I recently heard that people were getting bored with kale, and that Swiss chard is the new kale. I am not so sure about that, but I do admit that rainbow chard is definitely beautiful to look at (see picture).
Swiss chard is a leafy green very similar to kale with the same nutrient profile, and is rich in iron and antioxidants. You can prepare chard exactly as you would kale;Â it is just as hearty and does not wilt easily. I find chard slightly less bitter, so if you’re not a kale fan, this may be the dark leafy green that will win you over!
I do recommend varying the greens in your diet, and Swiss chard is plentiful now, so dig in and enjoy! Since it’s still bitter cold in New England, I am sharing a recipe that will warm your insides while giving you fabulous nutrition.
Spring is coming I promise and until then…enjoy your winter vegetables! Their time is almost up! — Your Chef Lara
Meatless Butternut Squash and Chard Lasagna
Winter squash and chard are filling yet low-calorie stars in this mouthwatering meatless lasagna. Flavorful, rich in color, and full of vitamins and minerals, even a meat lover will not mind this meatless main course.
YIELD: 10 Servings
- 1Â (2 pound) butternut squash
- Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
- 1Â shallot
- 1Â bunch red chard, washed, drained, but left damp
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1Â tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 2Â cloves garlic, minced
- 8Â ounces baby spinach leaves, washed, drained left damp
- 1Â container (16 ounces) part-skim ricotta
- 1/2Â cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1Â teaspoon dried oregano
- 1Â teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1Â teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1Â jar (28 ounces) spicy marinara sauce [or homemade]
- 8Â uncooked whole-wheat lasagna noodles
- 1 1/2Â cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- With a knife or fork, poke holes or small slits all over the squash. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes or until a knife inserts easily into the skin. Microwaving instead of baking the squash saves time and makes it easier to peel. Roasting it after cutting it in half is also an option.
- After cooking, let squash stand for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Use a vegetable peeler to remove skin. Cut squash in half lengthwise and using a spoon, remove seeds. Slice thinly and season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Chop the shallot.
- Remove stems from chard and coarsely chop.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large nonstick saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook garlic and shallot, stirring frequently, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer spinach and any liquid to a medium bowl to cool slightly. Stir in ricotta, Parmesan, oregano, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the same saucepan, add chard and season with salt and pepper. Press down and stir with a spatula for 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally, and adding a bit more water if pan gets dry, about 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
- Pour 1/2 cup marinara into the prepared baking dish, using the back of a spoon to evenly spread. Lay 3 or 4 noodles in sauce. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture on noodles. Layer with butternut squash. Lay 3 or 4 noodles on squash and cover with half of the marinara sauce. Cover with chard and spread remaining ricotta cheese mixture on top. Cover with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
- Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray and use it to tightly cover dish. Bake lasagna until sauce is bubbly, about 50 to 55 minutes. Remove foil and cook 5 to 10 minutes more to brown cheese. Remove from oven and let stand for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
Individual servings: Divide lasagna into 10 freezer and microwave safe containers. Let lasagna cool completely. cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on the lasagna. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Let lasagna thaw in refrigerator overnight.
Microwave: Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.
Oven: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If reheating single portions, placed desired number of pieces into baking dish. If reheating entire pan, carefully take foil off baking dish and remove plastic wrap. Cover baking dish with foil and cook in oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until lasagna is hot and bubbling.