This dish of stir-fried chard combined with napa cabbage is downright addictive, served on its own or over hot cooked rice or noodles. Napa cabbage is a superb companion to dark leafy greens, adding a lighter texture and flavor as well as visual interest.
The various types of chard are especially beloved in Italian cuisine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give this leafy green an Asian spin in a stir-fry.
Prepared like this, it cooks quickly, and is a delightful side dish served on its own, or with rice or noodles. Round this meal out with simply prepared tofu, tempeh, or seitan.
A bit about chard, a valued leafy green vegetable
Chard, a garden vegetable that grows abundantly, is related to both beets and spinach. It’s sometimes generically called Swiss chard, which is indeed one variety, even when referring to another variety.
Other chard varieties include 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.
A look at the nutrition profile of chard gives lots of good reasons to keep it in your rotation, especially during the summer, when it’s so plentiful. Offering a generous supply of vitamins and minerals, chard is 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.
Use any variety of chard for this dish — shown above, rainbow chard
Can you substitute other greens? Sure thing! Replace all or part of the chard with kale or collard greens. Prep as directed for the chard. For kale, you can thinly slice the stems or discard them; discard collard greens’ stems. You can swap in savoy cabbage for the napa.
This makes 6 servings as a side dish. Recipe is from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 10 to 12 ounces chard, any variety
- 1/2 medium head napa cabbage, cut into narrow ribbons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 to 4 shallots, finely chopped (or substitute 1 medium onion)
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium leek, chopped and well washed, optional
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
- Cut the chard leaves away from the stems. Thinly slice the stems (they have a celery-like crunch) and cut the leaves into narrow ribbons. Combine them in a colander and give them a really good rinse.
- Cut the napa cabbage as directed, so that both greens are ready to go — it all goes quickly from here.
- Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan. Add the shallots, garlic, and optional leek and sauté over medium-low heat until all are golden.
Stir the chard in quickly to coat with the oil, then turn the heat up to high. Stir-fry for a minute or so, then add the napa cabbage. Continue to stir-fry until both are tender-crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper, and dried hot red pepper flakes, and serve at once.
If you like this simple chard side dish, you might also enjoy …
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