In the world of hearty greens, Swiss chard often gets overshadowed by its popular neighbor kale, but it’s a superstar in its own right. This relative of the beet is a superb source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as magnesium, potassium, and iron. It makes a colorful and tasty side dish, or a nutritious addition to pasta, soup, quiches, and more. In Season: The Swiss chard harvest typically begins in the late summer and lasts into the fall. Many markets carry chard year-round. What to Look For: You'll typically find three types of chard in stores and at farmers' markets: Rainbow chard has colorful red, pink, yellow, or white stalks; Fordhook Giant is identifiable by crinkly leaves and thick, white, tender stalks; and Ruby Red (or Rhubarb) chard has thin, red stalks and slightly stronger flavors. Regardless of kind, look for crisp, vibrant green leaves with no yellow or brown marks. Avoid leaves with small holes. How to Store: After a mild rinse, store chard in moistened paper towels in a plastic bag (with a few pinholes to allow air to circulate) in the refrigerator for two or three days.
A healthy alternative to the cheesy omelet: a frittata studded with Swiss chard, which delivers iron, potassium, and fiber. Using mostly egg whites in place of the usual whole eggs lowers the calorie count.
Here, you can use chard, kale, or spinach to make an easy, delicious side dish. Coarsely chop the greens (with any tender stems), steam them until cooked through, then squeeze them dry in cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel.