Category Archives: Swiss chard

Pumpkin and Swiss chard lasagna

During one particularly ambitious October day in the Locavorious community kitchen, we washed, cut, de-seeded, roasted, scraped and pureed 55 pie pumpkins and 40 lbs of Long of Naples winter squash. Everything and everyone was orange and sticky. At the end of the day I was still not “pumpkin-ed out” and went home inspired to try new things with the pumpkin puree. After considering autumn dishes like pumpkin gnocchi and butternut squash ravioli, I thought – why not a pumpkin lasagna? The idea for the pumpkin-Swiss chard combo comes from a Food and recipe. Including Swiss chard seemed like an excellent idea, especially since it’s a popular green thing in our house, but I thought the Food and Wine recipe lacked that ricotta-mozzarella richness of traditional lasagnas so loved in cold weather, so I moved the recipe in a comfy cheesy direction.

Most of our pumpkins came from Makielski Berry Farm just south of Ann Arbor on Platt Road; they are Sugar Baby and Mystic pie pumpkins. Locavorious also got some less common pumpkins from the Goetz’s – Long Island Cheese and Cinderella – less common but equally juicy and delicious. This year Capella Farm (right in Ann Arbor) and Green Bush Farm (Belleville) grew our Swiss chard. This recipe might work with the organic kale medley too.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

12 oz frozen Swiss chard, defrosted

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

15 oz roasted pumpkin puree, defrosted

15 oz ricotta

2 cups shredded or chopped mozzarella

½ cup Parmesan + few Ts for top

3/4 cup cream or milk

12 whole wheat lasagna noodles – could also used no-boil or any sort of lasagna noodles

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook, stirring a bit, until the chard is heated through, and no liquid remains in the pan, ~ 4 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Prepare the lasagna noodles (if necessary) and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together ~ 2/3rds of the pumpkin puree, the ricotta, mozzarella, a scant 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and salt to taste. (I used ½ teas salt in the cheese mixture, but it could have used less.)

In a 9 x 13 or similar size baking dish, prepare the bottom to prevent sticking with either cooking spray, butter or pour in a little milk. Lay 3 noodles in the dish and then spread 1/3rd of the pumpkin-cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread 1/3rd of the Swiss chard mixture over the pumpkin. Repeat this noodle-pumpkin-chard layering two more times, and top with a final layer of noodles.

Next, combine the remaining pumpkin puree and 3/4 cup of cream or milk. Pour evenly over the top of the lasagna, sprinkle with the extra Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes more.


Veggie Barley Bake

Our charming book club hostess, Beth, served this dish for a cold winter evening dinner, and I went nuts for it. I think of barley as such a wonderful hearty and healthy grain, but it’s rarely served except as part of a beef barley soup, which gets kind of old in my opinion. Beth says she loves serving the veggie barley bake; kids eat it, it’s healthy with barley and lots of veggies, and it tastes like lasagna. What’s not to love about that? You can use whatever combination of veggies suits your fancy or your leftovers. You just need approximately 10 cups of chopped vegetables in all. For Locavorious members who haven’t eaten up all the veggies from last month yet, here’s a great recipe….answering the questions, “What should I make with this? And that?”

As I mentioned I went a little nuts for this dish, making a couple variations already and surprising Chef Jeff who usually expects spicier things to make my favorites list. Here are some versions:

  1. The Book Club Selection: green beans and sweet potatoes
  2. Locavorious This & That: 16 oz frozen summer squash, ½ bag of broccoli, ½ bag green beans, a handful of red peppers and some leftover snap peas.
  3. Rena’s Favorite So Far: 16 oz frozen cauliflower, 15 oz frozen Swiss chard, sweet potatoes

    Locavorious This & That in the pot.

