Recipe: Rainbow Chard with Bacon and Garlic
Rainbow chard is the vegetable at the farmers market stand that I always thought was so beautiful, but just so intimidating! I wasn’t sure how to go about cooking it- is it like kale? Spinach? Romain? I finally decided that I was done wondering, and brought some home. I opted to treat it like I would kale or spinach and saute it as a side dish.
It turns out that Rainbow Chard really has its own unique flavor; I would compare it to kale, but less bitter (I actually don’t like kale very much but I did like rainbow chard). I’m going to be totally honest- sauteed greens are not exactly my FAVORITE side dish- there are others I prefer. But I have an iron deficiency, like many other women who run, and I am constantly looking for easy ways to fit more iron into my diet. For me, this means often adding spinach to many dishes where I normally wouldn’t (in addition to eating enough iron-rich meats and taking a supplement). Rainbow Chard provides the perfect way to mix it up…and hey- it has bacon, so what do you have to lose?
Related: How to Cook Healthy Greens
Rainbow Chard with Bacon and Garlic
Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 (side dishes)
Rainbow Chard, about 10-13 stems/ leaves, thoroughly washed, with leaves cut into ribbons and stems cut into ½ in. chunks
2 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
¼ cup chopped yellow onion (about ¼ medium onion, or ½ of a small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Heat the bacon in a large, high sided saute pan over medium-low heat. Cook until the fat has rendered out, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving the fat in the pan.
- Add 2 tbsp olive oil, increase heat to medium, and saute the onion for 4-5 minutes until softened and starting to caramelize.
- Add the rainbow chard stems (not the leaves!), and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and saute for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the rainbow chard leaves, ¼ tsp. salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper, then saute for another 4-6 minutes, or until leaves have wilted. You will want to be diligent about mixing completely as the leaves are wilting because if you do not mix it well as it is cooking, the garlic will burn.
- Add the reserved crispy bacon pieces to the mixture and taste for seasoning. If needed, add the remaining ¼ tsp salt.