Swiss Chard Pasta Bake

This healthy, veggie-filled pasta bake will satisfy meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Great for company or a weekend dinner. Gluten-free and vegan options.

The week of bribing people with food and drink continues… my dad is still working around the house (and he’s staying an extra week now – oh the projects I’m going to dream up right after I finish this post). The other night, Jack’s sister came by to help organize the pantry and closets… I’m on this kick where I want things in order (I’m not always this way), and I’m not above delegation to get things done.

So my part was to, of course, make dinner for everyone. My dad and Jack are easy, they are human vacuums for whatever I put in front of them. Beyond them, I never know what to make for meat eaters. I figured a cheesy pasta dish was foolproof. I have an overabundance of chard growing in my garden, so I was able to sneak some leafy greens in. And I don’t think anyone noticed that I used brown rice pasta.

I made this in two dishes – the one pictured is smaller and had less cheese (so I could partake), and the other dish was larger and had parmesan bubbling on top.

But I’m curious to know – if you’re vegetarian or cook mostly vegetarian, what do you like to make for your meat eating guests?

Or if you’re a meat eater, what are your favorite vegetarian dishes?

adapted from The New York Times Recipes for Health

Swiss Chard Pasta Bake

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Swiss chard (about 6 large leaves), stems removed
  • 12 oz penne pasta (I used brown rice pasta, but you could use any kind)
  • ¾ cup asiago cheese cut into small cubes (or any cheese you like)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce, any kind you like or see recipe below
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Shredded parmesan to go on top (optional)
For the simple tomato sauce:
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (plain)
  • ¼ cup white or red wine
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Fill another bowl with ice and a bit of water. Drop chard leaves in boiling water for about 1 minute, remove and drop in ice water to stop the cooking process so your chard keeps its vibrant green color.
  3. Re-using the same pot, cook pasta according to package directions, cutting the time a minute or two short since the pasta will continue cooking while it bakes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce: Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil. Add a few pinches of salt. Add the garlic. When onions are translucent, add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, and sugar. Reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more salt & pepper to taste (only if needed). Add the red pepper flakes, if using.
  5. Remove the chard from ice water, squeeze out excess water, and chop.
  6. In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta, chard, cheese cubes, and tomato sauce.
  7. Pour the mixture in a 9×13 pan. Sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese on top (if you like), and/or a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Broil for the last 1-2 minutes if you would like the cheese topping more brown and bubbling. (Note, if you’re not putting cheese on top, watch it more closely because it will dry out faster). Even without cheese on top, I prefer a bit of a crunchy crust. If you don’t, cook it less.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil.

 

 

36 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Sarah
    04.26.2019

    Do you have a suggestion on how to make this vegan?

  2. shari
    03.28.2018

    Would you recommend freezing this prior to baking? Trying to stock up before baby comes! Which other recipes would freeze well??

  3. Dustin from pro-meat-grinder.com
    08.07.2017

    Pasta is my favorite. Most of the time we select the pasta recipe as evening snacks. Your recipe steps are just awesome. I never make it like this. Will definitely try this soon and I will let you know how they turned out. Thanks for the awesome share. Keep posting like this way.

  4. Martin G.
    11.12.2016

    Delicious! I wonder why you suggest “stems removed” though? I used red swiss chard and kept the stems. The chopped up stems adds a nice crunchy bite and looks beautiful.
    In any case, this recipe is being filed under the “make often” category 😀

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.13.2016

      Thanks Martin! I’ll definitely try it with the stems next time – glad you liked it!

  5. veronica
    02.13.2013

    i’m eating this right now and i just have to say this is AMAZING! i used goat cheese and used that tomato sauce recipe (who needs store bought sauce with a great and easy recipe like this?). fabulous! will definitely be making this again

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.