Top 5 – Ways with Silver Beet

After talking up the fabulousness of Silver Beet a couple of posts ago I thought it only fitting that it be the subject of this weeks top 5, especially as quite a few people said they didn’t like the stuff.

So in an effort to dispel the suggestion that Chard is not an appetising vegetable these are my Top 5 ways with Silver Beet or Chard.

1. Chicken Saag – Yes I know that Saag is the Hindi word for Spinach and this is a post about silverbeet but I really, really, really like using Chard in this curry.  I cook the silver beet and puree it before adding it to the curry so it add flavour and colour without texture.  This seems to be a huge plus for the kids who will happily eat platefuls of this curry – provided I don’t add too much chilli that is.

2. Silver Beet & Ricotta Cannelloni – Yeah  I know I’m just taking yet another spinach recipe and substituting chard, but it works and spinach doesn’t grow well in Melbourne’s summer which is when you have the rest of the ingredients on tap.  I fill my cannelloni with a mixture of sauteed onion, ricotta, grated Parmesan and a bit of egg.  I then place the filled cannelloni in a baking dish, top with tomato sauce (with a bit of chilli in it) then add a layer of bechamel and bake.  I could happily eat this every other day and not get bored of it.  Real comfort food and delicious to boot.

3. Spanakopita – I love Spanakopita, there’s something about the combination of salty feta and the slightly astringent lemony flavour of silver beet that just works so well.  The way I make it is to layer 10 sheets of filo pastry brushed with melted butter into a baking dish add a mixture of feta, ricotta, egg, sauteed onion and silver beet (much like the filling in the Spinach & Feta Triangle recipe), then add 10 more sheets of butter brushed filo before baking.

4. Silver Beet & Cannelini Bean Soup – The idea for this recipe came from a friend of mine for whom this is a fail safe recipe that all the family enjoys.  I love the combination of Silver beet and beans and sitting on some lovely sour dough bread.  When topped with cheese this makes a substantial lunch or pleasant dinner.

5. Boiled and served with gravy –  Silver beet is perhaps the vegetable that, whenever I eat it it immediately transports me back to childhood.  Served either with a knob of butter and black pepper, or better yet with gravy alongside a roast chicken it brings back memories of childhood meals .  I think its because boiled (or steamed) silver beet has a really distinctive taste and its a taste that I experienced a lot in childhood but not as much since.  Silver beet was a regular part of my mums meat and 3 veg meals.  It would have usually been a Fordhork Giant type variety – the huge ones with the crinkly leaves and she would always leave too much stalk attached for my liking.  To this day I don’t really like the stalks and remove them before chopping the leaves.  After leaving home it wasn’t a vegetable I bought regularly  (in fact as a student I don’t recall buying many vegetables, I tended to subsist on a diet of two minute noodles and baked beans – cheap and relatively filling).  Then after my impoverished student days I went to Britain and I don’t recall seeing it in the shops much there then.  Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough, or perhaps its more of an Australian thing to eat.  Regardless though I eat a lot of it now, but rarely do I enjoy it more than I when I eat a whole big mound of it covered in gravy, alongside a roast chicken.  Incidentally that gravy needs to by made with roasting tray juices, flour and a spoon of Vegemite added for both flavour and salt.  Anything else just wouldn’t be the same.


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28 Responses to Top 5 – Ways with Silver Beet

  1. Trouble is I don’t like spinach either. They’re about the onoly green begetables I don’t like – that is unless I’ve missed something. Probably along with fennel the only vegetable green or not that I don’t like!

  2. L says:

    This is a very handy list. Throughout winter particularly I am desperate for great silverbeet recipes because it tends to be the only thing I have an excess of. My real problem is the pesky 2 year old’s dairy allergy. Silverbeet goes sooo well with cheese!
    Very similar to your spanakopita, but I particularly like silverbeet in turkish pide. My version of your Number 5 is boiled and covered in butter and salt.

    How do you whip up a quick gravy when you haven’t roasted any meat? Stock cubes taste so fake and carton stock has no oomph. I don’t mind the consomme you can buy, but surely there is a better way? I’ve made a big batch of beef demi-glaze that I froze in ice cube trays, but I was wondering if you had any short-cuts?

