Meatless Mondays: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Peppers and Chard

You can do more with the common garden green than sauté it.

(Photo: Ian Knauer)

Sep 22, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He has worked for Gourmet and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook The Farm.

Why meatless on Mondays? Not only is eating less animal protein a healthy diet choice, but curbing your meat consumption can have a significant environmental impact too. In 2006, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that animal agriculture accounted for a full 19 percent of greenhouse gases—more than the transportation sector. Best of all, with recipes like these, going meatless can be a delicious weekly habit.

We’re in one of those funny weeks of the year, the first week of fall, when things still feel kind of summery but really aren’t. I walked though the garden this morning to find sunless sunflowers, their seeds picked over by the birds. The few tomatoes still on the plants are green and will probably never ripen. The herbs have started to yellow. While that all may sound a little depressing, I haven’t mentioned the Swiss chard. The Swiss chard looks as good as ever.

Swiss chard is a vegetable included in basically every CSA, countrywide. It’s easy to grow, gives and gives through summer and well into fall, and is just so pretty. But if you have a garden or a CSA membership, you are probably sick of the stuff by now. There are only so many sautéed Swiss chard recipes out there.

By this time of year, I’m sick of sautéed Swiss chard too. But my favorite way to eat it requires no cooking whatsoever. Just stack the leaves up, and roll them tightly before slicing them superthin. Toss that with a little lemony dressing, and it’s a perfect salad or slaw. Serve it by itself, like I did this week, on top of a rich grilled cheese sandwich.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Peppers and Swiss Chard

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 large green or red bell pepper
4 Swiss chard leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 ounces soft goat cheese, chopped
1 scallion, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices whole-grain bread

Preheat the broiler. Halve the pepper, discarding the seeds and stem. Place the pepper under the broiler, skin side up, and broil until blackened. Let cool to room temperature. Discard skin and slice pepper.

Stack the chard on top of itself, then roll up tightly like a cigar. Cut ribbons of chard, including the stems. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the lemon juice.

Stir together the cheese, the scallion, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Make sandwiches with the cheese, the pepper strips, and the bread. Then grill in a large cast iron skillet using the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, until the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes total. Tuck the chard salad in the grilled cheese sandwiches and serve.