Friday, July 18, 2014

Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Salad

I've been cooking this month, but somehow I've found myself cooking a lot of my old favorites, which are already on this blog and because it has been so hot, I've mostly been making salads.  So, I thought I would share with you one of the salads that I usually make in the fall. It's composed of roasted caramelized cubes of Butternut Squash, chopped up Swiss Chard and pre-cooked Wild Rice. Now, I cheated a bit as I bought the Wild Rice precooked at Trader Joe's, but I will give you the recipe for making it from scratch.  I also added Red Onions - I bought new ones with the green tops attached at the Farmer's Market so that's why you see what looks like green onion. The dressing is composed of Cider Vinegar, a bit of Olive Oil, salt and mustard.  It's a filling salad and quite beautiful to look at and delicious too! 

Swiss Chard called Silverbeet in New Zealand is a nutritional powerhouse, chock full of antioxidants and phytonutrients.  It's considered helpful for blood sugar regulation as is Butternut Squash and  is anti-inflammatory and good for bone health. For me, It's tender and delicious and I think it is tastier than Kale.  So, if you are tired of the same old salads - try this one. I think you'll like it.  

Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Salad

1 bunch Swiss Chard, washed, trimmed from center rib and cut into bite size pieces
1 small Butternut Squash, peeled, cut into bite size cubes and roasted (recipe below)
Cooked Wild Rice (recipe below)
1/2 small Red Onion cut into small pieces
3 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt

In a small bowl, put in the Red Onion, the Cider Vinegar, the Mustard, the Olive Oil and Salt. Stir to Combine.  Place the Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice in a large bowl.  Pour dressing over and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

For Butternut Squash:  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Put small cubes of Butternut Squash onto an oiled baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to keep the pieces from sticking.  The squash is done with the pieces are browned and soft.

For Wild Rice:  Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add in 1/4 cup of Wild Rice and turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 45 minutes then drain in a mesh colander.  Use as directed above.

Five Element Analysis

Swiss Chard belongs to the Wood Element and the Cider Vinegar and Olive Oil adds even more. The Wild Rice, since it is a dark colored seed contributes the Water Element.  The Butternut Squash adds the Earth Element and the Mustard and Red Onion contribute the Metal Element. Only the Fire Element is missing, so serve this with a Fiery main course or add a Berry dessert to create balance. I'm thinking of adding some tart dried cherries next time.

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