Swiss Chard and Lentil Salad

Today I will be talking about another Farmer’s Market find… Swiss Chard.  My daughter Sara and her boyfriend, Matt are regulars at area farmers markets so it was no surprise that on a recent trip they returned home with a lovely bunch of organic rainbow chard that they purchased from Philos Farm.

Philos Farm is a collectively owned and managed, certified organic, diversified vegetable farm located in Schnecksville, PA.  They can be found at The Nazareth Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Saucon Valley Farmers Market on Sundays or any day at the farm at 3467 Bellview Road, Schnecksville, PA . If you get a chance, check them out … great produce and a really enthusiastic, positive vibe!

Swiss Chard is an amazing green! Like its cousin’s spinach, beets and kale, it is full of phytonutrients but Swiss Chard just may be the brightest star of them all! The hint, it is native to the Mediterranean and widely used there and  the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest and most beneficial. One cup of chard is only 35 calories and contains high amounts of Vitamin K, A, C and E and the minerals Magnesium, copper, manganese and potassium. Oh, and don’t forget iron, one cup provides 3.96 mg. of iron. It is very low in the glycemic index making it very beneficial for the weight conscious and people managing diabetes.  In fact, studies are being conducted that show syringic acid—one of chard's premiere flavonoids—has the ability to inhibit activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. Alpha-glucosidase is an enzyme used to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. When this enzyme gets inhibited, fewer carbs get broken down and blood sugar is able to stay more steady.(http://www.whfoods.com –the Worlds Healthiest Foods) For diabetics, this is huge! Swiss chard has been proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and its high in calcium for strong bones. Is Swiss Chard a Super food?  I’d say YES!!!!

As if a nice side of sautéed Swiss Chard wouldn’t be great on its own, I decided to pair it with another of my favorite superfoods, lentilsLentils are also low on the glycemic index and they are jam packed with cholesterol lowering fiber. A whole cup of lentils is only 230 calories. Lentils are high in protein and low in fat.  Swiss Chard and Lentils are a perfect pair for a nutrient dense dish!

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Swiss Chard and Lentil Salad

 

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 bunch rainbow Swiss Chard, leaves and stem cut into 1 inch strips, set aside stem pieces

1 orange

Salt & Pepper

Warm oil in skillet.  Zest 1/2 of orange and then squeeze for juice, set aside.  Sauté garlic in oil until it no longer smells raw, add chard stem pieces and sauté for two minutes, add leave pieces and sauté until leaves begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add orange zest to skillet and toss. Saute until chard wilts (about 3 more minutes), stirring frequently.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add orange juice, toss and set aside.

 

1 lb. brown or green lentils                                                     IMG_0656.JPG

1 garlic clove, unpeeled

2 bay leaves

A rib of celery

Zest and juice from ½ orange

A big handful of parsley leaves, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled a shredded

2 scallions, sliced

5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a medium pan, cover the lentils, unpeeled garlic, bay and celery with cold water, bring the lentils to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20–25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain and discard the garlic, bay and celery.

To make the dressing, mix together the olive oil, orange juice, salt and pepper until well combined.

In a large bowl, combine cooked lentils, carrots, scallions and parsley, pour dressing over all and toss to coat.  Fill serving bowl with lentil mixture and rim or top salad with sautéed chard sprinkle with orange zest.

Serve warm or at room temperature 

Farmers markets, CSAs or roadside stands, there is something for everyone in the way of fresh seasonal produce! From the old favorites to something new that you have never eaten before, it's all there waiting for you. The best thing about buying at these places is that you get to know your farmer and you get to know where your food comes from. So ask questions and educate yourself!

Diana

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