In May, I feel in transition mode, not wanting heavy, cooked wintry dishes, but not ready yet for summer corn or salads made from ripe tomatoes.  This easy salad, which can be a meal, suits my fancy in spring.

Did you know that chard actually came from the Mediterranean and Asia Minor?  That while it cooks and looks a little like spinach, it’s actually related to beets?  Indeed, in Israel, the greens are called “beet leaves”.  And, if you eat mesclun, a mix of baby greens, you’ve been eating chard raw already.

Chard is versatile.  It’s often used as a wrapper for stuffings like rice with chickpeas and tomatoes, or a favorite ground beef filling.  In Mexico, chard is used to wrap tamale mixtures.  Egyptian cooks sauté chard with garlic and coriander, mash it and add it like pesto to stews at the last minute to brighten flavors.   One can sauté chard with olive oil and garlic and flavor with cumin or dill or cilantro.

Yes, use organic vegetables for the most nutrition and bang for your buck!  You’re worth food without pesticides and herbicides, aren’t you?  Yep, we get only organic produce delivered to our farmers’ market every Tuesday….Real Pickles fermented vegetables contain active cultures and enzymes. Local and good stuff

Serves 4-6

3 c shredded rainbow Swiss chard 1 cup gold raisins
3 c shredded romaine lettuce or mesclun 2 oz Feta or fresh goat cheese, crumbled or 1 package organic Gorgonzola
1 c Real Pickles red cabbage sauerkraut salt and pepper to taste (if any)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVO)
5 garlic cloves, pressed

Wave chard and romaine leaves under running water and spin or towel dry.  If using mesclun mix, don’t wash as baby lettuce mixes are already washed for you.  Roll chard and romaine leaves and slice thinly crosswise, then slice in half lengthwise.  (Yes, use stalks and everything.  Stalks are the prettiest part of chard, and the crunchiest!  We love crunch in potato and corn chips, so why not in our veggies…..?)

Put all ingredients in a large salad or mixing bowl.   Other ingredients you can mix in if you’d like:  1 diced cucumber, diced tomato, sliced red onion, 1 cup walnuts.  Toss salad well.  Add a whole grain bread or serve with rice, chick peas or couscous.  Best at room temperature.  A lovely, healthy spring meal.