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Chard is my favorite green leafy veggie, and in our summer garden we devote an entire raised bed to this nutritious botanical rainbow. In past years, we've tried growing collards and kale and spinach (all of which we love), but faced an unrelenting constant battle with the white flies that always seemed to overtake every last green leafy patch and we finally just gave up and said, "No. More." But....Rainbow Chard always did remarkably well with practically no effort whatsoever, hence it not only became one of our favorite things to grow, but our favorite summer garden item to eat all the time. We add chard to absolutely everything in the summer time, from morning omelets and lunchtime salads to simple dinner additions (sautéed with lots of garlic and onions) and within the past two years, we've been making large batches of this Rainbow Chard Spanakopita when we have an abundance of chard in mid summer. One batch of this lasts us for almost a week, and it never gets old. 

I know that health fads come and go, and every year there's always a new "super veggie" that levitates onto the natural health pedestal as being so much better than all the others and, "What are you waiting for?? Add this to ALL your smoothies!" headlines blanket social media. That's fine...I see it. I read about it. But my love and devotion of chard will never waver. I wade through my summer chard patch and whisper..."It's been you all along. You'll always be my veggie ally...don't let those headlines get you down"... Chard doesn't need fleeting headlines. It knows it's the best and doesn't need the constant praise to prove it. 

I developed a fondness for rainbow chard (and Swiss chard) in college. It was always cheaper than any of the other greens so that's what found it's way into my kitchen most of the time. I cooked with it constantly and I love the way it tastes. Slightly earthy with a subtle sweetness and a bit of a bitter undertone. Fast forward to graduate school and I'm still eating the heck out of this while learning that, nutritionally, chard really is the unsung and often overlooked nutrient dense green that nobody's eating. It's full of magnesium, potassium, calcium,  iron, zinc, fiber and phytonutrients, along with vitamin C and A and lots of vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for calcium absorption (something I really need), and I'm often always looking for extra sources of vitamin K in my diet to support bone health. The colorful stems (white, yellow and red) all contain nutrients as well, most notably carotenoids which are fantastic for eye health, and when I cook this up I'm always using the stems in every recipe too. 









Rainbow Chard Spanakopita is easy and forgiving. It takes the outline of a traditional spinach based Spanakopita but incorporates chard in place of the spinach. You can use either Filo or puff pastry, and traditionally a Spanakopita recipe calls for lots of butter (which is fine to use in this recipe as well - still works), however I prefer ghee so that's what I often use. Good quality cheese can make all the difference for a good batch too, so if you've got a good source for high quality feta - definitely opt for that. 

Rainbow Chard Spanakopita

3 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
2.5 pounds fresh Chard + stems, coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
3 eggs
2 cups high quality sheep feta, cubed
1tsp sea salt
ghee for brushing
Frozen Filo, thawed and slightly chilled
Serves 8

In a very large skillet or deep pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes until onions just start to turn translucent. Add in the chard, one handful at a time and cook down slightly before adding in another handful. With each addition, fold over the leaves to mix with the garlic and onions. Continue adding in all of the chard until wilted and well mixed with the garlic and onions. Remove from heat and transfer to a colander. Press out as much moisture as possible with a large spoon. Let cool completely or leave overnight in the refrigerator. 

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9x13in dish. Once the mixture has completely cooled, mix in the eggs, dill, feta and salt until well combined. Melt the ghee slightly. Roll out the filo dough. Add 1 sheet to the bottom of the baking dish and brush lightly with ghee. Add another sheet and brush again with ghee. Repeat the process about 6 times. Add the chard mixture and distribute evenly. Continue adding the filo sheets, brushing lightly with ghee until you have about 9-10 sheets on the top. Brush the top layer with ghee. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top layer of filo browns slightly. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve warm. Keeps well refrigerated for up to 1 week. 

Optional: top with sprigs of dill and basil to serve. 

 

Photos by Renee Byrd


If you keep a summer garden, then you no doubt notice that everything often comes in at once. We plant our tomato and basil together as "companion plants" in the garden and they seem to enhance the growth of one another. Plus - we use them together in so many recipes! When our tomato plants start producing those beautiful red tomatoes, it feels so time sensitive to use them up quickly before the squirrels get to them, and once picked they have a relatively short shelf life. Thus, making garden fresh pasta sauce is a go-to activity on summer weekends to use up a ton of tomatoes at once in a recipe that freezes well and is also great for a crowd. Get the recipe for my fresh tomato basil pasta sauce on the Suite One Studio Blog...


Summer is abundance, with gardens overflowing, vegetables and fruits cascading out of their nutrient rich beds and flowers emerging in all their glory. Everything seems to come in waves in my garden - the squashes and beets and rhubarb and chard all ready to be part of my summer meals all at once. Not being one to waste even a single rhubarb stem, the only way I can seem to manage this onslaught of seasonal abundance is to quickly pickle and save the ripeness and sweetness of these summer veggies and enjoy them later in the season. June is the summer solstice, and what better way to celebrate than with a June Pickled Picnic featuring rhubarb and beets from earlier in the season! Get the recipes for my pickled rhubarb and pickled beets + how I set my summer picnic spreads on the Suite one Studio blog....

HELLO, I’M LINDSAY.
Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.

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