Side dish Saturdays: Sage chard with lemon-feta rice (4-6 servings)

This week's contribution comes from reader Neeli, who served this dish at Thanksgiving last year but has also used the recipe to stuff peppers and tomatoes. She graciously allowed me to use her directions and descriptions, so all that follows comes from her blog. I haven't tried the recipe myself, but I've been looking for motivation to finally try cooking chard, and this may be it!

Sage is fried in some butter, then added to some stir-fried Swiss chard, onions and tomatoes. The sage-chard mixture is served along with some brown arborio rice. It tastes like inside out grape-leaves.  

Get the rice going first. Then prep the swiss chard, onions, and tomatoes.  

You will need:
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 6-8 sage leaves
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves chopped and separated
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • fresh black pepper 

For the rice:

  • 1 cup brown arborio rice (you can use white too)
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/3 cup feta, crumbled
  • juice of 1 lemon    

  1. Heat water until boiling and then add the arborio rice. Cook over medium-high heat for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the chard, cut up the onions, and leave the tomatoes whole.
  3. Heat butter in a wide skillet over medium heat. Once hot, fry sage leaves until fragrant or about 1 minute. Set the fried sage leaves aside.
  4. Add in chopped chard stems and diced onions to the same skillet. Cook 8 minutes.
  5. Stir in the chard and continue to cook another 8 minutes.
  6. Add in tomatoes, and turn down heat to low. Continue cooking another 8 minutes. Now focus on the rice.
  7. Place feta and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Once rice is cooked, add it into the mixing bowl and toss together. Season with pepper.
  9. Top the chard mixture with the fried sage leaves and serve alongside the rice.  

Notes: I didn't add salt because the feta is salty/brine-y enough. For the chard – Wash and dry the leaves. Separate the stems from the leaves. Chop the stems like you would chop celery. For the leaves – Place the leaves one on top of the other and then roll into a "burrito," and then slice across into 1/2-inch ribbons. This will give you nice chard ribbons.

Neeli notes that you can substitute goat cheese for the feta and regular rice for the brown arborio, if desired.

Thanks again to Neeli for sharing a lovely recipe! Readers, don't be shy about sharing your own favorite side dishes with me! See an earlier post to find out what I'm looking for, as well as how to contact me. I hope to hear from more of you!