A fusion of flavor and color is what this hearty dish of curried sweet potatoes with chard and chickpeas is all about. It’s nice served like a stew in shallow bowls, accompanied by warm flatbread; you can also serve it over hot cooked grains.
There are so many ways to vary this flexible dish. For the chard, you can substitute kale, collard greens, spinach, or mustard greens. Whole baby spinach leaves work, too — just add at the last minute with the fresh herbs.
You can also vary the kind of beans used. Try small red beans or cannellini (white beans). Recipe adapted from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large sweet potatoes or 4 medium garnet yams, peeled and cut into large dice
- 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder, or more, to taste
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, (or from a squeeze bottle), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 8 to 12 ounces chard, any variety
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or more, to taste
- 1/4 cup raisins, optional (but highly recommended)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or a stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until golden.
- Add the sweet potato dice and cup and a half or so of water; bring to a simmer and cook until just tender, adding just enough additional water if needed, as they cook, to keep the mixture moist.
- Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, scallions, curry powder, ginger, and cumin and bring the mixture to a simmer again; cook over low heat for 10 minutes or so, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, strip or cut the chard leaves away from the stems. Slice the stems thinly, and cut the leaves into strips. Rinse will in a colander.
- Add the chard to the skillet, in batches if necessary, and cover. Cook briefly, just until the chard wilts, then stir in. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the chard is tender but not overdone.
- Stir in the cilantro and optional raisins. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 409 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 265mg Carbohydrates: 81g Fiber: 22g Sugar: 18g Protein: 18g
A word about chard
Time was when this abundant garden vegetable, a relative of beets and spinach, was generically referred to as Swiss chard. There are a number of varieties of this green some common types other than Swiss are green, red, gold, and silverbeet. Rainbow chard is actually a 5-color silverbeet, which grows with a variety of stem colors. These are packaged together to create the rainbow of colors.
Chard is only the slightest bit bitter, which is tempered by light cooking. It has an undertone of saltiness as well. It takes a bit longer to cook than spinach, but a light hand with cooking is in order. Of all the larger-leafed greens, I find its stems the most palatable. And because they’re also often colorful, they add visual interest to a dish. Their flavor and texture is somewhat like a softer, milder version of celery. Not everyone will want to use the stems, and that’s entirely up to you.
My favorite variety is green chard. Mild, a bit less salty than the other, it’s a leafy green that does its thing without showing off.
Though chard stands out as the star of simple preparations, it more than holds its own with bold-flavored grain, bean, and potato dishes as well as in soups and stews.
Photos by Susan Voisin, FatFreeVegan.com