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Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans – Aleppo-style

October 17, 2020

Swiss Chard is a delicious earthy vegetable, more complex in flavor than spinach and pretty when it’s red. You can also find them green with white stems, or what’s called Rainbow when gathered with white, red and yellow stems. All good. I use a very simple prep and saute or steam-saute it with onion (sometimes I add garlic or sometimes I swap out the onion for a shallot.)

Around this time of year, with the Jewish New Year, followed closely by the festival of Succot (the Festival of Booths, commemorating the temporary dwellings the Israelites built as they crossed the desert on their way to Canaan), I try to think of ways to prepare dishes with a little special touch. I asked one of my favorite Rabbis, Rabbi Avraham, at the Academy where I study, who happens to be a terrific cook, specializing in the dishes of the once-thriving Jewish community of Aleppo, sometimes referred to as “the Pearl” of Middle-Eastern Jewish cuisine for an example of a simply prepared and delicious vegetable dish to serve over the holidays. “That’s easy! One thing I really love doing is Swiss chard with garbanzo beans.” I stared at him. “That’s exactly what I was thinking about doing!” I asked him what seasonings he adds… turmeric, cumin, coriander? “Exactly,” he replied, “with a little bit of acid like lemon juice.” Perfect.

If you’ve never tried preparing Swiss chard, grab some at the next farmer’s market, or in the organic section produce of your favorite market.

Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans – Aleppo-style


1 T extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced, half-circles

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 t. ground turmeric

1/2 t. ground cumin

1/4 t. ground coriander

1 large bunch Swiss chard (I like using multi-colored or red stalks)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 pinches sugar

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, thoroughly drained and rinsed


Rinse Swiss chard leaves, shaking off excess water over the sink. It’s not necessary to completely dry them as the water beads create the steaming part of the cooking process. Trim the bottom of the center stalks. Then cut upward on either side of the stalk and around the top to separate the leafy part. Thinly slice the celery-like stalks and set aside. Pile a few leaves at a time and roll them lengthwise like a cigar. Slice up the cigar-like leaves making ribbon-like slices. This is similar to a popular way to cut basil, and is known as a Chiffonade. Set leaves and stalks aside separately.

Grab a favorite large saute pan with a lid (or use a piece of foil as a cover.) Heat pan. Add oil. Add thinly-sliced onion. Saute over medium heat. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and sugar. Saute for about 3-5 minutes. Add sliced center stalks of swiss chard. Continue sauteeing another 3-5 minutes, until stalks begin to get tender. Add the leaves, stirring in a small batch at a time. Add lemon juice, cover and cook until just tender, 3-5 minutes. This process moves quickly, so don’t leave the kitchen! Remove lid and stir in drained garbanzo beans. Heat through and adjust seasoning to taste.

bb Note: Try swapping out lemon juice for 2 T balsamic or red wine vinegar.

Serve with brown rice for a light meal, or as a side dish. Makes 4-6 servings.

“Acquire for yourself a teacher”ā€¦ it’s a bonus if he can cook.

-Ethics of the Fathers , with a bb note


From → Sides, Veggies

One Comment
  1. Glenda permalink

    Very nice I love getting these post as I have to eat very healthy now so I go to all I have learn from you Mrs Judy love you šŸ˜

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