Thursday, July 1, 2010

Swiss Chard Tacos

In an effort to eat more sustainably and be more health-conscious, I've been trying to cure myself of eating meat every day. Beef and pork are easy to write off (the exceptions being tacos al pastor and Chinese BBQ pork buns), but chicken always finds its way into the kitchen. Very delicious in soups, salads, stir-fries, and sandwiches -- oh, chicken, why must you be so versatile and tasty?

Here in Mexico, eating vegetarian often confines one to eating a lot of beans for protein. When I moved here, I asked on the Chowhound forum if anyone knew where to find tempeh, but there was radio silence on that one. Occasionally, when I get around to the Korean store, I have a treat of tofu. But, by and large, having tried hard to kick meat out of my life in the past month has meant a whole lotta beans!

One meat-free (and bean-free) dish that I made in the last month is the following recipe for swiss chard. I swiped the recipe from one of Lesley's Diana Kennedy books, Art of Mexican Cooking. The subtitle read "Traditional Mexican Cooking for Aficionados" which freaked me out as I am already intimidated of cooking Mexican at home. However, once I read through the directions, it felt manageable.

And, it was. Easy, fast, delicious, and meat-free! I bound it in a tortilla and topped it off with a dollop of guacamole just like the one I had at a taco stand the week before. I suppose you could add salsa, but it tasted so good the way it was that I didn't want to mask the flavor with salsa.

Acelga Guisada (Stewed Swiss Chard)
Taken from: Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy

1/2 kg swiss chard, stalks chopped finely, leaves roughly shredded

2 TBP oil

2 TBP onion, chopped

1 garlic, chopped

1-2 chile serranos, chopped

225 g tomatoes, chopped and unpeeled

salt, to taste

1 1/4 c water

Heat oil. Add onions, garlic and chiles and fry for one min. Add tomato and cook on high heat for three min. Add chard, salt, and water and cover over medium heat for 10 min. Remove lid, continue cooking until tender, about 10 min. Serve with tortillas.


  1. Yum! I commend you for trying so hard to eat meat-free, and for consulting Diana Kennedy. Gotta make these sometime. Your photo totally reminded me of the ones we had at Tacos Hola!

  2. You found chard! Lucky! Oh, I miss chard... And just so you know it's possible, I've been eating meat-free down here for almost two years. And I've been living in a small town with limited produce options. It's easier if you do the cooking yourself, because eating out really does mean eating beans. Think about chiles rellenos, stuffed squash, cheese enchiladas, potato taquitos... and soon you'll be as sick of potatoes and cheese as you are of beans! :) Those tacos look amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  3. Vadose -- stuffed squash, yum! the reason for the beans is that we don't do deep fried or cheesy (hubby's restrictions, not me). a shame, really...

    and boo for no swiss chard where you live... that stuff grows like a weed. don't know if you have the space, but i grew swiss chard with my students a few years ago in the school garden, and it pretty much grew itself. did they like it? NO! did they enjoy watching it grow big ass leaves without having to do anything? YES!