I can’t begin to tell you how many versions of this stir fry I have made over the years. This particular chard and kohlrabi stir fry was a combination of leftover veg from the veg box and a few items I had in the cupboards. It’s really a recipe where you can change pretty much any of the ingredients to suit what you have. Using a mix of different vegetables, sauces and meat (or veggie mince or tofu) means you get something completely different every time. This particular marriage of kohlrabi and chard works really well.
I remember the first time I tried Kung Pao chicken and how much I loved the numbing sensation you get on your tongue from the Szechuan pepper. In order to use up more of the vegetables from my veg box I made my version of Kung Pao chicken with mushrooms. This is definitely not a traditional Kung Pao chicken recipe, it doesn’t even have peanuts, but this version in particular is known in our house as: the best stir fry you’ve ever made. High praise indeed.
You will need (for two portions):
If you’re sat there looking at your kohlrabi wondering why on earth you’ve been sent a vegetable that has tentacles, fear not. I’ve been getting an organic veg box for years and I wanted to share some of my favourite vegetable box recipes. Sometimes you can end up with a vegetable you’ve never cooked with before so hopefully you can find a recipe for almost everything here! In this post I’ll take you through the contents of my most recent veg box and how I used everything up.
There’s a bit of a miso theme on the blog at the moment. For two reasons: firstly, miso is delicious and secondly, it’s expensive and you have to buy quite a lot. So I needed to use up my stash and I really wanted to have a go at my own miso roasted aubergine. Most of the ingredients used are pretty standard store cupboard staples; I was pretty amazed how much more than the sum of its parts this recipe is. It’s fantastic, if I do say so myself, and my miso glaze and my soy dressing will be making many future appearances in my kitchen.
You will need (for two):
- 2 aubergines (normal purple ones are fine but if you can get stripy or white ones they do look lovely and are slightly smaller)
- 150g brown rice
- 5 stalks of chard roughly chopped
For the miso glaze:
- 2 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp runny honey (use maple syrup or agave to make it vegan)
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
For the dressing:
Cooking for one somehow seems more complicated than it should be. Even though it’s just a case of halving a recipe designed for two if I’m ever cooking for myself I often find myself opting for a slice of toast rather than anything more involved. But toast isn’t really that filling for dinner and no matter how much jam you spread on I’m not sure it’ll count as one of your five a day. That’s where this simple beef and chard ramen comes in. It is easy to scale up or down, you can use almost anything that you have in your kitchen and it doesn’t take much time to put together.
You will need (for one):
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 noodle nest
- 3-4 stalks rainbow chard, woody ends removed (if there are any)
- 1 small sirloin or rump steak
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for cooking
- 1 small red onion, sliced
Start by making the broth. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a saucepan then stir in the miso paste and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer then pour into the bowl that you will serve the finished dish in.
Return the pan to the heat and fill with water. Bring the pan to the boil.
While you wait for the water to boil season the steak on both sides. Get a frying pan on a high heat and add a little oil, fry the steak on both sides until cooked to your liking. Remove the steak and put to one side.
Return the steak pan to a medium heat then add the onion. Cook, stirring regularly until the onion is brown at the edges.
Put the chard into a steamer that will fit above the saucepan of boiling water. Add the noodles to the water and steam the chard over the top. Leave to cook/steam for 2-3 minutes.
Drain the noodles then add to the broth with the chard and fried onions. Slice up the steak and add this to finish the dish.
I love how colourful this dish is and it’s so full of flavour; a deep saltiness from the broth, comforting carbs from the noodles, richness from the meat, a fresh earthiness from the chard and sweet caramelised flavours from the onion. Cooking the onion in the steak pan really adds to the flavour of the finished dish as the onion picks up any delicious caramelised meat juices from the pan. You could easily use chicken or tofu instead of the beef and swap the chard for kale or pak choi. A sprinkle of fresh chopped chillies or coriander over the top of the dish would add another level of freshness. A bowl of vibrancy and comfort and if you make it just for yourself you can slurp away to your heart’s content.
Chard has such a fantastic earthy flavour and I love using it in all sorts of dishes. I used Swiss chard for this recipe but the rainbow variety would work just as well and look fantastic. My Sticky Soy Chard came about because I wanted to treat the chard exactly as I would treat bok choi; covering it in a savoury, sticky glaze. The chard plant itself does have a habit of getting a bit of mud stuck in the leaves so make sure you give it a good wash before you use it.
You will need (for two as a side):
- 1 head chard
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp runny honey (use maple syrup to make it vegan)
- Juice ½ a lime
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ tsp five spice
- Black pepper
- Rapeseed oil, for frying
Snap the chard leaves off the stalk so you have individual leaves. Cut off any larger end pieces from the leaves and give everything a good rinse; if the leaves retain a little water that’s not a bad thing.
Get a wok or large frying pan on a medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and dry fry for a few minutes until toasted. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.
Add a little oil to the pan then add all the chard. Leave to soften for five minutes or so, stirring regularly. The water left on the leaves will help to steam it.
Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, lime juice, garlic, five spice and a little black pepper. Tip this into the pan and cook for a few minutes more until the sauce has turned into a sticky glaze.
Sprinkle over the sesame seeds before serving.
We had this for a light lunch and it would be fantastic served with just simple steamed rice. Maybe with a few vegetable spring rolls, crispy tofu or chicken skewers on the side. The glaze has a bit of everything: salt, sweet, sour and a little warmth from the five spice and pepper. When cooked this way the chard stalks retain a little crunch and the leaves wilt to a delicious softness. You could try this glaze with other greens too; cabbage, kale or even brussels sprouts would work really well.
There’s always a pack of lentils in my kitchen cupboards. Sometimes more than one; the quick cooking red variety to throw into soups, the big fat yellow ones for making dahl and the more elegant puy for making a wholesome side dish or salad. The mealy, earthy taste and texture that comes from a lentil is part of its charm; the fact that they are so humble but so versatile and filling is why I always find myself with lentils on my plate at least once a week. This dish of lentils and chard was served alongside some simply griddled chicken but it was so good that I think it’s perfect as a meal on its own.
I simply couldn’t have another plate of steamed or stir fried chard so I put my thinking cap on and set about making a chard and bacon lasagne. I also realised maybe chard isn’t the only vegetable I haven’t paid much attention to.