Which doesn’t make sense. Except it does. Because it’s chard, one of a growing number of common yet often overlooked greens lurking at your grocer. Chard -- sometimes called Swiss chard or rainbow chard (when it sports brightly colored stalks) -- really is a relative of the beet. But unlike traditional beets -- which put their energy into producing finger-staining roots, chard instead produces big, tender leaves and crunchy stalks.
Chard has been around for thousands of years and likely originated in the Mediterranean, where it was in heavy culinary rotation until spinach came along. The taste depends on which part you eat, though not so much on which color. The large, firm leaves are mild, sweet, earthy and just slightly bitter; on the whole, it’s a bit milder than spinach. The stalks -- which can be white, yellow, red, purple, pink, striped and so on -- resemble flat celery with a sweet taste slightly reminiscent of beets. Why is it sometimes called Swiss chard? No one knows, but we do know it has nothing to do with Switzerland.