Sunday, November 25, 2012

8 Ways to Use Swiss Chard Stalks



 
I hope all my American readers had a great Thanksgiving weekend!  We laid low and took it easy, and I didn't do much cooking.  So for this week I thought I'd share some suggestions for using up Swiss chard stems. 
We go through a bunch of Swiss chard every week (we use the leaves to make Blender Green Juice), so I’m constantly looking for ways to make use of the chard stalks.  Because the stems keep longer in the fridge than the leaves do I tend to store them up for a couple of weeks, then make something from them.

If you've ever wondered if Swiss chard stalks are edible, or wondered if there was a tasty way to make use of them, read on!  
 

Swiss chard is a super healthy green, leafy veggie, loaded with antioxidants and detoxifying nutrients and the stalks are very good for you, too.   Although chard is becoming scarce in the farmers markets and CSA boxes now that the weather has cooled, you can usually find chard in your local veggie store year round. 

There are several varieties of chard with beautiful mutli-coloured stems like bright lights and rhubarb, along with other varieties that have plainer white stems.  Any of them would work well in the suggestions below. 

Don’t know what to do with Swiss chard, period?  Never fear, you can use the leaves in most of these recipes, too!

I don’t exactly have specific recipes for most of these ideas; I just toss things into pots willy-nilly at random.  So things turn out a little differently each time, but these are the basic guidelines.  Most of these dishes call for about 1 bunch worth of stems (or about 1 cup of stems with leaves removed and chopped into 1” chunks).  I usually bake, boil or saute the stems, as I find them a bit too crunchy/stringy/chewy raw. 


What to do with Swiss Chard Stems

1. Make Vegetable Soup.   
Build a simple soup around the stems!  In a large pot, fry one chopped onion and a clove or two of garlic in butter or oil.  Slice off the leaves from one bunch of chard and chop stems into 1” chunks.  Add 6 cups of stock and your chard stems to the pot.  Toss in a handful of rice, rice noodles, lentils, peas or a can of beans and simmer for 20 minutes, until all the ingredients are soft.  You could also add other veggies like carrots, potatoes, or other root veggies. 

Add some fresh or dried parsley and oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.  Voila, super easy soup.

2. Make Asian-style Soup.  
 Remove the leaves from your chard and chop into 1” chunks.  Peel and mince a ½” chunk of ginger.   Add 6 cups of stock, 1 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos, chard and ginger to a large pot.  Toss in about 1 cup worth of rice vermicelli, broken into small pieces.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the noodles and chard are soft.  Add the leaves at the end if you like (they soften really fast).  

Voila, even easier than the first soup and one of my favorite lunches.

Coconut Breaded Swiss Chard Stalks
3. Make Swiss chard stir fry. 
 Or just toss them in with your regular old stir fried veggies.  Chop some onions and garlic, and a bit of peeled ginger.  Fry them in oil until softened, then add some carrots, broccoli, peppers, bok choy or other greens, and chard stems (with leaves removed and sliced into 1” chunks).  Fry until softened.  Sprinkle with approx. 1 Tbsp GF soy sauce or coconut aminos and ½ Tbsp rice vinegar, you could also add a spoonful of honey.  Serve over rice or rice noodles. 

4. Sauteed Swiss Chard. 
 Remove stems and chop into 1” chunks.  In a large pan, melt 1 Tbsp butter or dairy free alternative, or olive oil.  Fry 1 clove of minced garlic for 1 minute, then add the stems and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  Drizzle with lemon juice and serve as a side dish.

5. Roast them.   
Remove leaves and slice into 1” chunks.  Arrange in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkle with 1 clove of chopped garlic.  Roast for about 20 minutes, until softened and season with salt and pepper.

6. Make coconut breaded Swiss chard stems!  
 A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for coconut breaded Swiss chard stalks.  They are savoury and delicious. 

One of the great sites that I frequent is Jo-Lynne Shane’s Musings of a Housewife, and she also recently posted a recipe for baked Swiss chard stems

8. Make them into Tahini Dip.  
 The New York Times has a gorgeous looking recipe for pureed Swiss chard stems and tahini.  

If you're looking for more posts like this, you might want to check out 8 Ways to Use Wrinkly Old Bell Peppers.  

So that's what I've come up with so far.  How do you use up your Swiss chard stems?  


33 comments:

  1. I usually throw mine away, but I won't anymore! Thanks for all of the great ideas, and thank you for linking up on Gluten-Free Monday at OneCreativeMommy.com.

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    1. So glad you found it helpful! The stems are tasty and it's so easy to build a meal around them so they're worth saving :) As always, thanks for hosting Gluten Free Monday, Heidi!

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  2. This is a good reminder not to throw away nutritious chard parts. I especially like the idea of roasting them. Thanks for the ideas!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Eileen. I'm glad you liked the post :)

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  3. This sounds great because I have read how good it is for you but never knew quite what to do with it!
    I would love to have you share this on Thursday at Tasty Traditions: http://myculturedpalate.com/

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    1. Thanks for the invite, Dina-Marie :) I've shared it.

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  4. What great ideas! I usually compost wherever doesn't go in the dish with the leaves. thanks!

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    1. I hope you try some of the dishes, then! They stalks are definitely worth saving :)

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    2. am I the only one who just cuts them up like celery and adds them to a salad? I can't believe you left out the most obvious use ..maybe that's too obvious, huh! I love the stir fry idea tho as well!

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    3. Hi Anon, I mentioned above that the reason I bake, stir fry or boil the stems is because I personally find them too tough and chewy to eat raw, but it's good to know that others enjoy them that way.

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    4. I totally agree -- we have a garden that has a marathon chard plant (continuous production for almost two full years, year round in central texas!). Even when it was just a young whippersnapper, however, the stems were too chewy for us. I can't wait to try your ideas for chard stems with my "old fogey" plants.

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    5. Sippie, that's amazing that your plant keeps growing! I'm proud of myself when I can get an indoor plant to last a year or two ;p

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  5. really great ideas! I am always wondering how to use them if we don't use them in smoothies! thank you

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  6. This is a great post. We grow Swiss Chard and I use it all, it is one of my favorite greens. Your suggestions and recipes are wonderful. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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    1. Thanks, Miz Helen, and thank you for hosting :)

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  7. Great post! These look so good! This would be a perfect post to share at our Meal Plan Monday link-up at www.modernalternativekitchen.com! Hope to see you there tomorrow!

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    1. Thanks for the invite, Jill. I'll come by and check it out :)

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  8. I do really enjoy reading about people who really do and blog about what i experiment with (not too much for company ever!) ..such fun!

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  9. I have some roasting in the oven as I type this! YUM! :) They look great, I can't wait to taste them! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)
    I hope to see you again this week!

    This week is sponsored by Sugar and Spice Market! They are giving away a package of their gluten free sugar cookie mix and a package of their gluten free pancake/waffle mix! It is just in time for the holidays!

    Link up starts tomorrow (thursday) at 7:05pm eastern time! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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  10. Thanks so much for this. We have the same problem - my daughter will eat just about any vegetable so long as it doesn't include the stem. (Eyes rolling) Good to find uses for them.

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    1. Lol, well hopefully you an sneak the stems in somehow with one of these recipes ;p

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  11. I usually use the chards, stalks ( lightly steamed or boiled) and green in a quiche. Its delicious and nutricious. Thanks for sharing your recipes
    Christelle

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    1. Ooh, quiche is a great idea! Thanks for stopping by and sharing, Christelle!

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  12. Wow, great ideas! I look forward to trying them when we get chard in our farm share box next summer. I linked to this article in my Thrifty Tips, where I have a bunch of ideas for using less-desirable food.

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    1. Thanks so much for linking it up, Becca! And that post of yours has a ridiculous amount of great money saving tips :)

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  13. thanks for the info. We've got chard growing in our garden and really didn't know what to do with it....

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    1. I hope it helps! We throw the leaves in many of the above soups and pastas etc towards the end, too, so they just wilt. We love them :)

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  14. I just saute my stalks with onion before I throw the leaves into the pan. Of course I also add a couple of old apples, peeled and chopped up, that have been sitting in the fridge drawer a little too long to eat raw. Then after the leaves have been chopped and added, I add a drizzle of balsamic and let the leave get just wilted. So delicious with a side of buckwheat groats!

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    1. That sounds awesome! I wouldn't have thought of adding apples to the saute, and I love the addition of balsamic!! Thanks so much for sharing that, Tamara.

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