Swiss Chard: The Forgotten Green

January 14, 2019 | Posted by Christie Bok

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Green juice does not have to be intimidating. Neither to drink nor to make. Since kale and spinach have been the “it” green for what seems to be forever and the most commonly liquefied into fresh-pressed juice, I thought about giving Swiss chard its well-deserved fifteen minutes.

Fact: Swiss chard is every bit as healthy as kale and spinach and is an extremely nutrient-dense vegetable. It’s super high in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium and Magnesium, and I’ve always loved it. My mom, who I swear brought home a different vegetable every time she went grocery shopping when I was a kid, added chard to soups and sautes and even snuck some into smoothies. Once I started cooking, I began to appreciate how beautifully chard wilts down and its slight bitterness, which I find adds an extra layer of flavor to any dish it’s in.

If you walk right by Swiss chard in the grocery store and beeline for kale or spinach, I can’t say I’m surprised...thanks to popular culture, that is. Beyoncé helped popularize kale when she wore a sweatshirt with (K-A-L-E) written across it in a music video, and we’ve all known spinach with a little help from our sailor friend, Popeye.

The next time you’re at the grocery store, look for a leafy green with large, sturdy leaves, colorful stalks and vibrant veins. That’s Swiss chard. Once you know what you’re looking for in the produce aisle, I think you will find that chard is actually hard to overlook. It’s absolutely gorgeous. When it comes to the color of the stalk, green, red, yellow, purple and white are all possibilities; AKA “rainbow chard” when sold in a bunch.

I’ve been a fan of juices for several years and try to supplement *not replace* my meals with a big glass of green every few days. What I am not a fan of, is the price. A standard 12-ounce juice in NYC (think kale, spinach, parsley, apple, and celery) can cost between $8 to $12 before add-ons like ginger and turmeric that tack on an additional dollar or two. Yikes.

It all starts with the fresh juice.

I’m talking straight-up chard blended with a hint of cucumber, a squeeze of fresh lemon and water. That’s it!

So, how do you turn Swiss chard into the emerald green juice that won’t break the bank? There’s no fancy juicer required. Just a solid high-powered blender and a fine mesh strainer to separate the pulp will do the trick. But wait, don’t throw out the pulp just yet. Though most of the nutrients are in the juice itself, the pulp contains all of the fiber. Save it and add to soups as a natural thickening agent like Stephanie does in her Green Minestrone, or to the base of a homemade bone broth or even a vinaigrette.

Tightly covered, the juice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. However, you can pour the juice into an ice cube tray and store in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the frozen cubes as you need them or mix a few into a smoothie to make any smoothie green. If you’re looking to supercharge your day, try a glass or shot of the juice each morning. Be prepared, though, it’s going to taste green. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, because when lightly sweetened with ginger-mint simple syrup, this juice becomes a delicious mocktail. Enjoy it as an afternoon pick-me-up or as a way to ease yourself into the green drink world. I wouldn’t be opposed to adding a splash of Prosecco for a fun brunch drink, either.

The options are really endless once you’ve made the juice. Get your green on and give Swiss chard a shot!

Swiss Chard Juice
Yield: 2 cups

2 lbs Swiss chard (about 2 bunches), ribs and stalks removed, chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Add 1 cup of water to the base of a blender. Add the chopped chard, cucumber slices and lemon juice and blend on high until fully combined. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of additional water to assist the blender.
2. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the juice over a bowl. Run a rubber spatula over the pulp to extract as much juice as possible. Reserve the pulp, if desired
3. Pour the juice into a glass and serve or store in the refrigerator immediately.*

*Tightly covered, the chard juice will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Swiss Chard Mocktail
Yield: 4 Servings

16 ounces Swiss chard juice (recipe above)
½ cup fresh ginger root, peeled
1 lemon, peeled
Handful of fresh mint
½ cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces club soda, chilled
Lemon wedge, for garnish

1. Peel the ginger root and chop into inch-sized pieces. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Add the ginger, mint and lemon peel and cover, and allow to steep for 20 minutes off the heat. Strain, set aside and cool.
2. Pour 4 ounces of the Swiss chard juice into each glass. Mix in 1 tablespoon of the simple syrup and top with 2 ounces ounces of the club soda before serving.