    • Liz says:

      Not sure how much I can help with the gravy as I very rarely make it except when I roast, on the odd occasion I have I’ve used a couple of chicken wings – pan fried them, added a few aromatic vegetables and sauteed them with the wings. Add some water. Remove the flavourings and make the gravy from what effectively is a very reduced stock. It isn’t that quick though…

  3. Kirsty says:

    thanks for the recipes, they are winter’s zuchinni. I quite like it quickly fried using fresh wet leaves, olive oil and lemon juice, feels like it’s doing you good.

  4. Amber says:

    Love it…I am so going to try the curry. Is there tofu or chicken in there too? I do a been and kale soup that is similar 🙂

    • Liz says:

      I make it with chicken. You could probably do a paneer version with the same sauce quite successfully I would have thought.

  5. leduesorelle says:

    Wonderful ideas! Though both have their uses, I much prefer chard to spinach. It holds its texture, and doesn’t get as slimy as spinach seems to as a cooking green.

  6. Lovely recipes and photos-intrigued by the serving fork/spoon on the Spanakopita photo with the engravings on it…

    Have to say I do like the tender white stems of young chard-not the more mature ones. I steam fry them with a little butter and a splash of white wine then top with crème fraiche, grated cheese and breadcrumbs and finished off under a hot grill. This is then served with the steamed green leaves of the chard.

    • Liz says:

      I found that fork/spoon in an Op (charity) Shop and I loved the look of it but I have to admit to not really knowing what it would be designed for. If anything was going to make me enjoy the stems I think that combination would – sounds lovely.

  7. Leanne says:

    I know you like silver beet, but I just can’t like it, I know that is a silly way to put it, but I have never really liked it. I don’t mind if it cooked in stuff and you can’t really taste it, but that is about it. I won’t be growing it in my garden, in case you hadn’t figured that out. 🙂

  8. Diana says:

    I like how you puree them and mix it into curry. Unfortunately my family don’t enjoy feta cheese that much. I often cook them in gratin.

  9. Diana says:

    Chard does not grow well in summer here in Adelaide even in partial shade. They seems not to grow at all.

  10. Love these and as it’s currently the only reliable veg in the garden at the moment recipes I definitely need. I planted my silver beet about this time last year and although some has gone to seed it’s still going strong – gotta love that – plus I have more baby plants coming on now from all the fallen seeds. Pathetically I do absolutely nothing to the silver beet now, I don’t even water it, but it just keeps on keeping on.

    I like it as you have suggested with cheese in either pies or canneloni, I use a layer of it in the middle of a lasagne, shredded in stir fries or just quickly boiled (or blanched if it’s the really young leaves) then put back on the pan quickly with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Last night I boiled some up and then poured the boiling water and silver beet over baby spinach leaves in a colander then added the oil and lemon juice, it was a nice combination. I’ve also got a silver beet and lentil soup recipe that is nice and feels so healthy.

    • Liz says:

      Silver beet and lentil soup sounds great – I’ll have to make it soon. I’m sure I’ve eaten it before but can’t remember making it though. I do love a low maintenance plant.

  11. Mark Willis says:

    Pretty much like you do, I use Chard wherever spinach is called for. I like its robust texture better than spinach, except when spinach is served raw as baby leaves. I’ve never had Chard with gravy though – must give that a go (although being a Brit, I probably won’t use Vegemite!)

    • Liz says:

      You don’t know what you’re missing…well actually you probably do hence the omission…it was a thing mum always used to do when making gravy and I’ve adopted the habit – not sure whether thats a good thing or not but still…

  12. Hi Liz, it was nice to know that you know the hindi word “Saag”. Don’t take me wrong, but it does not exactly mean spinach. Any cooked mixed greens is saag. And I checked your spinach chicken curry with all that spices. I felt like I was reading an indian blog.
    You seem like a great gardener,too. You have such wonderful weather in Melbourne during March, I though it would be cold.

    • Liz says:

      Ah – even better as I’m using silver beet rather than spinach – I’m happy the dish title is correct even if I got the meaning slightly wrong. Melbourne doesn’t really get that cold (well compared to Europe & Nth America anyway). Our winters are cool with daytime temps averaging about 14-18C and nighttimes don’t really drop below freezing which means we are able to garden happily all year round which is lovely.

  13. Spanakopita is sooo good! It’s been so long since I had it, I’m gonna make for sure this weekend. Thank you for remind me of this awesome dish.

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