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Penny Pinching Epicure: Swiss Chard with Balsamic Glazed Chickpeas

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Swiss Chard with Balsamic Glazed Chickpeas

From swiss chard to kale to broccoli rabe, I love cooking with greens. They are low in calorie, high in fiber and an excellent source of vitamins & nutrients (iron, vitamins A, C & K, potassium, calcium). Many greens are also pretty cheap--kale and turnip greens are usually less than a dollar a pound, and frequently on sale. Do be aware that greens have a very high water content so they cook down a lot; don't be fooled by the size of the leaves.

My favorite green is probably swiss chard. It's more expensive than most greens, but it cooks up beautifully, and maintains its color and texture better than others.

A note about cooking greens: Stems can be woody and fibrous; I usually discard them unless I am using swiss chard, in which case I chop them up and cook them for a few minutes before adding the leaves.

Swiss Chard with Balsamic Glazed Chickpeas


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp vegetable stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 large bunch swiss chard, cleaned

  1. Clean swiss chard and remove leaves from stalks. Tear leaves into pieces and chop stalks into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan and saute onions over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and stalk pieces, and cook 6-8 minutes until everything is browned.
  3. Add chickpeas, vinegar, honey, stock, salt & pepper, turn up flame to medium-high and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly to avoid burning, cook down until liquid turns to a thick syrup.
  4. Turn flame down low and add swiss chard leaves. Stir to coat, then cover saucepan and remove from flame. Allow to sit 4-5 minutes or until leaves are tender but still green
Fun additions:
  • Chop up some portobello caps and add in step 2.
  • Substitute chickpeas for canellini beans or pigeon peas.
  • Cube some firm tofu and brown with the onions and garlic.
The cost:
onion: .23
garlic: .15
chickpeas: .79
swiss chard: 2.39

Grand total: $3.56; serves 6-8 as a side dish

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