Herb Garden and Balsamic Sauteed Greens

My greatest desires involve attending a certain Ivy League college in Rhode Island, hunting down vegan delectables on every corner of the Earth, and reaping the benefits of my own gigantic vegetable garden. I verily intend to at least begin chipping away at the latter pillar next summer and rent a plot of land in the Eagle Heights Community Gardens. Forget the pool, I want to swim in zucchini, cherry tomatoes, kale leaves, and green beans!

For now, to my dismay, I’m stuck with only a small herb garden in my backyard. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy nothing more than stepping two feet outside my back door to pick fresh parsley, basil, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, and chives when a cooking epiphany strikes and demands a handful of homegrown aromatic herbs. I simply wish that I could sprinkle that thyme onto the carrots that my own two hands planted, watered, and tugged out of the ground. Only one year until my dreams become reality. Until then, a gallery of my herb garden:

 

 

 

For lunch, last night’s tofu burgers positively howled at me from the refrigerator. “Darn. I’m super disappointed I have to have another one of these freakin’ absolutely AMAZING patties again,” I contemplated. Poor me. To accompany my sandwich and satisfy my constant yearning for leafy greens, I quick sauteed a couple gigantic leaves of ruby red swiss chard from JenEhr Family Farm.

Balsamic Sauteed Greens (Gluten Free, Soy Free, Nut Free)

Serves 1.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 shallot or 1 tbsp red onion
  • 5 leaves swiss chard, bottom stems cut off and cut into chiffonade (how-to below.)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot, saute until transluscent, about 5 minutes. Add the swiss chard and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, add the balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine. Simple, yummy, 10-minute greens.

Chard first added to pan.

Chard after wilting.

This is one of my favorite methods of cooking greens because it’s fast and therefore retains more of the sought-after nutrients in the leaves. More cooking=more nutrients lost=unhappy vegan. Instead of chard, you could also use spinach, mustard greens, beet greens, kale, etc. and adjust the times accordingly (less for spinach, more for kale).

Now your chiffonading tutorial, as promised.

How to Chiffonade

Place the leaves of basil, chard, kale, or any leafy plant on top of one another on a cutting surface so that the largest leaf is on the bottom and the smallest is on the top, like a green pyramid. Starting from the long side nearest you, tightly roll the leaves into a bundle.

 

Slice thin strips through the bundle along the short end.

Voila, you’re a chiffonading master. Go impress someone.

After lathering two slices of multigrain bread with roasted eggplant-sundried tomato spread and topping them with 1/4 an avocado and my new favorite tofu burgers, my snappy, healthy, filling, and scrumptious sandwich came together served alongside my sauteed swiss chard.

Meal Checklist: Protein–tofu burger. Whole Grain–multigrain bread and rolled oats in tofu burger. Vegetable–avocado and onions. Leafy Green–swiss chard.

Local Ingredients: Swiss chard and garlic from JenEhr Family Farm, multigrain bread from Batch Bakehouse, carrots in tofu burger from Harmony Valley Farm.

Until next time, Ali.

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