I wasn’t fooled by the early crocus and daffodils, but the blossoming trees got me excited for warmer weather. Winter has totally worn out its welcome!
The lovely weather made me hungry for a hearty bowl of some sort of greens and some sort of beans. When I found a beautiful bunch of swiss chard at the local farmer’s market I knew my appetite would soon be appeased.
Lentils are small, lens shaped legumes with an earthy taste. They come in a variety of colors, but the green and brown types are the most commonly sold. You can find them next to the dried beans in the grocery store. Lentils cook up quickly and don’t need to be soaked before cooking. They are extremely versatile in the flexitarian kitchen because they are full of protein and have a heartiness to them that serves as the “meaty” portion of your meal.
While lentils are quick cooking, you can save even more time by using canned ones. In my area, I can easily find lentil soup, but plain old canned lentils are elusive. They are available by the case from Amazon (affiliate link).. Please note that canned lentils will not save you any money; an alternative would be to cook a batch of lentils and freeze them in one or two cup portions.
We tend to use the canned lentils for quick meals and salads. The dried lentils are used for soups and casseroles.
Chard is a leafy green vegetable related to beets. The stalks can be quite colorful. Young chard can be eaten in salad. The greens of more mature plants tend to be a little bitter, but mellow out when sauteed. You buy chard by the bunch. Rinse it in the sink, as shown, and trim the ends of the stalks as needed. Don’t worry about drying the leaves completely. I cut the stalks off and cut them into bite sized pieces, and tear or cut the leaves into strips a couple inches wide.
I normally saute chard in a little olive oil with onions, garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Since the stems take longer to cook than the leaves, toss them in the skillet with the onions and add the leaves after the onions have softened.
Lentils and swiss chard is a quick, satisfying dish that can be prepared in one skillet. Fast and delicious with an easy clean up…Lentils with Swiss Chard will give you more time and nourishment for enjoying this delightful weather!
- One 15 oz can lentils or 2 cups cooked
- One bunch swiss chard, cleaned and trimmed into bite sized pieces
- One medium onion, diced
- One clove garlic, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Olive oil for sauteeing
- salt and pepper to taste
- splash of vinegar (optional)
- Heat the olive oil and red pepper flakes in a medium skillet
- Saute the garlic, onion and the stems of the chard until the onions are translucent
- Add the swiss chard and mix. Depending on the size of the skillet you’re using, it may be necessary to add the chard in batches. As each batch cooks down, add the next. The water clinging to the leaves should help wilt the chard, but add some more water if necessary. Put a lid on the skillet to help the leaves wilt.
- Mix the lentils and thyme into the swiss chard and allow to heat through.
- Salt and pepper to taste. If desired, season with balsamic or apple cider vinegar.