As a kid, I was obsessed with everything rainbow – my Rainbow Brite doll, a fresh new Crayola 64 pack (with built in sharpener!), and best of all – the rainbow-neon terminal at O’Hare airport. Pure magic. Nowadays, I have a new grownup rainbow obsession: rainbow chard.
Cooking with Rainbow Chard
If you’ve never cooked with rainbow chard before, it has a slightly bitter, earthy taste that I love to pair with sweet, tangy, and nutty accents. Aside from its gorgeous vibrant color, it has a special superpower: it’s kind of two vegetables in one! Not only can you use the chard leaves, but the chard stems are also delicious – they add a lovely crunch to a stir fry, a simple vegetable side dish, or a bowl like this one. Just sauté them for a few minutes before adding the greens to the pan, or pickle them for an extra bright pop.
Rainbow Chard Bowls
These bowls are simple and warm. They put the rainbow chard front and center, so they’re a great way to feature a big bunch of greens from the farmers market. To make them, I cooked some whole wheat orzo and tossed it with a little olive oil, garlic, Dijon, and lemon. (Mustard and chard are a really terrific flavor match). I topped each bowl with a healthy serving of sautéed rainbow chard, a little feta cheese, and some toasted walnuts.
Quick beauty tip: you’ll want to serve these bowls with the ingredients assembled rather than tossed together. (As the colors run together it’s just not the prettiest!).
Rainbow Chard Recipe Variations
These rainbow chard bowls are easy to vary depending on what you have in your pantry. Here are a few ways I like to change them up:
- No orzo on hand? Toss the chard leaves with spaghetti, or assemble the bowls with quinoa or farro.
- Add a handful of golden raisins to each bowl – the pop of sweetness is excellent alongside the earthy Swiss chard!
- Use pine nuts or toasted almonds in place of the walnuts.
- Swap the feta for crumbled soft goat cheese.
- Use a splash of red wine or sherry vinegar instead of the lemon.
Let me know what variations you try!
If you love these rainbow chard bowls…
- 1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo
- 1+ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- A few squeezes of lemon
- 1 small bunch of rainbow chard (about 4-5 leaves)
- ⅓ cup feta cheese
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- Prep your chard by slicing off the coarse parts of the stems and dicing them. Coarsely chop the greens and set aside.
- Cook orzo in a pot of salted boiling water according to package directions (or about 9 minutes).
- In a medium bowl add 1 tablespoon olive oil, minced garlic, dijon mustard, lemon, salt and pepper. Once your orzo is done cooking, drain it and then add it to this bowl and toss. (the heat of the pasta will gently cook the raw garlic). Taste, adjust seasonings and set aside.
- In a medium skillet, heat a few teaspoons of olive oil, then add the chard stems, salt and pepper. Next, add the chard leaves and toss until just wilted (less than 2 minutes). Finish with a squeeze of lemon and remove from heat.
- Assemble bowls with orzo, chard, feta and toasted walnuts.
Make this vegan by skipping the cheese and topping it with a few capers.
Cutting Board: Calphalon Kitchen Essentials from Target
Knife: Miyabi Birchwood 7″ Santoku