Rainbow chard kicks Swiss chard up a level in both looks and flavor. Those in the know are aware that "rainbow chard" isn't an actual varietal of chard, but simply a mix of white-stemmed Swiss chard, red chard, and golden chard. When those three power players come together, they pack in a lot of flavor. As a result, rainbow chard has the intense mineral edge of Swiss chard, the earthy sweetness of red chard, and the wonderfully mild nutty flavor of golden chard.
How to Buy Rainbow Chard
Look for rainbow chard with a good mix of the different colors, all of which have bright green leaves and fresh-cut stems. Avoid bunches with yellowing or wilting leaves, or browned stalks.
Big, bright, and vibrant are your keywords when choosing rainbow chard to buy. Unlike some other produce, if rainbow chard looks good, it's pretty darn likely to taste good.
How to Store Rainbow Chard
Store bunches of rainbow chard wrapped loosely in plastic in the fridge for a day or two. For longer or better storage, separate the leaves and stems/center ribs. Store the stems/ribs loosely wrapped in plastic. Lay the leaves on layers of paper towels, roll them up, and pop them in a plastic bag. Leaves stored this way can last up to a week.
How to Cook Rainbow Chard
Always thoroughly rinse both the leaves and the stems of chard before cooking it—they both can hold more than their fair share of grit and dirt from the field, especially from recent rains, and nothing ruins a dish of lovely greens faster than a mouthful of grit.
Rainbow chard is great to sauté or stir-fry. For the evenest cooking, remove the colored ribs/stems from the leaves, then chop the stems and start cooking them before you add the leaves.
Sweet, tangy, and creamy things help temper the mineral edge of all chard. A bit of balsamic vinegar, a squirt of lemon juice, or a bit of crème fraîche or goat cheese are all fabulous with chard.
No matter how you cook rainbow chard, remember that it has some red chard in it and will "bleed" red when cooked, tinging adjacent foods a lovely shade of pink.
Rainbow Chard Recipes
Any recipe that calls for chard will "work" with rainbow chard. On the other hand, that whole "red chard turns things pink" thing should be kept in mind—especially in pasta dishes or recipes with cheese that may get colored. Rainbow Chard With Onion, Ginger, and Pepper uses aromatics and spices to tame the sometimes bitter or metallic edge of chard. Stuffed Chard Leaves get simmered in a light tomato sauce, making any color difference of minimal concern.