Recently, nutrition experts have been telling us to Eat The Rainbow. No, no, I don't mean taste the rainbow, but to actually eat it, by tucking into lots of brightly hued vegetables. The vivid colors of the veggies are a sure sign that they are brimming with phytochemicals that reverse a lot of age-related damage in our cells, among other benefits. The latest issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine has a great little article that talks about how to eat right and eat bright by including vegetables and fruits from all five color groups: Red, Yellow-Orange, Green, Blue-Purple and White.
With all this talk of rainbows on my mind, imagine my delight when I walked into Whole Foods Market and found this dazzling Rainbow Chard.
Rainbow chard is basically Swiss chard, a beautiful green leafy vegetable which happens to be a nutritional powerhouse. Chard stems can come in different colors- and when chard with red stems, white stems and yellow-gold stems are bunched and sold together, the result is this gorgeous rainbow chard, with stems and veins of red, white and gold contrasting brilliantly with the deep green color of the leaves.
As the days are getting hotter, I am more inclined to making and eating lighter fare. Inspired by a recipe from Vegetarian Times, I paired the rainbow chard with some flavorful cremini mushrooms and made some quick sandwiches. You could certainly use portabella mushrooms, and use regular Swiss chard instead of rainbow chard, as was used in the original recipe.
Rainbow Chard-Mushroom Sandwiches
(Adapted from this recipe, Vegetarian Times July/Aug 2006)
1. Roast the mushrooms: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove stems off cremini mushrooms and place them, stem side up, on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degrees F oven for 20 minutes or so, turning once half-way during baking, until mushrooms are tender. Set aside. Green kitchen tip: If you are baking small quantities, use the toaster oven instead of a conventional oven to save energy. Toaster ovens often come with mini baking sheets that are very handy for baking small amounts such as these.
2. Cook the chard: Wash the chard, then chop it into thin strands. Remove and discard any tough stems, but you can use the tender stems. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 2 cloves of garlic, sliced, and cook until lightly browned and aromatic. Stir in the chard, and a couple of tablespoons of water, and stir around until the leaves are wilted. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender. Remove off heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Other prep: Cut the roasted mushrooms into halves or quarters (depending on their size). Take your favorite sandwich rolls (I used demi-baguettes) and split them length-wise. Thinly slice a small onion (using a sharp knife or a mandoline). Tear 6-8 leaves of fresh basil into shreds.
5. Assemble the sandwiches: Layer the botton half of bread with chard and mushrooms. Top with onion slices and shreds of fresh basil. Drizzle generously with the dressing. Top with other half of bread, and take a big bite!
The verdict: This simple sandwich made for a memorable lunch on a hot and sunny day. The mushrooms and greens are a terrific combination. The whole sandwich comes together very well, and tastes like something you would eat at a nice bistro. Seriously! V added some cheese (gouda) to his sandwich, and reported that it tastes excellent.
Thanks, Indira, for hosting. I'm looking forward to the round-up for lots of inspiration to cook more greens! I'll be back on Sunday, with the N of Indian Vegetables.