I’m visiting family in Tennessee and it’s been snowing all day! We’re warm and cozy with the fireplace blazing, curled up reading books and watching movies. Despite the weather, I've been staying active without leaving the house by doing these awesome holiday Crossfit-style workouts from the Ascent Blog (Thanks, Claire!), and they've really been kicking me into shape! When I started to get hungry this evening, I wanted something that would keep me on my path toward my fitness goals while indulging my craving for some hearty comfort food that felt right for this snowy wintery day. And so, I came up with these cheese and chard bites.
They’re pretty cool because you can make them as a homey, filling main course almost reminiscent of scalloped potatoes, or you can make them an elegant canapé-style hors d’oeuvre. If you don't like Swiss chard, another green, like kale or spinach, could be easily substituted. The yellow-flesh Japanese sweet potato is perfect here because it holds up really well--no falling apart while you're flipping or transferring!
Cheese and Chard Bites
Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as an entrée
- 1 medium Japanese sweet potato (if unavailable, substitute 1 Russet or 2 Yukon Gold potato)
- Butter or nonstick spray, for greasing pans
- 2 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- ½ lb (about ¾ cup) fat-free or low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1 large bunch (about 10 leaves or ½ lb) Swiss chard, washed
- 4 tablespoons salsa verde (I use Dan’s Guacamole Green Salsa), more if you make the appetizer version
- Sliced roasted almonds (optional)
2. Slice potato very thinly, using a mandolin or food processor if possible. Grease two cookie sheets with butter or nonstick spray, and arrange potatoes on pans in one layer, then drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with one clove minced garlic, and salt & pepper to taste. Roast for 10 minutes, remove from oven and flip each slice with tongs, then return to oven and roast 8 more minutes.
4. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Now, here’s where the two options diverge.
*To make the main course, do this:
In each bowl, add a layer of potatoes, cover with half the chard then a nice big dollop of cheese & spread it out over the greens, then top with a couple tablespoons of the salsa verde, and then almonds if you like. Enjoy!
*To make the appetizer, do this:
Arrange potato slices in one layer on serving dish, then top each with a spoonful of the greens then the cheese, and drizzle a little salsa verde over the very top. Serve and enjoy!