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smoked paprika

Smoky Garlic Swiss Chard

The only time I buy Swiss chard at the store is when the kale and collard section is looking pretty lousy. Other than that, I only eat Swiss chard when it’s in season in my parents’ garden and I happen to swing by around that time for a visit. Even then, it’s not my first pick of the crops, but I’ll accept the variation it gives to my diet.

I’m not sure why I have a slight aversion to chard. Maybe it’s the one too many times I was forced to eat it at a friend’s house growing up. I get that feeding a vegetarian child can be challenging, but I wouldn’t say Swiss chard stewed in orange juice is the solution. I’ve heard it’s a classic pairing, but I’ll take my OJ in a glass, not spread on my plate of chard. The thought still makes me cringe and steers me away from the leafy green veggie almost every time I’m at the store.

However, recently I decided to give it another go. On my latest grocery trip, just one bunch of kale sat alone on the produce section shelves, growing yellower by the second. It seemed silly not to grab the far more beautiful bunch of red-stemmed Swiss chard just an arm’s distance away.

I ended up just making a simple saute, using smoked paprika and garlic to mask some of its earthy flavor. I’d deem this the perfect dish for those skeptical of chard. It’s more spicy and flavorful than anything, while playing off the tenderness of the leaves, the attribute I do love about this green. Serve as a healthy side or mix into pasta dishes or omelets.

Click here for recipe…

Black Bean Chili Atop Bulgur Wheat

Beans and grains. Always a go-to combo. in my kitchen. I almost always have a can of beans in the pantry, ready to be paired with some onions, peppers, and/or mushrooms hanging out in the fridge. And on any given day, you’re bound to find enough grains stashed in my place to feed an army. Who knows when the next round of hungry troopers are going to show up at my front door. Thank god for the bulk section in the grocery store, right?

When I first began dabbling with cooking, I’d make black beans and rice at least once a week. It’s a sturdy meal, filled with all the right nutrients and heartiness that an active girl like me needs. While not on my weekly menu anymore, I still cook up black beans quite a bit. In the following recipe, I created a saucy, spicy dish packed with flavor and perfect for topping a no-fuss, lightly seasoned portion of bulgur wheat.

Black Bean Chili Atop Bulgur Wheat

-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 green pepper, diced
-1 1/2 jalapeno, minced
-8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
-1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, diced
-2-15 oz. cans of black beans, one drained, one undrained
-1 Tbsp. chili powder
-2 tsp. coriander
-1 tsp. smoked paprika
-1 tsp. sugar
-1/4 cup tomato paste
-1/4 cup parsley, loosely packed, chopped (Feel free to go with the traditional cilantro, but I wanted to switch it up a bit and use some parsley I saved from the garden..added a nice hint of freshness)
-3 cups bulgur wheat
-Sour cream, optional
-Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic, and pepper for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and jalepeno, sauteing until mushrooms are tender, 6-8 minutes. Stir in chili powder, coriander, paprika, tomato paste, sugar, and salt, to taste. Add black beans plus cooking liquid of one can and parsley. Cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve atop bulgur wheat drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. Top with sour cream, if desired.