Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegan Goodness: Rainbow Chard and Handpicked Apple Salad

Apple season is in full swing now which means that it is pretty easy to find neglected fruit trees ripe for the picking.  Why buy apples in the store when you can forage for free? You'll want to ask your neighbor first, of course but they'll most likely be game. It's better than having them rot all over their sea of grass.  So I stalked the neighbor's tree and now it's time to make applesauce. Instead of sharing my applesauce recipe, I'm going to write about my latest favorite lunch option.  More on that later. 

While listening to Jo Robinson on Splendid Table, I recently learned that not all apples are created equal. Over thousands of years, humans have bred many nutrients out of the plants we eat. Therefore, some plant species have more phytonutrients than others.  I will let Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, explain what phytonutrients are and why they are so important to our health.

"Phytonutrients are basically a plant compound -- all plants produce them to protect themselves against their enemies. They can't run and hide, so they make these chemicals that will ward off insects and browsers and protect them from ultraviolet (UV) light. If we eat them, then we absorb those particles, phytonutrients, and they protect us from our enemies, which happen to be cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and obesity. Their protection becomes our protection."  

Jo Robinson also shared that some of the more nutritious apples are Granny Smiths, Fugis, Braeburns and Galas. 

Back to my favorite lunch. 

Having a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with Echocollective means I get  lots of produce and I don't always know what to do with it or how to reinvent it.   Being that this is my fourth year (woot!)  at it, it's been more about new food creations.  Let's be honest here, I am responsible for about 25% (some would argue less) of the cooking in this vegan household but when I do cook, I make it count! Stir fry everyday? Not when I'm at the (kitchen) helm.  

Rainbow Chard and Apple Salad

1 bunch rainbow chard 
1- 2 apples, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Bragg's apple cider vinegar 
1 tablespoon soy sauce
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
almonds, optional.
extra virgin olive oil
cast iron skillet if available

First, place raisins in a bowl with just enough water to cover them and set aside for 10 minutes. 

Cut the stems off of the chard. Trim and discard the bottoms of the stems if they’re dry, and chop the stems into 1/4-inch slices. Set the sliced stems aside. Cut the leaves in half lengthwise and then slice into 1/2-inch strips. Keep the sliced leaves separate from the stems.

Okay so this next part is sorta like stir fry. 

Heat your skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown. (If necessary, add water a tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking.) Add the chard stems and apples and cook for another 2 minutes.

Drain the raisins, reserving the water. Add the raisins and the chard leaves to the pan and stir well. Add 1 tablespoon of the raisin water to the pan and cover tightly. Stirring every minute or two, cook until the chard is tender, about 6 minutes. Remove the lid and cook briefly to boil off any excess moisture. Remove from the heat, stir in the soy sauce and apple cider vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 2-4 people.

Excellent with a grilled avocado + tomato sandwich! 

 -Theresa of Vegan Goodness

Photo by Chris Ford
About our Blogger: 

A lover of nature, board games, animals, Volvos, crafting, and adventure of all varieties, Theresa is also a talented and enthusiastic vegan baker & cook.  She has been known to raise the bar at every potluck she attends and always breaks for squirrels. 

Read more Vegan Goodness at her blog 
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