Swiss Chard and Beet Leaves Orzo

It’s August! So that means a plethora of fresh produce is available, including a couple of my favorites, Beets and Swiss Chard. For this recipe, get double from your beets by using the beet leaves and then saving the rest of the vegetable for another dish.

Beet leaves and Swiss Chard are full of flavor and nutrients. They provide a savory flavor with a slightly bitter and mineral flavor. If you like collard greens, you’ll definitely like swiss chard. The best part you can use the entire stem and leaves, so no waste.

Beet leaves can have a strong beet flavor that makes the bulb. For a milder beet flavor, I use golden beets. Beet leaves can produce a strong color. Golden beets have a lighter color that won’t turn your dish red or purple. However, if all that you have is red beet leaves, just be warned that you may have a strong beet flavor and a red meal in the end. I’m sure it will still be absolutely delicious.

You can eat this dish hot for lunch or serve cold as a salad. It’s a great side dish for dinner or a tasty lunch for the week.

Ingredients:

  • Leaves of 3 beets
  • 6 stalks of swiss chard
  • 2 small shallots or 1 large 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 ¼ cup of orzo pasta
  • 3 tbsp of sunflower seeds
  • ¼ tsp of turmeric powder
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Pinch of pepper flakes
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil (for topping)
  • Parmesan (for topping)

Method:

  1. In a pot, boil water and cook the orzo according to the package instructions. Once done, set aside.
  2. Separate the leaves from the stems of the beet leaves and swiss chard. Chop or tear the leaves into 1-inch pieces (they will shrink in cooking) and chop the stems into 1 inch long pieces. Keep the leaves and stems separate as we will cook them at different times.
  3. Thinly slice the shallots into 1 inch long pieces, and finely chop the garlic.
  4. On medium heat, heat up the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic. Cook until the shallots become transparent about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Then add the stems of the beet leaves and swiss chard. Cook until they become tender about 5 minutes. Add in the turmeric, pepper flakes, and sunflower seeds.
  6. Next, add the leaves. You may need to add them in batches depending on the size of the pan. They will greatly reduce in size. Make sure to cook off any excess liquid that may appear. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Then turn off the heat and add the orzo pasta and lemon juice. Mix everything well, and then serve with basil and parmesan if you like.

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