We showed up at the tail end of our CSA distribution this week and got a little more than we bargained for. Namely, a generous, extra helping (or four) of leafy greens. In trying to use up most of them, I combined a big pile of rainbow chard and all of our beets, and made this lovely little dish. It's dressed with a light vinaigrette and served room temperature, and the leftovers made an excellent lunch the next day.
Chard is a little tough and bitter to eat raw for my taste, so I chopped both them and the beet tops into ribbons and quickly sautéed everything until they wilted down into soft, tender bites. But I thought I'd leave the beets raw, grating them into slivers to provide some crunch in the dish.
I wanted some sweetness, something to tame the robust flavor of the greens and highlight the earthiness of the beets. I went with a favorite: a simple balsamic vinaigrette with a bit of brown sugar. And, well, I'm a sucker for goat cheese paired with beets — the mild, tangy flavor and creaminess was a perfect finishing touch.
Sautéed Rainbow Chard with Raw Beets and Goat Cheese
This is a "use it up" recipe, so the amounts of vegetables are not set in stone. Use what you have or need to get rid of. For a complete meal, add a poached egg and a handful of roasted nuts or chickpeas.
3-4 medium-sized beets with the leaves
1 large bunch rainbow chard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Chop off the beet greens and set them aside. Peel the beets and either grate them on a box grater or in a food processor. You should have about 2-3 cups of shredded beets.
Wash the beet greens and chard. Shake to remove excess water, but no need to dry. Remove the tough center ribs and give them a rough chop. Stack the leaves on top of each other and slice them crosswise into thick ribbons.
Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot on medium heat. Add the stems and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the leaves of the chard and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leaves have wilted and taste very tender. If the leaves still taste bitter, season with additional salt. Transfer the chard to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the dressing, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper, then stream in the olive oil while whisking vigorously.
Combine the greens and the shredded beets, and toss with the vinaigrette (depending on how much chard you have and how saturated you want your greens, you may have some vinaigrette left over). Serve, topping each plate with goat cheese.
This salad will keep refrigerated for up to one week. Wait to top with goat cheese until serving.
Related: How to Roast Beets in the Oven
(Images: Emma Christensen)