Rocco DiSpirito's Easy Swap For Vegan Creamed Swiss Chard

For a great deal of time, the food industry has guiltily perpetuated a false narrative about what you eat — one that's led the majority of us to blindly believe that the food that's beneficial to our health can't possibly taste good. However, after shockingly walking away from New York City's haute cuisine scene, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito made it his mission to prove everyone wrong. Since his time crusading New York restaurants and gracing magazine covers, Dispirito has made some big lifestyle changes that have led him to an even bigger comeback story. 

With his all-natural food product line, meal delivery service, best-selling cookbooks, and his time as an Ambassador for HealthCorps, Dispirito has been re-imaging food as we know it — demonstrating that delicious food and personal wellness don't have to be mutually exclusive. As is apparent in his latest cookbook, "Rocco's Healthy + Delicious," which features nearly 200 primarily plant-based meals, Dispirito's cooking career is leaning more and more toward the meatless and dairy-less side — and the swiss chard swap he shared with Food & Wine further proves that he can do it all. 

Not only is his swiss chard recipe healthy, but it's also totally vegan. With it, Dispirito proves once again that, with one easy swap, food can be good for you, the environment, and the cows –  all while satisfying your taste buds.

Coconut milk creamed swiss chard

On its own, sautéed swiss chard is a delicious way to get in your greens. While the creamed version serves that same purpose, it delivers a lot more on the dairy end — usually in the form of butter, cream cheese, and parmesan. Now, if you're simply looking for a meal that's both healthy and tasty, a basic creamed swiss chard will serve that purpose. Butter, cream cheese, and parmesan are all perfectly healthy and delicious; They're just not plant-based. For them, Rocco DiSpirito has the perfect swap: coconut milk.  

Creamy, slightly nutty, and somewhat sweet, coconut milk is a simple, affordable, and dairy-free substitution for traditional creamed swiss chard. To pull it off, DiSpirito tells Food & Wine you should start by reducing the milk over low heat. Once it's reduced by about half, transfer it to a measuring cup and start boiling your swiss chard leaves in water. Then, after caramelizing a shallot on the skillet, add the swiss chard leaves and stems along with the reduced coconut milk and sauté until they're all coated. 

From this point, you can season and garnish your creamed swiss chard however you like. Fresh or dried nutmeg, black garlic, and fresh or dried rosemary, thyme, or parsley are some common accompaniments. But, if you want to go the extra cheesy route, it's worth it to pick up a plant-based Parmesan alternative: VioLife and Follow Your Heart are a couple of brands that are available at most stores.