Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Eat the Rainbow, with Rainbow Chard

This colorful vegetable is cousins to kale and is packed with nutrients you want to be eating. As one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean, research shows chard contains 13 different antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, and iron to nourish your body.
As a member of the chenopod family (along with beets, spinach, and quinoa) chard provides a number of health benefits not available from other foods. The bright red and yellow pigments protect our nervous system, including organs like our eyes. Chard also has a high level of nitrates which has been shown to lower blood pressure in some studies.
One cup of cooked chard provides over 700% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K necessary for bone health and blood   clotting. It also contains over 200% of the recommended Vitamin A  necessary for eye health, immune function, and cell growth.
When purchasing chard look for plants with firm, deep green leaves. Smaller leaves will have a more milder taste and be more tender. Store chard in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. When cooked, chard is very similar to spinach and can be used interchangeably in       recipes. When eating raw, try chopping it into thin ribbons to make the chard more tender and easier to handle.
This colorful vegetable is packed with good for you nutrients and is a great addition to soups, stir-fries, or as a topping on pizza. For a tasty salad try our Roasted Pear and Rainbow Chard Salad Recipe below.

Roasted Pear and Rainbow Chard Salad Recipe
Serves: 4
360 calories each

Vinaigrette Ingredients:                         
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tsp Champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

Salad Ingredients:
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs Champagne vinegar
4 small, firm pears
1 bunch rainbow chard, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup goat cheese 
4 lemon wedges

Directions: To prepare vinaigrette whisk together all four ingredients and set aside. To prepare salad preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil and champagne vinegar. Cut pears in half and carefully cut out the core. Set pears with sliced side facing up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil mixture over pears. Place in oven and roast 8 minutes. Turn and roast an additional 6-8 minutes until edges are golden and pears are easily pierced with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl toss greens with half the vinaigrette. Crumble goat cheese and toss in gently. Divide greens between four plates, add 2 pear halves and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Garnish with lemon wedge before serving. 

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