Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Not only is chard a delicious and amazingly healthy addition to any dish, as evident in all of the following recipes, it is also easy to grow in most regions. A great source for tips in starting your very own chard patch can be found at Organic Gardening. The history of chard and its discovery also offers some surprisingly compelling reading material, as told by one of our iconic Central Coast farmers and storytellers, Andy Griffin of Mariquita Farm.

 

For lessons related to chard check out the following:

Harvest of the Month Cooked Greens
Cooked Greens Workbooks
Developed by the LA Collaborative for Healthy Active Children

Chard Recipes

Chard Cakes – from the Esalen Cookbook
Makes about 6 cakes

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ medium onion
  • ½ lb. chard, washed and dried
  • 1Tbs. sesame oil

Wisk the eggs, salt and water together. Slice the onion into thin half-moon slices. Remove the chard stems from the leaves. Thinly chop the chard stems. Layer the chard leaves on top of each other. Roll them into a burrito shape and slice thin ribbons.  Mix the onions, chard, and stems with the eggs.

Heat the oil on a skillet. Spoon out a scoop of the mixture on the pan. Cook each side until golden brown (about 4 minutes on each side).  Top with an herb cheese or sour cream sauce.

Garlicky Chard – from Bonny Doon Elementary, teacher Sarah Clarkson

  • Several bunches chard, washed and chopped
  • 1 small head garlic, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Soy sauce (optional)
  • Cooked bulgur, brown rice, or quinoa

Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat.  Add chopped garlic and sauté just until light golden brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and place in small bowl.  Put pan back on burner and add the chard.  Sauté until wilted, in batches if needed.  Heat and serve the cooked grain, if using, topped with the chard.  Pass around the garlic to sprinkled on top, along with the soy sauce.

Note:  Garden Teacher, Jane Forbes at Westlake Elementary has also found the stir-fry technique to be popular, with the addition of any and all veggies her 4th and 5th grade class has around…other greens, broccoli, beets, carrots, and peas.

Hummus Stuffed Chard Roll-Ups – adapted from The Health Promoting Cookbook

  • 10 whole chard leaves, lightly steamed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup prepared hummus
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced green or red bell pepper
  • 2 whole tomatoes, diced
  • ½ peeled avocado, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • Salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, stir together rice, celery, bell pepper, tomatoes, lemon juice and basil.  Season with salt to taste.  Cut the stems off of the chard leaves just at the base.  On a cutting board, spread out the chard leaves one at a time.  Spread about one Tablespoonful of hummus on the chard.  Place a Tablespoonful of the rice mixture in the center of each leaf followed by a few pieces of avocado.  Roll up like a burrito, tucking the sides in before rolling completely.  Chill and serve.

Winter Pasta – adapted from 101Cookbooks.com

  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 small shallots, peeled
  • 1 bunch chard, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbsp. hot pasta water, plus more if needed
  • 12 oz. dried penne pasta (or another kind if desired)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • Fresh thyme (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots.  Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the chard and cook for another ten seconds.  Don’t overcook.  Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water.  Use a food processor or blender to puree the ingredients, along with the olive oil and goat cheese.  Add a couple Tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out.  Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice if using.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions.  Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce.  Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme and more crumbled goat cheese.

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Camp staff has arrived! We can’t wait to greet all the campers next week. We have spots still available for 4-6 year olds, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lifelab.org has all the details.
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We have a few spots still open for our 4-6 years old camp T/TH camp. Tell your friends.Calling all 4-6 year olds! We have openings in our T/Th Garden Sprouts Day Camp www.lifelab.org/camp This is a great first day camp experience! See MoreSee Less

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A reminder to vote for Life Lab when you shop at New Leaf (there are paper ballots in the stores) to continue to be an EnviroToken recipient! We have been so grateful for this support from New Leaf Community Markets! Voting closes June 30th, and you can vote EVERY time you go to the store!Help select your store’s Envirotoken partners! For every reusable grocery bag you use at New Leaf, we give you a 10¢ Envirotoken to donate to one of six local nonprofits. Visit your neighborhood store between now and June 30 to cast your vote for which non-profits will receive this year’s donations. Thanks for helping us give back to our local communities! See MoreSee Less

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Thanks to our volunteer carpenter Michael for the beautiful new planters.

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We are so grateful to be a current EnviroToken recipient at New Leaf’s Westside location–AND we are on the ballot AGAIN for the next round! Be sure to go into any store location and cast your paper ballot for Life Lab! This support makes a big impact on our ability to grow healthy, inspired children across Santa Cruz County & beyond. Thank you, New Leaf Community Markets!Happy Earth Month! Our Envirotoken program turns 25 this year, and we owe a HUGE thank you to all of our amazing customers for your support over the years. Founded in 1993, together we’ve kept 7 million bags out of landfills and raised over $700,000 for local non-profits! See MoreSee Less

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Less than 3 weeks until our Benefit Brunch! Hope you can join us!

Here’s a taste of the kind of inspiration you’ll get at our Brunch. Whitney Cohen, our Education Director, gave this speech at our 2014 Benefit Brunch–totally worth 8 minutes of your time to watch this! Whitney is gearing up to give a brand new speech at our upcoming event–you won’t want to miss it!
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