Swiss Chard and Romano Beans (Italian Greens and Beans)

Looking for a super healthy dinner idea? Swiss Chard and Beans, could not be any healthierImage: Italian Greens and Beans Image: Michele Romano Swiss Chard Fanor tastier! My Dad uses what he calls pig weed when making this recipe. Lol. In proper English, it's known as lambs quarters, which is also a strange name. It grows wild like crazy in our garden in the late spring and early summer. That is when we pick it, young and tender before it turns to seed. Some people think it is just an annoying weed but it is delicious cooked or steamed and very high in nutrition. I use Swiss chard because it's so healthy and once planted, it just keeps coming back over and over as we use it.

I blanch and freeze large amounts of chard. It is almost like fresh when I go to use it in soups and stews and of course, Italian greens and Romano Beans. Since we have our own dried Romano Beans, and I have chard frozen, I can make this amazingly nutritious dish anytime throughout the year.

Note: Like I say about all my Romano bean recipes, if you do not have the dried beans, the large tin of canned Romano beans can be substituted. Or, you could use another dried bean of your choice such as pinto beans.

Recipe for Italian Greens and Romano Beans

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups dried Romano beans or dried beans available
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Optional: 2 small pieces bacon or pork rind.
  • 1 onion, diced.
  • 6 cups frozen chard or the equivalent of fresh when cooked.
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped in large chunks
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
Preparation for cooking dried Romano Beans
  1. Cover dried Romano beans completely with water.
  2. Add salt and bacon or pork rind.
  3. Boil covered for an hour, add chopped onion.
  4. Cover and boil until beans are cooked, firm but not mushy. (Do not let beans run out of water, add some while they are cooking if need be.)
Preparation for Swiss Chard and Beans
  1. Cook fresh Swiss chard in salted water until tender, if it is frozen, just until heated through.
  2. Drain liquid out of chard reserving approx. 2 cups.
  3. Stir in Romano beans along with the juice they were cooked in or 19 oz. can of Romano beans.
  4. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add garlic and fry until it is black.
  5. Pour garlic and oil into greens and beans and mix well.
  6. Serve hot with fresh bread, salt and pepper and even a little Romano cheese if desired!

Note: Prep and cook time vary with this recipe depending if your beans are precooked or canned.

Health Benefits: Beans contain a variety of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and folate. They are considered a vegetable, but contain the valuable protein that is often associated with meat.
Swiss Chard is a nutritional powerhouse! Contains many phytonutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties. Chard is rich in iron and vitamins C, K, and A. Vitamin K is used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Live Long and Mangia!

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