I’m one of those weirdos that really, really digs vegetables. Yup, I pick vegetables over meat most days and don’t consider a meal complete unless there is a good amount of veggies on my plate. Potatoes don’t count!
But i do discriminate: I have a love-hate relationship with broccoli and I’m super fussy about Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach. They gotta be cooked in just the right way. But chard, I have nothing but oodles of love for. It’s mild, it cooks super quick, needs minimal prep and always goes with everything.
If you have 15 minutes, you can make this dish!
Quick lesson in Aussie speak: we don’t say ‘chard’ here, we say silverbeet. Unless of course it’s rainbow chard which we call rainbow chard. The word chard does come up, but we say ‘chards’, like, “I’ll have the chards [say shards]” in which case, we are talking about chardonnay. Which could go well with silverbeet, I don’t know. Anyway, you get all of that? Goodo!
Let’s cook this!
Fenugreek gives this dish a grown up taste with the right level of bitterness. Turmeric adds a subtle hint of taste and colour without spiciness. It is also a terrific immune booster. Finally, ghee lends the leaves a mellow butteriness giving it a more complex palate.
The trick is to cook the leaves quickly to retain their brightness and delicate flavour.
Silverbeet with Fenugreek – serves 2 as a generous side
This recipe is Banting friendly, vegetarian and is easily adapted to suit Paleo and vegan diets.
You will need
- 2 Tablespoons ghee (use vegetable oil if avoiding dairy)
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
- 1 large clove of garlic, sliced
- 1 bunch silverbeet / rainbow chard/ Swiss chard, washed, stalks trimmed and leaves chopped finely
- Salt to taste
- Pour yourself some chards.
- In a large saucepan or wok, heat the ghee over a medium flame.
- When the ghee is hot, add the fenugreek seeds and garlic and saute. The seeds should spatter and pop in about 30 seconds. The garlic will turn golden. Don’t worry if the seeds don’t pop, just don’t let them or the garlic brown or the whole thing will taste bitter.
- Add the turmeric and ground fenugreek, if using, followed by the chopped leaves. Stir for a minute until all leaves are well coated, season, then partially cover and turn off the heat. The leaves will wilt without becoming soggy
- Serve hot with a wedge of lime as an accompaniment to grilled meats, curries, on rice or with flat breads. Or eat it, like me, with a fork!
TIP: a cubed small tomato sauteed after the garlic (just before you add the silverbeet) adds another dimension to this dish. You can also replicate the recipe with other greens such as amaranth leaves (mchicha in Swahili, vlita / βλήτα in Greek), mustard greens, fenugreek leaves, collard greens and daikon radish leaves (yes, they are edible).
This recipe will make enough to serve two people as a side. If you think it’s too much, really, you’re not eating enough veggies! And just like that, I turned into your mother!
How do you like your greens?