I was talking to Chris on the weekend about this whole Elimination Challenge business. He’s trying to do the same thing and generally clean up his eating, but not in such an extreme way. Although neither of us has read any of Michael Pollan’s books, we could both recite his mantra: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Seems sensible right? Chris’ problem – “But I hate plants!” Sometimes I can relate.
This brings us to Swiss Chard. While spinach is definitely in my regular rotation of vegetables, there is a whole world of leafy greens out there that I have never cooked at home. Kale. Escarole. Dandelion Greens. I figured I had to start somewhere, and chard looked the least scary to me at the grocery store. This recipe was one I bookmarked on Smitten Kitchen at the beginning of the Elimination. Subbing in brown rice pasta and leaving out the cheese, it fit into the rules easily. Just one problem.
I miss tomatoes. If you put a bucket of tomato sauce in front of me right now, I would drink the whole thing. Of all the things I haven’t had in the last two weeks – sugar, caffeine, chocolate, candy – I can easily say I miss tomatoes the most. Who am I? So while I felt like a paragon of virtue for eating my leafy greens, getting my vitamins and iron, I also resented this dish for it’s lack of tomato sauce. In other circumstances, I think I would have liked it, but alas, it was not meant to be.
Spaghetti with Swiss Chard & Garlic Chips
Source: Smitten Kitchen
1/3 cup olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves peeled, and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 lbs green swiss chard, stems and centre ribs finely chopped, leaves coarsely chopped separately
1/2 cup water
1 lb spaghetti (mine was brown rice pasta)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, cut into slivers (I don’t like olives so I left them out)
6 oz feta, crumbled (can’t have dairy yet, so I left this out too)
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Add onion to remaining oil in skillet and cook 3-5 minutes until softened.
- Stir chard stems into onion mixture with water and 3/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Cook, covered (I didn’t have a lid, no big deal), about 5 minutes until almost tender, then add chard leaves and cook 5 more minutes until stems and leaves are tender.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking water.
- Toss pasta with chard and olives, adding 1/2 cup of pasta water (add more if mixture is too dry). Sprinkle with feta and garlic chips.
Serves 4 (I made half and ate it for dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day)