Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

SEASONAL COOKING: Green Chard Smoothie

Winter is the time for hearty greens, all braised or roasted or otherwise cooked up and providing those good vitamins so you don't wither away in the frosty chill. The thing is, I like my greens raw not all cooked and wilty and soft. This is not a problem with regular lettuce or kale, which I can toss into a salad and chomp down like the good little rabbit I am.

But when you get something a little more substantial, like chard, it doesn't work so well to just eat raw. They are bitter and thick and really need a little cooking to mellow them out and refine the flavor.

But if you're a weirdo like me and MUST eat them raw, throwing them in a smoothie is the perfect way to do it. You may be thinking ... ewwwww! But here is the secret -- once you put sufficient fruit with your leaves, the whole thing tastes like fruit, with the added bonus of being a beautiful brilliant green color and giving you a metric ton of Vitamin A, C and potassium.  This is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, and eating it raw gets you the maximum nutrients.

The key for this is really having a good blender. Chard is thick and could be difficult for cheap blenders. My BlendTec handles it like a champ, though.

So here's how you make it:

- 3 cups chard (leaves only)
- 2 bananas (frozen if you have time)
- 1/2 cup juice (I like pineapple, apple is probably good too)
- 1 cup ice

If you're a smoothie making person and have add-ins hanging around like protein powder or flax seeds, toss them in for maximum health.


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