This year I got a little ambitious with my summer garden plans, and as a result, nothing’s really as it should be. By this time of year, I’m normally harvesting the first tomatoes and seeing the promising beginnings of eggplants and okra, but because I decided to try to grow heirloom varieties from seed this year, my tomatoes are just now starting to sport their first tiny fruits, my eggplants are still less than a foot tall, and my okra…well, okra seedlings must be the tastiest thing in the world to the insect kingdom because all of mine were eaten as soon as they dared poke their little heads above ground.
But while my summer garden is still in its early stages, my winter garden is finally coming into its own. Back in January when I planted my summer seeds in trays in my kitchen window, I took a chance and sprinkled some bok choy, mizuna, and rainbow chard seeds in the garden and in some large pots outdoors. For some reason, the seeds sown in the garden failed to thrive, but the ones I planted in pots did well. I’ve already harvested the last of the bok choy and mizuna, but the chard took its time.
Finally, operating under the theory that organically-grown chard clumped together in a pot will never get as big as the grocery store variety, I decided that it was time to harvest the biggest leaves. Using kitchen shears, I carefully cut the largest of the white, yellow, pink, and vibrant red stalks, leaving the smaller ones to become, perhaps, a second harvest. Morning is the best time to harvest chard, before the heat has caused it to wilt, so as soon as I had my bundle of chard–almost a pound–I whisked it off to be used right away, before any of its nutrients could begin to dissipate.
I could have just sautéed it as a side dish, but I really wanted my precious chard to be the star of a main dish. I also wanted my daughter to eat some of it, and given her current aversion to green leafy vegetables, I knew I stood a better chance of overcoming her objections if the chard was mixed with ingredients she likes. I briefly considered adding it to lasagna–and I’m sure that E would have been all over that–but I wanted to be able to taste the chard, not have its flavor lost in a sea of other ingredients. In the end, I opted to make a quiche-type pie, one of E’s other favorite dishes. And it worked! Despite the very strong chard flavor of the pie, E granted the recipe 5 out of 5 crumbs on her rating scale and went back for seconds. Unfortunately, the recipe makes only four servings, so we had to divide that last piece three ways!
Savory Swiss Chard Pie
- 12 ounces ( 340 g) chard
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces (349 g) lite firm or extra-firm silken tofu (1 package Mori-Nu), drained
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) plain soy milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch
- 1 heaping tablespoon (1/2 ounce or 15 g) raw cashews (optional)*
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 9-inch ceramic pie pan lightly with non-stick spray.
Wash the chard but do not dry. Remove the center stem from each leaf. Set the leaves aside and chop the stems into small pieces. In a large skillet, sauté the onion and chard stems until softened (about 5 minutes), adding a tablespoon of water if necessary to prevent sticking.
Meanwhile, cut the chard leaves into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pan along with the garlic, reduce heat, and cover. Cook until all chard is wilted. Remove from heat. If any water has accumulated, drain it; then spread chard in bottom of prepared pie pan.
Place tofu and remaining ingredients in a blender, and puree until very smooth. Pour over the chard in the pie pan. Use a spoon to gently open holes through the chard so that the tofu mixture penetrates it. Smooth the top so that tofu layer is even and covers all the chard.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until center is set. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (8.3 ounces). With cashews:
Percent daily values are based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Though MyPoints are calculated using a formula similar to Weight Watchers Points TM, this site has no affiliation with Weight Watchers and does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.
*Without cashews, one serving provides 96 calories and 1.28 calories from fat (11% calories from fat).