rainbow chard

Yesterday — that’s Monday, for those of you keeping track, the day I normally put up my ingredient post — we were busy. I taught a holiday baking class in the evening, so the morning was filled with spicy ginger cookies, puffy sugar cookies, pumpkin pie, and cinnamon rolls. We started planning and growing excited about our trip to Tucson next week. We tried out a few new recipes. The kitchen needed yet another clean sweep.

Oh, and there is always this cookbook we are writing, with an increasingly closer, terrifying looming deadline of December 31st.


But mostly, we were busy with this.

Yesterday afternoon, Little Bean lay on her papa’s chest, with me pumping her legs up and down. We were listening to They Might Be Giants’ “Istanbul/Constantinople.” All three of us love that song. With all the bouncy boisterousness that song deserves, the Chef and I helped Little Bean to dance. She jumped up and down on her papa’s belly, kicked her feet, and swayed her head. Mostly, she grinned, her wide open mouth as big as a watermelon grin. The more we danced her, the more she smiled. About halfway through the song, she joined that gorgeous grin with the rapid-fire increase in babbling she has been doing this week.

Suddenly, she was giggling.

She had her first giggle at seven weeks, in the middle of an EEG. But it was an isolated sound, almost a fake laugh, a burst-out “Ha!” She has given us those numbers of times, but never when we expected it. Yesterday, however, she was clearly in joy, and she let the little squeaky giggles go.

We burst into giggles too. She stopped and stared at us, and started laughing harder.

Somehow, I didn’t get the post done, the one I had planned to write about chard.

So I’ll leave it to you fine people to fill in the blanks, while I go back to making Little Bean dance.

Chard. Talk amongst yourselves.

56 comments on “chard

  1. Tianna

    Not only do They Might Be Giants invariably prompt ME to dance, but your post makes me want to try as hard as possible to bring giggles to everyone I encounter today.

    A noble pursuit for sure.

    Cheers, wee family.

    (ps – i have no experience whatsoever with chard! looking forward to advice and experience from others!)

  2. Anonymous

    I just wish Alton Brown would stop pronouncing it as ‘shard.’

    ~ PJ

    P.S. I bought what I thought was kale at a store the other day, as I listened to the stocker boy who told me that. It turns out I got collard greens instead (What? we don’t have the fancy foods in my one-store town!), so I am going to try them tonight. Any suggestions? Yeah, I’m sure my boys will love this…

    Baby laughs are the BEST thing in the WORLD.

  3. Anonymous

    Swiss chard? I remember it very well. My brother and I stayed at my Aunt’s and Uncle’s many moons ago when we were young teenagers. My Aunt had a garden and what grew the best was the swiss chard. Lots and lots and lots of it. Almost too much of it. She didn’t want to waste any and we ate it at every meal – even breakfast! She would put it in with scrambled eggs, cooked in casseroles and just served plain with a little butter.

    We ate it so much that the very thought of it now almost turns me off but not quite. I haven’t eaten it in years, but I think I could give it another try but probably not for breakfast!

  4. Sarah

    This is just what I needed…thank you for this post. It has been a difficult day and I needed some positive energy and here it is! Thank you and giggle on!

    PS~ my first GF birthday was better than I thought…I got your book as a gift, my boyfriend contacted the restaurant’s pastry chef and I had chocolate cake. It was perfect.

  5. Crystal

    Baby Giggles > Chard.

    We cook it like spinach, warm and wilty, with garlic and a little salt. However I'm on a miso kick right now, and you've got me thinking about chard with a warm miso vinagrette maybe?

  6. Abigail

    I recently discovered a recipe for Beans and Greens from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. It’s black beans simmered with a whole onion with a whole clove stuck in it for an hour, then add some salt and pepper and sliced greens, for which I use chard. Cook until the greens are just tender, 10 to 30 minutes, the chard doesn’t take more than 15 for me usually. It’s yummy, and it just happens to be gluten free, even though we are not in my house generally.

  7. Gina Perry

    Giggling chard – that’s a good combo. My husband is notorious for not eating any vegetables or fruits. Yes, really. But he will eat braised chard – purple onions, chicken stock, a touch of red pepper and soy sauce softened by the slow cooking. It’s a ‘Giada’ recipe that is inherently GF so long as you substitute the soy sauce with wheat-free tamari. I’ve never had it any other way – sort of a new adult vegetable to me. I’d love to hear some other recipes.

  8. Ishkadebble

    Clean and de-rib large bunch, slice finely, as for slaw. Add a handful of raisins or dried cranberries, some nuts (pine or pecan or walnut). Toss mixture with olive oil, juice & zest of an org lemon, S&P. Marinate 12+ hours. Nice additions: red pepper, diced or minced onion/scallion, garlic, a bit of chavrie or GF bluecheese. warm to room temperature before eating.

