Jens’ Healthy Restaurant: Quinoa and Chard

Jens: Have you ever encountered a vegetable so flavorful?

He’s referring to Swiss Chard, of course.

The excuse for the scarcity of posts this month is that Jens has been working more than usual and getting dinner at work, so no home cookery has been taking place. (I’ve reverted to my college desperation days of boxed mac and cheese. I have very little motivation to cook for myself, as I can easily – though not healthily – survive on cookies and leftovers.)

So today was the first day in a few weeks that he’s gotten a chance to cook, and he cooked up a storm. For brunch he made a leek-parsley pasta dish inspired by this epicurious recipe. However, the constraints of the recipe were, um, constraining, so for dinner he fully Jens’ed it up with a super healthy concoction using swiss chard, quinoa, radishes, and tomatoes. Super healthy and very delicious!

I still can’t believe that I’m saying things like that.

Ingredients for the chard:

1 carrot, diced
6 large cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
A large bunch of swiss chard, with the red stems
Tomato, chopped
Radish, very thinly sliced
1/2 small onion
Salt, pepper


1. Prepare 1cup quinoa – the usual recipe, in the rice cooker with chicken stock. If you want this dish to be vegetarian, use vegetable stock.

2. Prepare the chard by separating the leaves from the stems. Thinly slice the chard stems.

3. Melt butter and a lot of pepper in a pan over medium-high heat. Add carrot and chard stems, reserving leaves, stirring infrequently because you want it to get browned. Add water as needed when things start sticking. (We generally use a stainless steel pan that’s not non-stick. If you use a non-stick you won’t develop the fond/browning that you want for this recipe.) Sauteing the chard takes about 20-30 minutes because you want it to be very soft and browned.

4. While the stems are cooking down, roughly chop the leaves. You can also do your other prep work here. Once stems are done, remove from pan. Add garlic, onion and chard leaves, more butter, season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. Put stem/carrot mixture back in the pan. Saute for a few more minutes.

5. Plating (or bowling, in this case): a scoop of quinoa, a scoop of the chard mixture, and then tomatoes and radishes go on top.

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