Rainbow Chard with Caramelized Onions and Quinoa

14 Mar

It’s a treat when I am home for the evening and I get to cook with my farm fresh CSA produce. It’s even more of a treat when that evening falls on a day like today when the crisp March air is filled with the scent of night blooming jasmine and a gentle breeze flows through the kitchen windows as I slice and sauté my stresses away.

Last week’s CSA delivery left me with yet another bunch of chard. I usually let out a little grumble when I get chard because I never know what to do with it besides throw it in soup. I thought that I didn’t like it sauteed without much adornment, but it turns out that is not the case!

Tonight’s dinner was a cinch to put together and tasted so gourmet! It was satisfying yet light, and so full of complimentary flavors and textures!

Rainbow Chard with Caramelized Onions and Quinoa

  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • 1 large, red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until tender and beginning to caramelize.

1. Rinse and drain the quinoa. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the rinsed quinoa, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. While the quinoa simmers, rinse the chard and remove the stems from the leaves. Slice the stems as you would a celery stalk. Add the stems and red wine to the onions and sauté until stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

3. Gather the leaves, roll them up, and slice them into ribbons. Add them to the pan, tossing to combine. Once the leaves have wilted slightly (about 4 minutes) add the spices to taste, add the lemon juice and toss to combine.

To serve: spoon the cooked quinoa onto your plate, making a well in the middle. Serve the chard and onions on top of the quinoa, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Rinse your quinoa well to avoid any bitterness


I tried the stalks raw and I really liked the taste! It was almost like a bolder celery flavor. I’d like to add it to a salad for some crunch!

Caramelize your sliced onions

I was really hungry and didn’t wait to caramelize my onions all the way, but I think it would add a richer taste to the dish. It still tasted wonderful though!

Look at my cute little bottle of wine!

Don’t worry, the rest of the wine didn’t go to waste. 😉

The best way to slice the leaves is to gather them together and roll them up. You can them slice them into “ribbons” that will wilt quickly. The ribbons also make for a nice presentation than a rough chop would allow for.

Let the chard wilt down for just a few minutes

After adding the spices

Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Quinoa is fully cooked when you can see the germ (the white ring around the translucent grain).

I loved the presentation of this dish! It looks very gourmet but it was honestly one of the quickest dinners I have made in a long time!

Thanks to the volume of the greens and the complete protein that quinoa provides, this meal was so filling without feeling “heavy.”  I can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!


Enjoy the night! I hope yours has been as relaxing as mine. 🙂


3 Responses to “Rainbow Chard with Caramelized Onions and Quinoa”

  1. paijery March 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Ahhh that looks incredible! I love swiss chard 😀

    • Zestful Lou March 16, 2011 at 11:27 am #

      I don’t know why I was always so scared of swiss chard in the past. I love it now!

  2. 1photo1story January 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    The dish looks appetizing. The last picture is great!

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