The Veggie Barley Bake Formula 

2 tbsp oil                               

2 cloves minced garlic

1 onion, chopped

2 average carrots, sliced

9 – 10 cups chopped frozen vegetables

3/4 cup barley

15 oz frozen stewed tomatoes, thawed + ½ cup water *or* 1 1/2 cups tomato broth           

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. oregano                          

1 – 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Heat oil in large heavy skillet and sauté garlic and onion until softened, 3 -5 minutes.  Add remaining vegetables and sauté, stirring a few times, for 5 minutes.  Add barley, tomato broth, and seasonings; bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Transfer contents of the skillet to a shallow 4 quart casserole; stir in 1 cup of the cheese.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes.  Veggies and barley should be tender.  If not, cover and cook longer.  Top casserole with remaining cheese if desired and return to oven uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Mmmm…I think I’ll eat the rest.

Smoked turkey and swiss chard

Knowing I had a smoked turkey drumstick waiting at home in the freezer, I envisioned making a smoked turkey, kale and navy bean soup on one of those cold days last week.   Then I got home from work and discovered that we had no more frozen kale, nor any navy beans.  Hmmm.  Soooooo….here’s what happened: smoked turkey, swiss chard and spinach and miscellaneous veggie soup.  Maybe it should be called freezer sale soup.   Whatever we want call it, this soup hit the spot!

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots and 2 celery stalks, chopped

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teas dried thyme

1 teas garam masala

4 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

1 smoked turkey drumstick

1/2 teas cayenne pepper

~ 2 cups cooked pinto beans (I used that weeknight-time-saving luxury canned beans, rinsed off.  )

handful of chopped frozen red pepper strips (~ 1/2 bag of Locavorious frozen red peppers)

~ 1 cup of frozen peas or shelled edamame

12 oz Locavorious frozen swiss chard (since I only had about 1/2 a container of frozen chard left, I added enough frozen garden spinach to get to 12 oz.  This resulted in a lot of greens in the soup, but this keeps hubby happy.)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat a little olive oil and saute the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for a few minutes.  Add the thyme and garam masala and saute a minute or two more.  Put the turkey drumstick in the pot and cover with the water and broth.  Bring to a brief boil and then simmer for ~ 45 minutes.  Remove the turkey drumstick, let cool a bit.  Cut or pull the meat off of the drum stick and chop it up; discard the skin and bone and return the meat to the soup pot.  Add 1/2 teas cayenne, pinto beans, red pepper strips, peas and the swiss chard.   Cook until the last added veggies are heated through.

Eating the whole plant…or Greasy Beets & Greens

I love beets.  I know not everyone shares this sentiment.  Still, hear me out – beets are one of those wonder plants that you can eat the whole thing; both root and leaves are sweet, nutritious and amenable to a variety of preparations.  If that’s too highfalutin…consider the cheapskate argument – a bunch of beets is like getting 2 for 1 vegetables.  For Michigan locavores and gardeners, beets are nice because they keep for so long in the fridge…except for those lovely green leaves, you’ve got to eat or freeze those pretty quickly. 

So, on to the recipe.  Let’s say you’ve got some beets a keepin’ and now you’ve got some frozen locally grown bright lights swiss chard!?  Check this out:

Carmelized Beets, Garlic and Greens, or as we call them in my house, Greasy Beets & Greens.

  • 4 or more large beets
  • ~ 6 or a whole bunch of garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • 12 oz Locavorious frozen swiss chard
  • salt & pepper
  • crumbled goat cheese

Scrub and peel (if you want) the beets and then finely dice them into little cubes, kindof like hashbrowns.  Pour out enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet.  Heat on medium.  Toss in beet cubes.  Cook, stirring occasionally for ~ 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, thaw the greens while you wait.  Chop the garlic and toss in with the beets.  Continue to cook for a long time on kindof low or med-low heat.  Cook loonger.  Like ~ 30 or 40 minutes or until the beets are soft and carmelized.  It will be hard to resist if you taste them right now, but try not to eat them yet. 

When the beets & garlic are soft, add greens, salt & pepper (maybe start w/ about 1/4 teas each and adjust); stir to mix up and get the greens under the beets.  Continue to cook until greens are hot.  Sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles. 

And if you know any beet haters, or some live with you, this recipe will work pretty well with other good old root vegetables…even potatoes.