Friday, May 21, 2010

Almond Butter Chard

One summer, almost two years ago, I saw a nutritionist who talked me into trying a nutritional cleanse. It was based on the book, “If the Buddha Came to Dinner, ” by Hale Sofia Schatz. The program consisted of eating whole, unprocessed (clean) foods for three weeks to detoxify my liver and give my gut a rest from hard to digest foods. It was not really meant to be a weight loss diet, but it would improve my digestion and hopefully help me feel fuller on less food.

I’m still don’t know what made me even try something like this. In the past, whenever someone mentioned “elimination diet” I would shut down like a steel trap. Because of certain foods I was eating at the time, I was craving food all the time and couldn’t imagine having to control myself on a diet of only a few foods.

That being said, the first week, I ate only vegetables. But the trick was that I could eat ANY vegetables I wanted, even the “bad” ones I had learned about in other diets, like avocado, potatoes, and corn. Being given license, I ate an avocado every single day! Actually, that program went a long way to abolish all sorts of food taboos I had. For example, I can also eat moderate amounts of olive oil and butter (yes butter!) with my food, without worrying about gaining weight or losing control.

Another reason why I was surprised that I’d even try something like this was because I really didn’t like vegetables at all. When I was a vegan for 3 years, in my early 20’s, I lived on pb&j sandwiches most of the time, rarely eating a vegetable that wasn’t on the higher end of starchy, like potatoes and carrots. I didn’t (and still don’t) enjoy eating cold vegetables and didn’t really know how to cook them. One of the benefits of this cleanse, besides making me feel absolutely fabulous, emotionally and physically (more on that later) was introduce me to good tasting veggie recipes. I made soups, roasted roots and greens almost every night.

Towards the end of the three week cleanse, we could add in lean meat and non-meat proteins. One of the recipes I discovered on the cleanse was Almond Butter Chard. . I had truly never eaten chard before this recipe landed in my lap. It is amazingly delicious and simple to follow. Try it and let me know what you think!

Almond Butter Chard

This recipe is a great accompaniment at any meal of the day. I’ve served poached or fried eggs on it, for breakfast, and it goes well with chicken or salmon for a delicious supper.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon onion, diced
4 leaves of chard, washed with hard end of stem chopped off and discarded
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon water (optional)
1 dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Separate chard stems from leaves. Dice stems and roughly chop leaves. Heat the oil on medium, in a medium-sized, shallow skillet. Add the onion and chard stems and sauté until the onion starts to soften. Add the chard leaves and stir to coat. Continue sautéing until mostly wilted. Make a well in the middle of your greens. Add the tamari and almond butter, and stir to make the sauce, as it heats. You might need to add water, if the sauce seems too dry. Then stir the sauce into the greens. Sprinkle cayenne and serve immediately.

Are there any recipes that have transformed your thinking about a certain food? Please share!


  1. Your path has been interesting. You must have noticed a difference in hair and skin, too.

  2. I haven't noticed any particular change in my hair, but my skin is definitely better than ever, especially the less refined I eat.

  3. Wow this Chard looks amazing! I am definitely making it this week! Love to hear about your journey to healthy food Molly!

  4. I don't have a specific recipe to offer but making a veggie burger out of black beans, brown rice and spices really made me think about having a satisfying meal without a ton of meat. I grew up in an area and culture where meat is a huge huge staple and then also moved to the Seattle metropolitan area chock full of cliquish vegetarians so I was on my own. That said, thanks for sharing and asking others to do as well :)