stir, then whisk it into the simmering coconut milk. Bring back to a simmer and cook, whisking, 2-4 minutes, or until thick and rich. Season with sea salt.
Once the water reaches a boil, season it generously with salt. Add the Swiss chard and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Using your hands, squeeze the water out of the chard. Finely chop the chard and add it to the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Squeeze in the juice from a quarter of a lime, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 1-quart gratin or baking dish. (See the do-ahead tip in the notes below.)
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil and toss with your fingers until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top of the gratin.
Bake 12-15 minutes, or until bubbling and light golden on top. Let cool 5 minutes. Serve warm.