A perfect mess of vegetables that tastes better than you could hope
Feeling somewhat bloated and heavy after the holidays? Resolved to eating healthier, including more vegetables in your diet, and to limiting processed foods? Committed to cutting out all sweets, and eating only food which serves a vitamin and mineral fuelled purpose? Well, we’re here to help! And to remind you that we have a whole category of dessert recipes like galaktoboureko, baklava and koulourakia, because cutting out all sweets is dumb (unless your doctor tells you to cut out all sweets, in which case it’s very, very smart).
We do recognize that it is important for all of us to find ways of incorporating healthy and real foods into our diets; that way, everything else can be enjoyed in some acceptable form of moderation. And when that healthy and real food also happens to come together quickly and tastes so good that you end up craving it as much as you do chocolate cake, then you have a recipe you can really sink your teeth into!
This stewed Swiss chard with vegetables and feta falls into a category of meals called lathera , or oily (sounds so much more appealing in Greek, we promise!). These are foods which are often vegetable based and stewed, usually in a combination of tomato sauce and olive oil. The result is not greasy or heavy as you might expect it to be, but deeply flavourful and wholly satisfying. The addition of feta, which melts and coats all of the vegetables, is an added bonus. All in all, this dish, which admittedly looks a little messy and maybe a little confused, is sure to become one that you turn to again and again.
Swiss chard one of the stars of this meal. To prepare this powerhouse of a green leafy vegetable, it is helpful to remove part of the thick stem prior to chopping up the leaves and boiling it. If you would like to include the entire stem in your meal (not a bad idea!), chop the larger part of the stem into chunks and saute it along with the onions, celery and carrot.
We tend to eat lathera meals with a nice hunk of Greek feta on the side, and some fresh bread. In this recipe however, the feta is incorporated into the dish, ensuring that the sharp tang of the cheese is present in every bite. How wonderful! And to top it all off, you are meant to top of your dish with even more feta! You’ll note that we don’t actually include an amount of feta for this topping. Use your discretion, and crumble at will!
Stewed Swiss chard with vegetables and feta
- 2 large saucepots
- 6 cups chopped swiss chard, chopped into bite sized pieces, hard stem removed
- 2/3 cup (160 mL) olive oil
- 3 yellow medium sized onions, chopped
- 2 cups chopped celery, cut into chunks
- 3 medium sized carrots, grated
- 2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) tomato juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta, plus more for topping
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the Swiss chard. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until Swiss chard is tender. This will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and pour cold water over the Swiss chard to prevent it from cooking further at this point.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot heat the olive oil and saute your onions, celery and grated carrots. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft. This will take 5 – 7 minutes
- To the pot add the chopped tomatoes, tomato juice, drained Swiss chard and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thick and all the vegetables are soft (approximately 15 – 20 minutes).
- Stir in 3/4 cup of crumbled feta and continue to cook until the feta is melted, stirring occasionally.
- Upon serving, sprinkle additional crumbled feta on top of dish. Best served warm or at room temperature.