Rainbow chard, leeks, garlic, and pine nuts

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Rainbow chard, leeks, garlic, and pine nuts
For week three of our “Best of the Market” program I am told by the market managers the bags will feature rainbow chard and leeks along with fruit, flowers, cookies, and other vegetables. I found some chard and leeks at a local organic grocery store so I could try a recipe to print up for the market bags. It turned out to be a colorful side dish with soft but distinctive good flavors.

Servings: 4


  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • 2 big leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted in a skillet
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preparing chard is fun. As the stems and ribs take longer to cook, you have to cut them away from the big leaves. Simply run a knife along the side of main central rib. Cut the stems and ribs into ¼ inch slices and set aside with the leeks. I had always heard to stack the leaves, roll them up and cut them into 1 inch wide strips. A dilemma posed itself. Do you roll them up lengthwise (starting from the tip of the leaf) or crosswise? I thought rolling them up lengthwise and then cutting the strips would leave long lasagna size leaves and didn’t know whether or not they would cook down to a manageable size. On the other hand, rolling a twelve inch leaf half crosswise was difficult to do and still keep it even (sorry this is so tedious -- it’s a window into my mind). I opted for lengthwise and they cooked just fine. Rinse and drain them. Using a large skillet with a cover, heat the olive oil, and sauté the leeks, garlic, stems, and ribs until crisp tender. Add the chard leaves. They will fill up the pan. Cook them until they wilt enough to fit into the pan and allow a cover to be used. Cover and simmer them for a few minutes until tender. The water on the leaves should be enough to keep the veggies from drying out. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle the pine nuts somewhere over the rainbow.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 162
  • Fat: 13 gm
  • Saturated fat: 1 gm
  • Trans fat: 0 gm
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 11 gm
  • Fiber: 3 gm
  • Sodium: 162 mg
  • Protein: 3 gm