Little wedges of polenta add immense charm to this simple vegetable dish. The flavor and texture of this cornmeal-based preparation is so compatible with leafy greens. Spinach and chard with crispy pan-sautéed polenta is a delicious side dish to serve when greens are in abundance.
Chard is an abundant garden vegetable, related to both beets and spinach. It’s sometimes generically called Swiss chard, which is indeed one variety, even when referring to another variety like rainbow, silverbeet, or green chard, among others. For this particular dish, my favorite to use is green chard, but feel free to use whatever kind is available.
Using the kind of polenta that comes in a (usually 18-ounce) tube makes quick work of prep, and adds eye appeal and a yum factor to this dish. It serves 4 to 6 as a side. In case you’ve never used tube polenta, here’s what it looks like:
Can you substitute other greens? Absolutely. Replace all or part of the spinach with arugula; and in place of or for part of the chard, feel free to swap in any variety of:
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
This view of the nutrition profile of chard give you lots of good reasons to keep it in your rotation, especially during the summer, when it’s so abundant. Replete with vitamins and minerals, it’s also packed with fiber and even has a decent amount of protein for a leafy vegetable.
Get lots more information in this site’s Guide to Chard — With Tips on How to Buy, Prep, Cook, & Freeze and more chard recipes.
The photo at top is one way to serve this — everything mixed together; and the photo below shows an alternate way to serve, with all the greens topping the polenta wedges. Either way, it will look and taste great! Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 18-ounce tube polenta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 to 4 cloves minced or thinly sliced fresh garlic
- 8 to 10 ounces chard, any variety
- 4 to 6 ounces baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (oil-cured or not, as you prefer), or more, as desired
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Remove the polenta from its wrapping and cut it into 1/2 inch thick slices. Cut each slice into 4 little wedges.
- Heat a wide nonstick skillet. Add a drop of the oil and spread it around with a paper towel, reserving the rest. Add the polenta wedges; cook in a single layer over medium heat, about 5 minutes on each side, or until turning golden and crisp. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Meanwhile, stem the chard and tear or cut the leaves into large shreds. Thinly slice the stems; you’ll be using them.
- In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil. Add the garlic and chard stems and sauté over low heat just until turning golden.
- Add the chard, a small amount of water (just enough to keep the skillet moist), then cover and steam for 3 to 5 minutes, or until wilted down, bright green, and nearly tender.
- Add the spinach, cover, and steam until wilted down, just a minute or two. Drizzle in the balsamic vinegar and stir quickly to coat the greens.
- Gently fold the polenta wedges in with the greens. Stir in the dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve at once.
Are you looking for more ways to use all kinds of leafy greens? Recipe is from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas.
If you like this combination of polenta and greens, you might also enjoy …
See lots more veggie-filled salads & sides.