Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rainbow Chard-Mushroom Sandwiches

Jihva for Ingredients (JFI) is an online blogging event started by Indira of Mahanandi. Weekend Breakfast Blogging is another event, started by Nandita of Saffron Trail. This month, to celebrate JFI's first anniversary, Indira is hosting a joint JFI-WBB party, and the theme of the event is colorful and nutritious: Green Leafy Vegetables! Read all about the event here.

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.


  1. MMM... looks lovely ....
    Way to Go...

  2. Very pretty! Lovely sunshine helps, yes?!

  3. I love, love green leafy vegetables, and your photos of the chard and the sandwich are some of the most beautiful things I've seen!

  4. BEAUTIFUL!! what a colorful post, apt for the rainbow theme ;-)
    Thanks for letting me know @ the rainbow chard, inspite of being a regular at WF I seemed to have missed it. Sandwich looks yummy, I too wud top it with some cheese, smoked gouda being my fav ;-)

  5. very interesting..bright and cheerful..however, am not sure i would get any of the leaves in India, and even if they are available, am not sure where ! So i guess i ll feel good just by looking at those yummy pics..:-)

  6. Looks wonderful! I make versions of this all the time. I get a fresh baguette, slice it lengthwise, scoop out some of the innards, then fill 'er up with whatever veg is around. Want something more substantial? I sometimes add feta or parmegiano-reggaino, olive oil, capters, pitted olives, whatever. It's a great way to use up leftover roasted veg or even salad that is threatening to go bad. And it's yummy.


  7. Hey, Nupur, quick...put the other slice on top and hand it over...all ready to be grabbed...

  8. Wow, Nupur! It seems like your creativity knows no bounds! Bravo for yet another amazing effort! I know what I'm having for dinner tonight - although it isn't exactly summer weather here in New York!

  9. try growing these nupur. they are very easy to grow, can handle frost, and will give you yields throughout the season. your nursery probably has chard saplings. our rainbow chard is doing very well. we planted it just last week. will def. try this recipe. we love chard, bread and mushrooms.

  10. What a feast for the eyes this rainbow mushroom sandwich ! A quick fix too ! Nupur , this gave me an idea - to combine red, green , orange Peppers and make a curry and stuff it into a pita ? Rainbow pepper pita ? Add some fried tofus to the curry - you have a nutritious meal all by itself and with a cool lemonade !

    so fascinating these cool receipes !

  11. Beautiful pic of rainbow chard and that is definitely a gourmet sandwich.

  12. Thats a lovely sandwitch..the rainbow chard and mushroom really goes well

  13. This is a brilliant recipe Nupur! For those who cannot get chard - would spinach also do? I love these kind of quick, easy yet so tasty sandwiches.

  14. Gorgeously delicious!!!!! I must go hunt for these rainbow chards this time on my market visit!!!!

  15. Ayesha, Thanks :)

    Alanna, oh, yes, sunshine certainly helps!

    Bazu, what a sweet thing to say! Thank you so much!

    Richa, thanks! I don't go to WF often, so I don't know if the rainbow chard is a regular feature or if I just got lucky!

    Santhi, how about trying it with some other greens that are available in India?

    Almost, the addition of olives and capers would be wonderful! True, these sort of sandwiches are great for using up assorted veggies...thanks for stopping by.

    Sunita, here, just reach into the screen, and it is yours! :)

  16. Kamini, thanks so much for saying such nice things! Hope you get a chance to try just might convince the weather to take a turn for the better!

    Bee, would love to grow chard, but I have garden, no porch, no balcony or any place! I think I have to be content with a few small pots for now! Would love to see your rainbow chard when it is harvested :)

    Anon, a rainbow pepper sandwich would be delicious!

    Cynthia, thanks :) For something that tastes so good, it comes together in minutes!

    Sushma, so true, the combination tasted terrific!

    Meeta, spinach and mushrooms is one of my all-time favorite combinations, so it is totally worth trying! Also, if you can find some other greens that are more peppery and hearty than spinach, any greens that you could find in Germany, I think they would do well in this sandwich.

  17. hey Nupur, I have never seen such colourful chards. the sandwich must be yummy.

  18. I love chards and mushrooms, so this is going to be tried soon :). very delightful combo, Nupur.


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