  9. Brenda

    The thought of a dancing baby brings such wonderful memories…enjoy your wonderful little bean now, she will be all grown up so much faster than you can imagine. Thanks for the memories. I will go hug my big guy now….who was once a little pumpkin himself! =)

  10. dana aka Gluten Free In Cleveland

    I realize this is a silly thing to add, but…

    …do you remember the show Tiny Toon Adventures? They had a music video countdown episode once where they animated not one, but two They Might Be Giants songs: both Istanbul/Constanstinople and Triangle Man (which if my young memories serve me was comically done with a boxer, tiny triangle man, facing larger and larger and larger opponants).

    Perhaps when Little Bean is a bit older, you can find this episode on netflix and share another giggle over the songs.

  11. Nina

    I just had chard for lunch! I sauteed slices of golden beets (from the University farmers market!) for a while with a little olive oil, then added chard and a little rice vinegar. And Pepperman pepper. It was yummy. I’ve been sneaking chard and kale into all sorts of things, trying to trick myself into eating more. It wasn’t bad in turkey chili (but people thought it was weird when I brought it in for lunch, so maybe hide it from non-believers.)

    Totally valid excuse for not having a more of a post, btw. We wouldn’t want it any other way. Enjoy! 🙂

  12. Mama EZ

    Ooo, I do love this post! Is there anything more important than making babies giggle?
    Chard, I have enjoyed tossing it into stir fry, minestrone soup, and a dish of chard, garlic, peppers of all colors and a white fish. Quick and easy, then I can go back to making babies giggle myself…;)

  13. Emily

    I love chard. We grew it in the garden this year and I’m so sad that the season is over. It’s just not the same from the store. I started eating it by sauteing it with garlic and red pepper flakes and topping it with lemon juice. But we’ve experimented with it in place of spinach in soups, casseroles, and other dishes as well. And I found an amazing swiss chard risotto recipe this year too.
    Here are some of my posts about swiss chard

    P.S. Thanks for the story about baby giggles. I always enjoy your stories.

  14. Shirley

    Love hearing about all the joy in your house with Little Bean! 🙂

    Have no experience with chard whatsoever … sorry. 🙁

  15. amanda

    I love They Might Be Giants (and giggling babies), but I am no fan of chard. I actually go through the prepacked salad mix that I buy from the supermarket and pick out the bits of chard. I am generally not fussy with vegetables, but to me that stuff tastes like garden weeds. Oh well – you can’t like everything.

  16. beyond

    shredded and sauteed in olive oil, garlic. and lemon zest if you’re feeling adventurous…
    it’s delicious to read how you and the chef are madly in love with little bean…

  17. WaSunflwr

    Chard is one of my favorite greens! A local mediterranean cafe inspired me with their simple lentil soup cooked with onions, cumin, lemon, and swiss chard. My own lentil soup is made with red lentils, onions, red and sweet potatoes, carrots, curry spices, coconut milk, and of course topped with rainbow chard. It is boldy colorful with yellow, orange, red, and green!

  18. Michelle

    I have long loved chard. My current two favorite ways to eat it are:

    1) Sauteed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and served under a poached egg.

    2) Made into a chard pesto and served over roasted beets and potatoes.

  19. Michelle

    I have long loved chard. My current two favorite ways to eat it are:

    1) Sauteed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and served under a poached egg.

    2) Made into a chard pesto and served over roasted beets and potatoes.

  20. Zoomie

    I added chard to a veggie hash I made with butternut squash and shallots, topped with poached eggs. It was killer-good! Come on over and scroll down a day or two to read the whole thing!

  21. milhan

    Hmmmm….I like this poached egg idea, and the miso vinagrette (I have some miso in the fridge!). Normally, I just eat it in bean soup. I really need to broaden my chard horizons!

    BTW, I finally tried a persimmon yesterday! Yum 🙂

    Baby laughs are the best!

  22. Anonymous

    i love chard, and since we’ve gotten mounds of it each week from our csa, i’ve gotten very good at finding ways to include it in many meals (mostly quick meals, as i’ve a new baby of my own). some of our favorites are: sauteed with mushrooms, garlic, and a bit of red wine, served over ricotta-spread toast; cooked in good olive oil with raisins, hot pepper, nuts, and garlic and tossed with pasta and pecorino; chopped and stirred into creamy potato-leek soup; in stir-fries with tofu and peanut sauce . . . i’ll miss it so much this winter!

  23. Christine

    I’m so glad the baby is in your writing! Baby giggles beat chard anyday—and I’m a chard fan!

    If I had to pick, I’d saute it with some olive oil and garlic—then toss it with sesame oil, rice vinegar, a little brown rice syrup, and soy sauce. YUM!

