It was a cookbook Christmas for me this year, and I’ve been working through some of the recipes. I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier, and have found some surprisingly good recipes in my Weight Watchers cookbook, including this delicious, decedent, and only 1 POINT side: Swiss Chard au Gratin.
Swiss Chard is the showiest of the greens: bright red stalks that rib the leaves, and beautiful green leaves. They have great nutritional benefits, and aren’t so scary that a spinach fan will balk at this colorful “green.” When you buy them fresh (which I think is the only way to buy Swiss chard), the leaves are huge, so be prepared to do a little chopping.
When I bought them from my local Whole Foods the first time, none of the tags actually said “Swiss chard.” I think I may have bought red chard, but they’re all similar enough that you shouldn’t pass up one because it isn’t labeled “Swiss.” Brian brought home a smaller-leaf variety when I made this dish for a dinner party, and it tasted just as delicious.
One large bunch is enough for a side dish of two large portions (Weight Watchers POINTS: 2). Make sure you wash it well, rubbing the area in the grooves of the ribs.
While you’re preparing the chard, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and set a large pot of salted water to boil.
First, cut the ribs out of the leaves so that you’re left with a pile of leafy parts and ribs:
Place the chard ribs into the boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes. The water will turn red too, so don’t be creeped out.
While the stalks are boiling, cut down the leaves to more manageable pieces.
After the 5 minutes of stalk boiling are up, put the leaves into the same pot. The chard will cook down fairly quickly, so you can add any overflow to the pot as room becomes available.
While the chard is cooking, shred 1/3 cup of reduced-fat Jarlsberg cheese. Jarlsberg basically tastes like a mild Swiss cheese (ooh…Swiss cheese and Swiss chard! That might be dee-swiss-ious). If you’re not concerned about POINTS value, add a bit more cheese.
When the Swiss chard is done boiling, drain it over the sink, and press dry with paper towels. Layer the ingredients Swiss chard (stalks and leaves), 1/2 the Jarlsberg, and 1/2 a tablespoon of grated Parmesan, and sprinkle with ground pepper. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese and pepper. Bake on the top rack in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly – about 20 minutes.
This certainly doesn’t feel like diet food, is beautiful, and was a hit at a dinner party with a notoriously picky eater!
Nutritional content for 1/4 serving of casserole: 50 Calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 gram trans fat, 7 mg Cholesterol, 736 mg sodium, 3 grams Carbohydrate, 0 gram Fiber, 5 grams protein, 53 mg Calcium.