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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...



Simple. Easy. Nourishing. I love a good salad. This time of year however, the last thing I want is a cold, raw salad. Summer yes. Autumn, not so much. I'm craving squashes and warming spices and greens and colorful roots and gourds. I'm basically craving the season. In Ayurvedic nutrition, your body (and your health) is never stagnant. Your diet should change as your body - and your external environment - changes. This means altering your diet with the flexibility of the season, and relying on the abundance of what is available to balance, nourish and align your physical body. As we ease into Autumn, the weather becomes more crisp, the chill in the air penetrates our sun kissed skin, and our digestive tract subtly reflects this change in the season by hinting at new cravings.

As we transition out of Summer, foods like soups, stews, casseroles, roasted roots and warming pots are what many of us crave, and for good reason. Balancing our internal environment with our external environment is a major way that our body remains in homeostasis and becomes neither too cool or too warm. In the heat of summer, cooling moist foods like milks and coconut and raw veggies help to balance that external sweltering heat. Likewise, in the autumn and winter, foods like ginger, roasted squashes and cooked beans and turmerics help to warm our body from the chill outdoors. This makes the transition easier, and allows for less strain on our organ systems during seasonal change. Also, NUTRIENTS. In all seasons, if you're lucky enough to have access to colorful fruits, vegetables and proteins, that means you have access to essential nutrients the body needs to perform basic physiological functions like liver detoxification, thyroid function, kidney filtration, cardiovascular function and overall cellular health. 

I'm not a huge fan of taking multi-vitamins, which is why when I create meals I like to keep them as nutrient dense as possible to make sure I'm getting what I need from the foods that naturally pack a powerful nutrient punch. Butternut squash, quinoa, greens, pomegranate, onions, sea salt - all in all, this has everything a multi vitamin will give you and then some. Quinoa alone is packed with minerals including zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, B-vitamins, fiber and protein. I add a whole grain like this to almost every dish I eat for the mineral content alone (and they taste amazing - added bonus). Butternut squash is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. Pomegranates are high in polyphenol antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. And greens - well, seasonal micro greens are magical little things that have all of the above AND give you that hint of bitter flavor that's so supportive of overall digestion AND liver function. 

But let's get out of this tiny micro-view of food and step back to the big picture. You don't have to know the mineral and nutrient value of every single food you eat to put a simple, nourishing meal together. Keep it seasonal, keep it colorful and you've pretty much got it. That's what I did with my Savory Autumn Nourish Bowl. With 8 ingredients, 5 colors and 1 hour, I'll have this all week, and all week it's going to be chilly, so this will be an addition to breakfast AND lunch if my little Vata body is feeling the chill....which it always does. 









Optional: add your favorite dressing to this hearty savory salad, as I like to add some Flaming Elixir to mine, with a dash or olive oil and sea salt!

Savory Autumn Nourish Bowl

2 small Butternut Squashes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dried Sage
1 tsp sea salt
1 Pomegranate
3 cups seasonal micro greens
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup soaked quinoa
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Pre-heat oven to 400F

Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, sage and salt and stir to coat well. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife can insert easily into the cubes. 

While the squash is cooking, combine the soaked quinoa with 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth and let simmer (covered) for 15 minutes. 

While the quinoa is simmering, chop and seed the pomegranate and place the seeds in a small bowl. 

Chop about 1/2 cup scallions and place in a small bowl. 

Once everything is prepared, in a large bowl, add the micro greens. Top with about 1 cup butternut squash, 1/2 cup quinoa, pomegranate seeds, scallions and eat throughout the week. You will have leftover squash and quinoa to eat throughout the week to add to other meals. 

 


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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