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For most of my life, the only things I knew how to “cook” were a grilled cheese sandwich and Ramen noodles – definitely an award-winning culinary prodigy. I really didn’t learn how to cook until I took a cooking lab in college as a part of my nutrition degree. Every week I was forced to prepare about 2-3 recipes in a 4-hour lab period with one lab partner. It was hectic and confusing, often preparing ingredients that I’d never even seen before, but it was so much fun.

Eventually, I knew how to recreate some of my favorite recipes on my own, and I learned how to adapt them based on the ingredients I had at home. As with any skill, cooking really just requires some time and practice, but for those of you who want to get into cooking, I would start by making your own salads. They’re very simple and often require very little preparation. All you really need are some greens, a source of protein, and any additional toppings that you like.

So, this week’s recipe is a super simple swiss chard salad that I made up during my food bank rotation of my internship based on the ingredients that we had in the garden and the pantry. If you don’t have some of the ingredients listed below, try making it with other ingredients that you already have. You never know what kind of yummy recipe you’ll create 🙂

Super Simple Swiss Chard Salad

By Aicacia Young, RDN

Serves 4


  • 1 bunch of swiss chard, or rainbow chard
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, or cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbsp of crumbled goat cheese (optional)
  • 3-4 oz of grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, fish, tofu, or tempeh (optional)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Balsamic vinaigrette


  1. If you’re adding meat, fish or tofu, cook your protein as desired (medium high heat until thoroughly cooked).
  2. Wash swiss chard thoroughly under cold water. Dry thoroughly and remove stems.
  3. Cut chard into thin strips (julienne cut) and throw in large mixing bowl or salad spinner
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and combine.
  5. Drizzle vinaigrette to taste, and enjoy!

Note: If you’d like to take this salad with you for lunch the next day, you can store it in Mason jars for convenient portion sizes.

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