My absolute favorite leafy green these days is the biennial Swiss chard, a descendant of the sea beet that belongs to the Beta vulgaris species. Although 'chard' descends from the Latin words carduus, for 'artichoke thistle', this plant is not native to Switzerland---its name is instead theorized to be attributed to Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin who first described it.
Its colorful stems, pictured below, are a great nightshade-free alternative to bell peppers, with a similar taste and texture. It is rich in the plant antioxidant pigments beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin K, and magnesium, and contains a fair amount of vitamin E, manganese, potassium, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). This lemony garlic chard is quick and easy to prepare and pairs perfectly with Italian meatballs, which are chock full of anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial spices.
2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
1 pasture-raised egg
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
organic extra virgin olive oil
1) Combine ingredients in a large glass mixing bowl and thoroughly combine using hands to distribute ingredients evenly.
2) Grease a 13 x 9 inch cooking dish or baking sheet with olive oil.
3) Form mixture into 1.5-2 inch meatballs and align evenly on the cooking dish.
4) Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes (serves 4).
5) The chard will take 10-15 minutes to prepare and cook so time accordingly.
1.5 bunches rainbow chard, trimmed and rinsed
4 medium-sized garlic cloves, diced
3-4 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
1) Separate stems of the chard from the leaves. Thinly dice the steams and cut leaves into thin ribbons.
2) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and then add diced garlic and chard stems. Cook for 3 minutes, continuously stirring.
3) Once the stems soften, add the sliced chard leaves, cover and cook 5 minutes over medium-low heat or until chard is tender.
4) Toss with lemon juice and serve (serves 2).