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Swiss Chard: Not Just for Sides

Swiss Chard: Not Just for Sides

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Recipe SWAT Team tackles Swiss chard to bring you 6 great recipes

Will Budiaman

Swiss Chard Risotto

Swiss chard — it's a peacock in the world of dark, leafy greens. With broad leaves punctuated by streaks of vibrant colors like bright yellow, deep red, and flaming magenta running through the stems and veins, a display of rainbow Swiss chard at the store is certainly visually arresting.

Click here to see the Swiss Chard: Not Just for Sides Slideshow

But what do you do with it? You could always give it a quick sauté, perhaps with some garlic here, perhaps with some lemon zest there, and a grating of Parmesan on top. You could work it into a delicious risotto. Or, you could let its flavors permeate a tasty broth, as in the winning recipe, Anne Dolce's Swiss Chard and Sausage with Polenta Recipe. We did all of these things this week, always bearing in mind one goal: to let the natural flavor of Swiss chard shine in the spotlight.

After all, if you had a peacock, you wouldn't keep it hidden in the coat closet all day, would you?

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.

Most days, I’d agree with the King of Vegetable’s assessment of Swiss chard. But in the high heat of summer when my chard plants are turning out leaves like a zucchini plant turns out squash — blink and another one appears! — I’m going to call it prolific. Yeah, that’s it.

Most years, it’s the kale in my garden that I can’t keep up with, but this year I planted a variety I’ve never had before — something with German in its name, so of course I bought it — and it’s struggling. Bugs and heat that makes it bolt are giving it a go. So it’s all on my Swiss chard to carry the leafy greens torch this year and it’s doing it with flying colours.

Normally I have no problem finding a way to use my greens. Smoothies are brilliant because chard is a good stand-in for spinach if you like to add a vegetable to your drinkable fruit salad. About one cup of torn chard should set you up.

I also freeze bunches and bunches of garden greens. This is my default and as a result, I’m still working my way through last year’s harvest.

So what’s a girl and her chard supposed to do? I turned to some of my blogging friends and elsewhere in the blogosphere for help. Here’s a list of ways to eat through your chard like a leaf miner.

Freezing Swiss Chard

OK, easy one first. Soak your chard leaves in a sink full of cold water until they’re fully perky and feel crisp like lettuce. This is a good way to clean them too. Add a splash of vinegar to prevent browning in the freezer and let soak for 20 minutes to an hour depending on how much perking up they need.

Remove the chard from water, give leaves a quick rinse under running water to remove any debris kicked up when taking them out of the sink, tear leaves from the stem and pack in a freezer bag.

Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing. Put the date on the bag and use within six months to a year.

If your chard leaves are gargantuan, tear them from their stems before soaking. And then use the stems as a quick pickle.

Kitchen Sink Pasta

I don’t have a hard-and-fast recipe for this. This pasta is all about winging it but it always makes my family happy and for a dinner free of complaints. The gist of it is to use up any vegetables that might be languishing or that you don’t have much of, but combined with others, gives abundance.

Sauté onions, garlic, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes, halved or not, with a pinch of salt. Once the tomatoes soften and start to give off liquid, add chard and a splash of the water in which you boiled your pasta, and cook until wilted.

Throw in some fresh herbs, a pinch of crushed chillies, and fresh ground black pepper. Then stir in pasta, season one last time and serve.

Quinoa and Swiss Chard Patties + Avocado Tahini Dip

These patties from Alexandra at Occasionally Eggs make quick and easy work of your Swiss chard, while amping it up with protein-packed quinoa. Perfect for summer, perfect for any time of year. Perfect for using up all that chard.

Greens Shakshuka

It uses a little more than half a pound of greens (your choice, so chard works), making this verdant take on a dish most often dedicated to tomatoes working in tandem with eggs a total winner in the Use-Up-the-Chard department.

