• Silverbeet frittata (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
Kale might hog the spotlight, but it's silverbeet we really want to groove with. Here's how to make the most of this down to earth leafy green.
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4 Jun 2020 - 12:09 PM  UPDATED 5 Jun 2020 - 10:19 AM

Beta vulgaris L. Cicla  - aka silverbeet or Swiss chard - is one of the most forgiving and giving vegetables to eat and grow. It packs a tremendous amount on nutrition into its dark green leaves. A hit of silverbeet will give you plenty of fibre, as well as vitamins A, C, B6 and K plus a dose of riboflavin, folate, manganese and potassium. All that for a measly 62 kilojoules per 100 grams - talk about a powerhouse.

It's a giver in the garden too. You can easily grow silverbeet to glut-like quantities; picking it only makes it try harder. You can also happily sow it in most regions of Australia year-round, making it the perfect winter crop. Here's how to make the most of this easygoing all-rounder.

Wrap it

When silverbeet hugs tomato, the result is nourishment for the very soul. These classic Lebanese vegetarian parcels are very satisfying to both make and eat.

Bake it

An Italian Easter pie perfectly showcases the harmony between silverbeet and eggs. They just love each other! The soft, creamy egg flavour balances the bitterness of silverbeet to arrive somewhere juuuust right.

Potato ricotta gnocchi with braised greens

These light gnocchi are served with nutty browned butter and parmesan. With the greens, it's big, rich and flavourful. Once you’ve had gnocchi like this, there’s no other way to have them. 

Silverbeet and spinach dumplings

Got a crowd coming over? These vegan dumplings are the ideal entertaining food. 

Soup it

When you're eating something as warming and filling as this soup, you'll be glad silverbeet grows so well in winter. The juicy lamb meatballs and spicy-sweet broth offer a comforting, more-ish quality, while silverbeet, lentils and chickpeas add nutritional peace of mind.

Crunch it

Parveen's onion and potato bhaji

Silverbeet and onion add interesting sharpness to potato and chickpea fritters. These bhajis are the perfect snack to munch on with an evening beer. Hopefully one earned earlier when picking your silverbeet fresh from the garden or pot.

Heap it

A simple butter puff pastry tart is heaped with silverbeet leaves and herbs to produce this classic Corsican pie. A rustic, easy dish like this one is when silverbeet really gets to shine.

La vignarola

A fresh and vibrant springtime stew from the kitchens of Rome, la vignarola makes the best of the season's produce.

African spiced fish with pap and silverbeet

This recipe was given to me from my mother-in-law when I got married. Her son loves it, so I wanted to get it right for him. The fish is marinated in ginger, garlic, peri peri paste and Moroccan spice. 

Rewind it

Ribollita means “reboiled”. Being a peasant dish, any leftover of this hearty soup would be reboiled over and over again for a few days in a row, each time gaining in flavour. Silverbeet and cavolo nero are both up to the task.

Pack it

Sonsa seriously knows how to serve up gozleme.

Is there anyone who isn't craving silverbeet and feta gözleme right now? One glimpse at that image and we're greedily munching in our minds. The best thing is, it's super simple to make this gözleme a reality...

Pie it

The Greeks sure know how to love silverbeet - just mix it with haloumi, olives and chicken and it will never stray. This pie is a bit of a labour of love itself, but beyond worth it when you bite into the flaky pastry and hit the bold flavours beyond.

Egg it

Four ingredients make this delicious Dutch-style frittata, with silverbeet the unquestionable star. This pie is happy served either hot or cold, so pop a slice into a lucky lunchbox this week.

Cannellini bean, ruby chard and quinoa pilaf

This pilaf is a particularly lovely way to cook and eat quinoa, the flavours add to simple grain and the greens and beans add texture and flavour.

Hortopita (spinach and feta pie)

“This showstopper of a pie from grandmother, Christina Phillips, is full of green goodness. Christina is from Northern Greece and still cooks her treasured recipes; her protégé is her grandson, top chef Matt Germanchis, who leads the Pei Modern restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne.” Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Fire

Stir it

Another time that silverbeet brought rice to life (see Greek pie, above). This mushroom and silverbeet risotto is a good reminder that you can stir silverbeet through almost any dish to add texture, nutrition and flavour. It's sharp, bitter, almost sweet notes are a good match for most other ingredients. Time to start that veggie patch...

 

Go for greens
Kale stem pesto

How many kale recipes have you come across in which the directions tell you to reserve the stems for “another use” or even discard them altogether? Well, friends, this is your other use. 

Prosciutto and rocket cauliflower pizza

A cauliflower crust takes the stress out of making pizza at home for those eating gluten free. This recipe makes one large pizza.

Swiss chard and chickpea stew

This nourishing stew that can be ready in 30 minutes is the answer to your midweek comfort-food dreams. Serve as-is, with a dollop of natural yoghurt, or some buttered crusty bread. 

Kale chips

If you’re on the fence about kale, it will definitely woo you in this crisp, lightly oiled and salted form. 

Cannellini bean, ruby chard and quinoa pilaf

This pilaf is a particularly lovely way to cook and eat quinoa, the flavours add to simple grain and the greens and beans add texture and flavour.

Dandelion greens risotto with raw hemp felafel

I don’t usually make my meals so multi-faceted. But every once in a while my brain lights up with a big idea and something like raw hemp falafel happens. And then all I can think about is emerald-colored foods with a better-for-you spin. Thus, quinoa risotto. And of course you need something sweet to round out all of these greens. Sweet potatoes it is!

Rocket and ricotta tart (torta di lidricut)

Salad leaves and vegetables are used in a wide array of Italian desserts such as this one. The key component to this tart is the pasta frolla, a crumbly shortcrust pastry. Dust with icing sugar and serve with double cream.