The rainbow chard pie is a delicious, authentic French recipe. It reflects the French method of cooking in every aspect, from its perfect golden-yellow crust to its rich, yet simple filling. The pie is a great lunch option in itself and a fantastic substitute for bread – this way we like it the most. Its delicate, slightly sweet flavor combines well with most soups. From a health perspective, the chard pie has less calories than ordinary bread, and its rainbow chard filling is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
Interestingly, rainbow chard belongs to the same plant family as beets, spinach and quinoa. It is very common in the Mediterranean cuisine and has an impressive nutritional profile. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, A, E, magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese and fiber. Chard leaves contain 13 different anti-oxidants to fight oxidative stress in the body. It is also a champion in vitamin K content: one cup of parboiled and chopped chard leaves provides more than 3 times daily value of this vitamin.
The chard pie makes a particularly beautiful addition to the table if you use rainbow chard instead of the regular green or red varieties. Cooking rainbow chard properly requires several steps. Raw chard leaves are high in oxalic acid, which inhibits absorption of micro elements. This is why you should always parboil and squeeze chard leaves thoroughly. This helps to destroy the oxalic acid. As an easier option, you can pour the leaves through with boiling water and then squeeze it thoroughly to drain.
The leaf stems in rainbow chard require a little more work, and are usually not used. The stems are covered with a dense film that can be peeled by pulling on it or scraping it. After cleaning the film, you would have to parboil and squeeze the stems as well.
Several notes about the dough…You can use any dough of your liking, as long as it is savory. The version in this recipe is one we like most, because it is fairly easy to make, and requires few ingredients. If you use our recipe, make sure that the water you add is room temperature – not too hot and not too cold. Hot water will make the flour clump together, and cold water will make it difficult to mix in the oil.
As a final note, remember to poke the top of the pie through multiple times with a fork. It will allow steam to escape, while the pie is baking.
Rainbow Chard Pie Recipe: serves 6-8
For dough (or use any other savory dough of your liking):
- 1 ¼ cup white flour
- 1 egg
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 60 ml (¼ cup) warm water
- generous pinch of sea salt
- 750 g (1 ½ lb) fresh rainbow chard, parboiled and squeezed thoroughly, and finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
How to make:
- To make the dough, combine flour and sea salt in a mixing bowl. Make a small well in the middle and add the egg, olive oil and water. Knead thoroughly from the outside inwards until you get a smooth, golden-yellow dough about the size of a grapefruit. Usually we start with a fork, and then knead with hands.
- Cover the dough with a towel and set aside on the counter top for at least an hour before rolling it.
- Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF).
- In the meantime, combine parboiled and chopped rainbow chard, egg, grated cheese, salt and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix it together thoroughly.
- Grease the round pie baking dish with olive oil to get a thin film over the surface. We use a dish that is 25 cm (10”) in diameter. Divide the dough into two parts, one slightly bigger than the other.
- Dust the rolling pin and work surface with flour. Roll the bigger part of the dough into a circle that’s about 5-7 cm (2-3”) bigger than your baking dish – it will be used for the bottom and sides of the pie. Place it into the baking dish and lightly press to the sides.
- Now, place the pie filling inside and even out the surface.
- Roll out the smaller part of the dough into a circle the size of your baking dish – this is the top. Place it over top of the pie, press down lightly and pinch the edges, folding them slightly inwards. Poke the top through with a fork multiple times.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes. About 10 minutes before it’s done take the pie out, glaze lightly with olive oil on top and place it back in the oven. This will help to form a beautiful golden crust.
- Take out the rainbow chard pie, allow it to cool and enjoy!
Natalie and Petr
the Natural to Kitchen Island Team