  24. Anonymous


    In ~4 minutes you can have a delicious side of chard! Saute some garlic in olive oil, throw in some bits of chard, add a pinch of salt. Perfect. It also does well in many saucy recipes as greens thrown in at the end (pasta sauces, indian curries, etc).


  25. Ann

    I also love the post and am happy to chime in! Yay for a happy baby!

    Chard is good sauteed with red pepper flakes, garlic, and golden raisins. Also with anchovies and garlic.

    Deborah Madison’s chard and eggplant lasagna is pretty nifty, but I haven’t tried making it GF yet.

    Red chard bleeds gorgeously into quiche. I know the recipes warn you about this, but I think it’s great.

    Chard pairs really well with feta.

  26. shady charbonnet

    Smothered down creole style chard! Any dark, leafy greens are simply sublime cooked this way.

    Saute an onion in bacon fat until translucent and add a large bunch chopped chard and season with salt and cayenne pepper. Stir until chard is wilted and add enough chicken stock to braise the greens. Lower the heat and cover, let it cook down for about 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle on some sugar (the amount depends on the level of bitterness of the greens, usually 2-3 tablespoons, up to 1/4 cup) and about 2-3 tablespoons vinegar. Heat through and add reserved bacon crumbles before serving with hot buttered cornbread and fried catfish. Yum!

  27. Ceri

    Oooh! giggly babies are fun.

    I like chard in soup. I make a version of Anna Thomas’s greens and garlic soup from her “New Vegitarian Epicure” with chard, beet greens and any other greens that come in my CSA box.

    Basically you saute an onion and a clove of garlic. Then add broth and boil a bunch of potatoes with any herbs you want then add about 2 Lbs. Greens. The tougher the greens the earlier you add them to the soup. Since I like chard (silver beet) and beet greens the soup tends to be a bit pink.

  28. Bonnie

    I saute an onion in toasted sesame oil, then add chard sliced into ribbons. After a few minutes, I add a splash of white wine. Then I stir in some smoked parika and cumin.

    So rich and delicious! Sometimes I make a quick tahini sauce and eat just that for dinner.

  29. Maria

    Hi Gluten-Free girl. I’m gluten-free just as you, a Swedish gluten-free girl. Reading your story makes me so thankful that I was diagnosed when I was an infant. I’ve been living with my disease for more than 30 years now and it hasn’t been all good, but I can’t imagine how sick you must have been. All luck to you, your writing, the chef and the little one (Just started reading your blog so I’m halfway through now).

  30. Kitt

    Chard is great! I love it sauteed, creamed, in lasagna … I had a bumper crop this year.

    If you like spinach, chard can be used in the same way, and it has less oxalic axid. so it doesn’t make your mouth feel funny the way spinach can.

  31. Allison

    Chard shmard. When there’s a new person in the house they really do usurp all other subjects. Which isn’t to say that this is an indefinite situation–there comes a time, several years down the road, when the person actually becomes integrated into those previous primary interests and they all become part of one big activity. Those little people can stand on their step stool at the counter and pull cilantro leaves off of stems or tip ingredients from measuring cups into bowls (mostly into the bowl, that is…) and the subject of food is back! Changed a good bit, but getting a whole lot more attention than it has in the last years.

    And by the way, you may have seen this book already, but I referred to over and over when our little guy was a baby is

    She uses the pressure cooker a LOT, which I’ve determined can literally save the day. You know how it can suddenly be 5:30 and you have nothing started? With the pressure cooker you can pull dinner out of the hat at the last minute!

    Also, she lists portions of many of her recipes which can be set aside for new eaters. (smashed beans or squash cubes etc–very useful)


    Saute (a lot of) chopped garlic in olive oil; add chopped chard; cook ’til wilted; add tamari (wheat-free of course!), and serve, Yum, yum, yum. One of my favorite things . . . laughing babies is one of the others!

  33. Rosita

    We grew chard a lot growing up, and one recipe continues to be a comfort food for me.

    Cheesy Chard from “Recipes for a Small Planet”

    Chop stems and leaves seperately.

    Saute stems with chopped onions. Add some leftover brown rice. Stir. Add chard leaves on top and cover. Turn down heat and steam leaves until wilted. Once wilted, stir them into the rice. Add some shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or good swiss). Serve with soy sauce.

    The actual recipe has measurements, but I just use whatever I have on hand.

    I agree with the others, dancing and giggling babies are definately trump a blog posting 🙂

  34. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing snippets of Little Bean with us — it’s so delightful to see her happy face!

    Chard is my favorite green for cooking. (Sorrel is my favorite green for pesto, but that’s another story.) To get my 10-year-old eating greens, I stir it into a skillet of browned ground beef with onions and garlic, served on potatoes or rice. For my gustatory pleasure, I heap it at the last minute into a soup of wild rice (or potatoes), sausage, onions, chicken broth, sage or thyme, hot sauce…oh yum. When my mother had more than she could deal with from her CSA, I sauteed it with plenty of bell peppers and onions, added pinto beans and served with balsamic vinegar for splashing.

