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Loaded with phytonutrients that supply antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, along with a heap of Vitamins A, C, E and K, Swiss chard should become a staple in your fridge. This recipe demonstrates how easy it is to use Swiss chard by sautéing it and adding it to a bowl of quinoa, veggies and chicken for a quick weeknight meal. Check your local farmer’s market or CSA basket for Swiss chard, as it’s in season now through the fall.
8 large Swiss chard leaves (approx. one bunch)*
1 medium yam or sweet potato, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 small zucchini, finely diced
½ small yellow onion finely dice
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons agave
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups diced chicken, already cooked (grilled, roasted, rotisserie, etc)
*Rainbow chard or any dark leafy green may be substituted
1. In a large, deep sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and yam or sweet potato and sauté for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, cumin, paprika, agave, salt and pepper with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the chicken or vegetable stock.
3. Remove the dry ends from the Swiss chard stalks. Rinse the leaves and stalks (leaving the water droplets on them as it will help them cook).
4. Chop the chard leaves and stalks into rough, yet small pieces. Add them, along with the zucchini to the mixture in the bowl. Toss until combined.
5. Add the mixture from the bowl to the pan and turn the heat to medium high. Let the chard mixture cook, stirring consistently so the sauce doesn’t burn, for about 8 minutes. The chard should be cooked down and getting a slight char in the pan.
6. Add the quinoa and chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until those ingredients are heated through.
Jess Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. Jess recently launched Harmony Bar, and all natural gluten-and soy free bar designed to tasted like a soft baked cookie. She is an ex-professional XTERRA triathlete and mountain biker, and current elite amateur road cyclist for the SPY GIANT RIDE p/b MRI Endurance team. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page, as well as the “Harmony Bar” Facebook page. Also on twitter @fitfoodbyjess and @harmonybars.