Simple Meals and Short Posts

swiss chard and sesame tofu |

I should have been prepared for this because it happens every year. My neighbour gave me a huge bag of Swiss chard from her garden. I am usually very exited about that bag and at the same time I am terrified. I like greens but I am not really familiar with them. When I grew up we had a head of salad once a week and during the winter months we would eat kale. Sometimes there was cabbage soup or cabbage rolls. But that was about it. I grew up assuming that you had to cook greens for at least an hour or so until they were edible. No wonder they hardly made it on our shopping lists even later in life. I tried my first chard only a few years ago when we found it at a local grocery store. Chard, kale. fresh spinach. All these things are often not available at grocery stores over here. Or they are, but only for two weeks or so. Greens are a fancy health food store thing and I used to overlook them for years when I simply couldn’t afford to buy at a health food store. And now I had this huge bag filled with giant chard leaves sitting in a corner of the kitchen, slowly turning into a character from a Kafka novel.

I only ever realise that I don’t have to be intimidated by a bunch of greens after I have cooked them. Even the biggest pile of chard will shrink into half a plate of greens and you don’t have to cook it for longer than five minutes for that to happen. This is a simple and improvised meal for one. You can make a lot of variations, depending on what you have on hand. Use different greens, if you like. If you add a grain like rice or quinoa this will make enough for two persons. Our daughter refuses to eat any greens that are not puréed into soups, green smoothies, or creamed spinach. So for her we made the tofu with green beans and rice instead, which may also be a great variation for everybody who has a hard time to find fresh greens.


Swiss Chard with Sesame Tofu

For the tofu:

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
a fresh red chili, minced and to taste
1 package (200 g/7 oz.) firm tofu, drained

For the chard:
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
260g chard, cleaned and cut into small stripes


Place the sesame seeds in a pan and toast until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl that will be large enough to later toss the seeds and the tofu.

Combine water, soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, garlic, ginger, and chili if using. Whisk briefly.

Cut the tofu into bite size rectangles, about 1/2 cm (1/8 inch) thick. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Don’t add any oil. Transfer the tofu pieces to the pan and cook until golden brown, then flip and brown the other side.

Pour the marinade over the tofu and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2-5 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into the sesame seed bowl and toss.

Heat the same non-stick pan again and add oil. Fry the onion for about 2 minutes, then add garlic and  fry until fragrant. Add the chard and fry until wilted, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a plate and top with tofu.

Serve with lemon juice and hot sauce.
swiss chard and sesame tofu |


  • 4 years ago

    Ok… for weeks I haven’t been able to comment on wordpress blogs. It turns out I was being flagged as spam (???). It should be fixed now so I’m going to try posting this comment for like, the 5th time.

    We made this recipe a few nights ago, and it was delicious! We subbed collards for the chard since that was all we had, it came out wonderfully. Thank you so much, Mihl!

    • Mihl
      4 years ago

      That’s so weird about the flagging! How did you find out?
      Thanks for trying the recipe. I wish I could try collards one day, they sound great.

      • 4 years ago

        Super weird, I know! I tried everything from logging out of everything to switching between chrome, firefox and safari. Finally my husband was all “you may be getting flagged as spam”. So I emailed akismet about it, and he was right! I’m SO glad it’s fixed. I felt like such a jerk not being able to comment on everyone’s amazing stuff.

  • 4 years ago

    Beautiful meal! This is exactly the kind of thing I like to make for myself on weekdays. It’s so interesting to hear that greens aren’t commonplace where you live — you must be so annoyed by the millions of green smoothie posts around the blogosphere. ;) Even though greens are readily available where I live, I very rarely cook spinach in particular because it’s expensive, and a large package of it cooks down to fit in such a small, sad bowl. Enjoy those greens while they’re plentiful!

  • Looks great! I love simple swiss chard cooked with garlic – it’s so delicious. And I love how abundant swiss chard is – when it grows, it sure grows!

  • 4 years ago

    A very delectable easy dinner to prepare,..a big yum!

  • This looks wonderful! Kale is a tough one for kids, my neice still won’t touch it and it took me awhile to warm up to it.

  • Kerstin Decker
    4 years ago

    Ich liebe Mangold oder Kale, aber ich koche die grunen Blatter nicht, sondern mache Salat daraus und mache noch Aepfel und Preiselbeeren rein. Man braucht nocht mal Oel dazu den ich nehme neben dem weissen Weinessig noch Agave Syrup oder Maple Syrup. Sehr gut.

  • 4 years ago

    looks beautiful – we had silverbeet (as well call swiss chard) occasionally as a child and I still have that memory of how awful it was despite finding ways to eat it that I love. I have managed to get sylvia to eat raw baby spinach on occasion and she tasted a green smoothie last week and actually said it was ok so maybe I will get her into green smoothies one day