    I enjoy chard most in the winter, when it’s the only thing growing in my Shenandoah Valley garden.

    Kris in Virginia

  35. Diane

    I love chard. The stems are the best part! In fact, there are some European varieties that are mostly stems.

    I either saute it Italian style with olive oil and garlic. Or I do it south Indian style: Heat oil, “pop” some mustard seeds in it, add chopped onion and chilis and saute until golden, add chopped chard leaves and stems and cover, reduce heat to low and cook until done, then throw in some shredded (unsweetened) coconut at the end.

  36. Nova

    We love swiss chard around here and grow it in our garden every year. It grows almost like a weed and tolerates heat and cold. I use it in everything I would use spinach in. I also like it cooked in a little olive oil, salt and garlic. I have been known to throw it in some marinara sauce and put it on pizza. We have had picky toddlers from time to time in this house and it is a great way to get some good for you greens into their diet without them even knowing it! It’s amazing what you can hide under cheese!

  37. stephaniegbrown

    I cannot resist a baby’s laughter! I CAN however, resist chard. Any greens for that matter, when they’re cooked. I grew up with a Southern grandma that loved wilted lettuce, chard, spinach greens, the like… Hated them then, hate them now… Sorry I can’t say anything good. I am sure they’re good for me, but I sure can find my vitamins in other foods… thank you very much.

  38. Sara

    Oh, so cute! 🙂 They Might be Giants makes me giggle too.

    Chard! I love it. I’ll sautee any leafy green (Chard, collards, kale, beet greens) with a bit of olive oil and garlic, then add half a glass of white wine and braise. The other day tho I switched it around to play up the lovely lemony flavor in chard – lemon juice for white wine and added a handful of salty capers. It was delicious!

  39. La Niña

    Chard, kale, beet greens… all good many ways. On a bean kick, they are great in cassoulets. (unintentional rhyme)

    Actually one of my favorite chard recipes came from the old Green’s cookbook. It was a salad with tiny red lentils, feta and chard. I think it’s time to dig that recipe up again.

    Have you seen that Youtube video with the giggling quintuplets?

  40. jak @ fishes+loaves

    i like to dress it lightly with olive oil, season it, then put it under the broiler until it just begins to blister. gotta watch out, otherwise it’ll dry out and/or burn, but if you get it at the right time, it gets a terrific nutty flavor.

  41. Cher

    Darn it all, Gluten-Free Baby is ridiculously cute. What a sweet smile!

    As for the veg, I take a chiffonade of chard, saute it with salt, pepper, fresh ginger and garlic, throw in a can of garbanzos (because everything is better with chickpeas, nu?) and call it done. If I’m feeling expansive, I crumble in some bacon.

  42. ttfn300

    I don’t usually comment, but I love reading your posts shauna!!! Little bean is beautiful, especially with that big smile 🙂

    I passed along an award on my blog, check it out on my latest post if you’d like!

  43. Anonymous

    Hey Shauna,
    Remember way back when… you said you wouldn’t write about the baby on this site? I was crushed when you said that. I wanted to hear THIS kind of stuff from you, because I knew you would capture it well. I’m so glad you fibbed.
    (who has never made or eaten chard)

  44. Sho

    A commenter said chard can be used in the same way as spinach. Do you seriously mean that chard can be mixed with mashed potatoes our used in a florentine (type of) sauce?

    It sounds yummy!

  45. Anonymous

    My husband and I just tried this recipe from our findings at the local Farmer’s Market in Ballard. Fresh chard (torn leaves only, no rib) and sliced strips of cooked beet, sautéed for a few minutes w/ thinly-sliced onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and prociutto bits. To finish, pour –to taste- some Serrano pepper vinegar in the pan (boil about a cup of rice wine with a minced, de-seeded Serrano pepper. Pour into a bowl and let set for about 2 hours. Strain the peppers out and it’s ready!). Cook for another few min & it's done!

  46. Anonymous

    I finally re-found Marcella Hazan’s recipe for white bean and chard soup – the magic is sautéeing garlic whole (remove when golden), lots of chopped fresh rosemary and anchovy filets – then add soup stuff (3 c cooked white beans, 2 bunches chopped chard, broth or water) – it’s magic!

  47. Angela

    My 2 year old niece’s giggles and laughs are the most precious sound to my ears, and I pull out every goofy face I can make to hear her! I can’t believe I went for so long without her giggles in my life, and I can no longer imagine life without them!

    I’ve never tried Chard, but I’ll see if I can pick some up at my local Whole Foods.

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