I love the versatility of Swiss chard — I can simply sauté it, or use the leaves in pretty much any way I would spinach — but did you know Swiss chard leaves are also delicious raw? This easy slaw, dressed with a creamy blender avocado dressing, hits all the things I love about slaw; it's crunchy, tangy, and refreshing!
While I love slivers of red onion in slaw, I don't love their pungent bite that lingers on my breath. An easy way to tame the bite is to soak the onions first, and I do this in some Mexican hot sauce — the hot sauce mellows the onions out and gives a spicy kick to the slaw at the same time.
Making the dressing is as easy as throwing things in a blender. A buttery ripe avocado turns into a creamy, tangy dressing that coats the sturdy Swiss chard, carrots, and onion beautifully. Toss in a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds to add some crunch and nuttiness and give a welcome nod to the fall season. Swiss chard doesn't wilt as easily as other delicate lettuces, so this slaw can be made up to a day in advance.
This slaw would be great served on tacos, especially grilled or fried fish tacos, or next to a big pile of fried chicken. And while this slaw is vegan, I think it would also be delicious with a sprinkle of Mexican cotija or queso fresco cheese!
Swiss Chard Slaw with Creamy Avocado Dressing
1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion (from about 1/4 medium onion)
1 tablespoon Mexican hot sauce, such as Tapatio or Cholula
1 medium bunch Swiss chard (about 8 ounces), preferably rainbow
1 large or 2 small carrots
1 medium avocado
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, plus more for serving
Place the onion and hot sauce in a large bowl and toss to combine; set aside while you make the salad and dressing.
Cut and remove the stems of the chard. Stack the leaves and thinly slice crosswise into ribbons. Transfer to the bowl with the onions (do not mix). Peel and grate the carrot on the large holes of a box grater and add to the bowl of chard and onions; set aside.
Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a blender. Add the lime juice, cilantro, oil, water, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Season with pepper, and blend until smooth. Taste and add more seasonings or lime juice as needed.
Transfer the dressing into the bowl of Swiss chard and add the pumpkin seeds and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Transfer the slaw to a serving bowl and top with more pumpkin seeds before serving.
- This recipe yields about 3/4 cup of dressing and is also great as a dip. It can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the dressing to keep it from browning.
- This salad can be made ahead and refrigerated up to a day in advance. Toss again and drain off any excess liquid before serving.