Whether you're a greens-sceptic or greens lover, this Catalan-inspired sauteed Swiss chard with raisins and pine nuts will win you over. It's an easy and delicious side dish, that's good for you too.
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When I first lived in Spain I was in Catalunya, in a relatively small town. I had various challenges settling in such as new job, finding an apartment, trying to meet people. I also had more of a language barrier than I had anticipated (I spoke some Spanish, but not Catalan). But one thing that kept me sane was the food.
There were a number of reasonable tapas bars, and as I made friends, they introduced me to even more places with delicious local treats like llescas, Catalan bread pizza and calçots with romesco sauce. Then there was the fantastic central market.
The market was a buzz of activity every weekday, with a huge fish stall as well as meat and fresh produce. Even if you couldn't pluck up the courage to grab someone's attention and order, it was great just to visit and soak it all in.
One vegetable I didn't particularly recognize nor use much while I lived there was 'acelgas'. I just couldn't quite figure out what to do with it. It turns out it's chard, which I've been having more of recently and have grown to enjoy.
Using Swiss chard
Kale seems to be the green that gets all the glory these days, while spinach is the perennial go-in-everything green. Chard, meanwhile, seems more overlooked which to me is a shame.
In fact, it's pretty versatile with ways you can use it including:
- Make the leaves into pesto
- Add it to soups
- Use it as a relatively neutral green for smoothies
- Stems are great added into stir fries and fried rice
- Use the leaves as a wrap, whether cooked in a similar style to stuffed cabbage or raw more as a veggie tortilla.
- It's a great green for quiches and tarts since it wilts enough to become tender but doesn't go to nothing.
- You can also use the raw leaves for salads, either mixed in with other greens or on its own.
Swiss chard is also a great green to simply sauté and serve as a side dish, especially since it has that balance of becoming tender but not mush. It also doesn't have too much of an iron-y flavor, particularly with preparations like this.
The simple additions in this dish are based on a traditional Catalan way of preparing spinach, adding pine nuts, raisins and garlic, as well as olive oil, of course. In fact, I use it as one of my llesca toppings since you'll find it used in this way, too. The mix of flavors works so well with the greens, and not just spinach.
Here I've also added some lemon both for a fresh finish and to cut through any iron-y flavor, and a little onion that gives that little something as well. Everything comes together so quickly and easily, with such tasty results.
As an added bonus, this dish is entirely vegan, but it is also versatile in what you can pair it with. I've made it with fish, chicken, steak and more and it works well with all.
If you're looking to get more greens in your diet, this sauteed Swiss chard with raisins and pine nuts is a really delicious way to actually enjoy them. It's easy to make, and might even surprise you in how good this humble green can be.
Try these other tasty chard recipes:
- Leek and Swiss chard gratin
- Chard, lemon and couscous stuffed fish
- Chard pesto and mozzarella orzo bake
Catalan-style sauteed Swiss chard with raisins and pine nuts
- 12 oz Swiss chard 340g
- ½ onion small-med (red or sweet white best)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoon raisins both regular and golden raisins/sultanas work)
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts
- ½ lemon juice ie from ½ a lemon, approx
- Separate the chard stems from the leaves. Trim the ends of the stems and discard then thinly slice the rest of them. Shred the leaves into relatively thin slices, cutting longer ones as needed, keeping them separate from the stems. Finely dice the onion and the garlic.
- Warm 1tbsp of the olive oil in a medium skillet/frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, cook for a minute or two to start it softening then add the chard stems and garlic. Cook for a couple more minutes until all are slightly softened and the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the chard leaves and wilt them down, turning the mixture over so the warm stems and onion are on top to help the leaves wilt down. Reduce the heat if needed so the leaves don't burn as you do so.
- Add the raisins and pine nuts and stir them through as you cook all another minute or two. Add the lemon juice, a little more olive oil and mix through then serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
This recipe was first shared in March 2018 but has been updated, primarily with video and some additional information.
Try these other healthy green dishes:
- Kale and Brussels Sprout Frittata by Pies and Plots
- Spinach and Artichoke Dip Flatbreads by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Winter Minestrone with Turnips, Potatoes, and Kale by Wholistic Woman
- Honey Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Oven-Roasted Fiddleheads with Capers and Lemon by From the Bookshelf