So, you want to try Swiss chard? You're in the right place! Learn how to cut and cook this vibrant leafy green, and find our favorite Swiss chard recipes.
We all go crazy over spinach and kale, but when was the last time you cooked Swiss chard? This vibrant leafy green is one of my favorite vegetables to work with. It’s endlessly versatile – my go-to Swiss chard recipes range from smoky Mojo bowls to a lemony pasta – and its stems are just as edible as its dark green leaves. Because I think we could all be cooking it more often, I wanted to share a little Swiss chard 101 today. If you’ve never worked with chard before, I hope these tips and recipes will encourage you to try it. And if you’re already a Swiss chard pro, I hope a recipe here will inspire you to prepare it in a new way. There’s no limit to what Swiss chard can do!
But first, what is Swiss chard?
Good question! Swiss chard is a leafy vegetable that’s closely related to beets. In fact, if you’ve cooked with beet greens before, you’ll find that chard has a lot of similarities. The mature leaves are lush and relatively coarse when they’re raw, but they wilt down beautifully when they’re braised or sautéed. Their earthy flavor pairs really well with garlic, nuts, dried fruits like currants and raisins, and acids like lemon juice and vinegar.
Chard stems are edible, too, so don’t toss them when you’re cooking the leaves! If I’m making sautéed Swiss chard, I simply add the stems to the pan a few minutes before I add the leaves so that they have a chance to soften. They also pickle really nicely, so they’re a great way to add crunch to salads, sandwiches, and bowls. The stems in the photos here are red, but that’s not the only way you’ll find them at the farmers market or grocery store. Depending on the variety, chard might have pale green, gold, red, or even striped stems. All are delicious!
How to Cook Swiss Chard
When I buy a big bunch of green, red, or rainbow chard, I almost always cook the leaves. For me, they’re a little spongy and tough to use raw in salads, though baby chard, if it’s available, is a great salad base.
The simplest way to cook chard is to sauté it. Here’s my easy method:
First, prep the chard. Slice the leaves off the tough stems, and cut the stems into 1/4-inch slices. Stack the leaves on top of one another and coarsely chop them.
Next, cook the stems. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chard stems and cook for about 2 minutes, or until they start to soften.
Then, add the leaves, some sliced garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook until the leaves wilt, about another 2 minutes.
Finally, season and serve. Squeeze the wilted chard with lemon juice and serve it as a side dish. Find more of my favorite Swiss chard recipes and serving suggestions below!
Other Favorite Swiss Chard Recipes
Simple sautéed Swiss chard is an easy, healthy, and delicious side dish, but there are plenty of other ways to serve this green. These Swiss chard recipes and serving suggestions are some of my favorites:
- Pair it with pasta or polenta. Sub chard in for the kale in my Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Kale, or serve simple sautéed chard over a bed of creamy polenta with red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.
- Add it to a soup. Use chard in my brothy Cannellini Beans and Greens or this Sustenance Sweet Potato Soup. You could also sub it in for the kale in my Many-Veggie Soup or Instant Pot Lentil Soup.
- Stuff it into tacos. Find my greens and beans tacos on page 145 of The Love & Lemons Cookbook!
- Use it in a grain bowl, like the Mojo Black Bean Bowls on page 199 of Love & Lemons Every Day.
- Add it to eggs. Fold it into a simple scramble, or use it in your next veggie frittata.
How do you like to use Swiss chard? Let me know in the comments!
More Vegetable Basics
If you love this simple Swiss chard recipe, try cooking one of these vegetables next:
Sautéed Swiss Chard
- 2 bunches Swiss chard
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Lemon wedge, for squeezing
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Slice the stems off the chard leaves and chop the stems into 1/4-inch slices. Coarsely chop the leaves.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chard stems and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the chard leaves, garlic, salt, and several grinds of pepper, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the leaves are wilted.
- Turn off the heat, squeeze a little lemon juice over the chard, and toss. Season to taste and serve.
This was so simple, easy, and delicious…my entire family loved it!!
I’m so happy to hear!
I love green chard. I have different recipes for the chard leaves and stems. One of them is stuffed chard leaves. Sautéed chard leaves with meat. Green lentil soup with chard. Baked chard pies, and much more.
I just froze some to have for summer months when they are not in season.
I cooked 1 bunch of fresh chard from our market. Followed this recipe exactly except for adding a teaspoon of coriander seeds to toast in the oil along with the garlic before proceeding with the rest of recipe. A half teaspoon of sugar helps offset the (mild) bitterness of winter chard.
We ate it over cooked bulgur.
Really really delicious,
The coriander sounds like a fantastic addition! So glad you enjoyed the chard.
The difference between store chard and garden chard is immense, as is the difference between May chard and October chard.
In my opinion, the best part of chard is the stems. Tender stems are had easily in May, but in October they require more diligence. Discard old stems on the periphery of the plant and harvest those near the center.
The leaves are also more palatable in the spring.
I’m growing my own Swiss chard and kale. A
“ bunch” is how much by weight, grams or ounces
Hi Liz, about 6 or so medium sized leaves will work here. Doesn’t have to be an exact weight.
I just made this recipe and it was delicious, thank you for posting it. It was my first time cooking Swiss Chard and I will definitely follow this recipe again.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the chard!
I grew up eating Swiss chard, so I absolutely love it. Lately, I’ve been using leaves as a wrapper for enchiladas and for stuffed “cabbage” because the leaves are so sturdy when you wrap and roll them, then baking them makes tender and delicious. I love its versatility as well as its simplicity. I also use it for creamed Swiss chard with steaks and chops.