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There’s Swiss chard (shown above), a relative of the beet, which is grown for its delicious leaves and colorful stalks. I’ve had terrific luck growing this tasty green in a big container. I just cut the leaves back when I need them. They grow back again and again.
Swiss chard is typically planted from seeds about 30 days before the last frost date in your area. In a moderate climate like coastal California, you’ll find Swiss chard often lives for more than a year in the right growing conditions. This vegetable prefers when temperatures stay under 75°F, and young plants can survive temperatures as low as 32°F, according to the Utah State University Extension Service.
Kale is another favorite green to grow from seeds. The leafy green is very cold hardy and sometimes overwinters well even in my Zone 6 garden with a little protection.
Plus, it’s packed with vitamins and nutrients. Keep in mind that Kale typically needs more time to cook than Swiss chard or spinach. Kale is especially good in hardy stews and soups, where it retains its shape better than many greens.
Making Healthy Sautéed Greens
Kale, Swiss chard, collards and other hardy greens are so healthy that we try to enjoy different ones at least once a week.
Here's an easy, basic recipe for healthy sautéed greens, which can be adapted in different ways. It’s limited only by your imagination, so I hope you use it as a jumping off point for great meals in the future.
In this recipe, we used Swiss chard, but you could use others like kale or mustard greens instead. Just increase the cooking time, as needed.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 – 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 big bunch of Swiss chard, washed and torn from stem (chop ½ of stems)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano (or, 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Add or replace oregano with thyme. Also good: a pinch of red pepper flakes, bacon bits, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, or a splash of white wine or chicken stock.
1) Cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat, until onions are translucent.
2) Add chard stems and cook gently until softened, but not mushy. The colorful stems add red, orange or yellow accents to your meal, not to mention a nice bit of crunch.
3) Add oregano (and other spices, if desired), as they cook.
4) Add Swiss chard leaves to cooking pan with lemon juice. Turn heat to low, cover pan.
5) Cook Swiss chard at low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, until softened but not cooked away to nothing.
6) Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
We served our healthy sautéed greens with roasted chicken and mashed yams with cumin. It was the perfect comfort food for a rainy work night. How do you like your greens?