Sautéed Swiss Chard Mash

Huge applause for Marlene at Urban Cottage Life for not only finding a use for an entire bunch of chard, but including the stems in this recipe, too. This chard-filled, butter-free spin on Colcannon looks like pure comfort. And an efficient use of that leafy green.

Swiss Chard and White Bean Stew

Consider yourself down another bunch of chard and up a whole lot of comfort with this stew from Nadia at Mangia Bedda that marries this leafy green with white kidney beans, tomatoes, and Parmesan for some salty richness.

Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese and Leek Frittata

Frittata is one of my favourite foods to cook because it’s a blank slate for anything, and chard is a perfect filler. This frittata from Jess at Cooking in my Genes hits all the right notes, especially with a tomato topping to add some freshness and a little extra something to sop up with your frittata or a thick slice of crusty bread.

Rainbow Swiss Chard with Golden Raisins and Pepitas

Grab some bread and sit down to what sounds like the most sublime summer lunch with this quick and unfussy sautéed chard accompanied by raisins for sweetness, and pepitas for crunch from Nicoletta and Loreto at Sugar Loves Spices.

Raw Chard Salad Rolls with Spicy Mango Dip

Chard leaves can be vessels with which to carry food to our mouths, forks be darned. These salad rolls, which use chard instead of rice paper, prove that point beautifully.

Baguette Stuffing with Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onions

Everything about this is worth giving thanks for. For starters, it uses a whole bunch of chard, but it brings together baguette and caramelized onions for sweet, carb- and green-filled bliss. I bow down to you Lord Byron.

Crustless Quiche with Green Beans and Swiss Chard

Chard co-stars with another star of summer, the green bean, in this grain-free egg pie from Leelalicious. Best part: it can be made ahead and eaten any time of day.

Swiss Chard Galette

Bridget over at Bridget’s Green Kitchen is a total hero for using two bunches — two bunches! — of chard in this galette recipe that proves once again chard is a primo savoury pie filing, especially when paired with a salty, tangy cheese like feta.

Swiss Chard Pesto Pasta with White Beans and Almonds

Confirming my suspicions that anything can be made into pesto, this chard version uses two cups — packed, even — of the leafy green, complimented by garlic, Parmesan and lemon juice to brighten it all up.

Garlic Sautéed Swiss Chard

You’ll be down another two bunches of chard if you make this garlic sautéed Swiss chard from Kristen at My Sweet Mess. With some crushed chillies and lemon juice, these greens really come to life.

Steamed Swiss Chard with Roasted Tomatoes and Roma Beans

This one is from the archives here. The photos are terrible, shot in the days before I understood the beauty of natural light and leaned on my yellow CFL bulbs indoors. This isn’t written in a traditional recipe format, but you’ll get the idea. This dish is entirely conducive to some free-styling in the kitchen. I really love this meal and it’s incredibly simple, so long as you know how to boil beans and steam chard.


This is a simple 7 ingredient side dish recipe that is naturally gluten-free, low carb, and, of course, completely vegan.

To make my amazing lemon garlic sauteed Swiss chard you need:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Swiss chard
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice

You can either discard or chop and include the Swiss chard stems in this recipe!

Family Dinners: Swiss Chard and Shiitake Mushroom Galette

If you like spinach and kale, you’re going to love Swiss chard. A little less tender than spinach but not as tough as kale, Swiss chard is perfect to use in a stir-fry or tossed with your favorite pasta. Plus, stalks of this leafy green come in a rainbow of colors from bright yellow to vibrant pink.

I love using it in this delicate spring galette.

Okay, but what is a galette?

I like to think of a galette as the perfect pie for the imperfect cook: a galette brings all the deliciousness of a pie without all the fuss. Just roll out your favorite pie dough and place the Swiss chard mixture right in the middle. Fold up the dough and pinch to make pleats. With a simple egg wash as a finishing touch, the resulting dish is a rustic tart where the imperfections just make it better!

Swiss Chard and Shiitake Mushroom Galette

Serves 8 to 10


2/3 cup yellow cornmeal (not stone ground)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

4 to 6 tablespoons ice water, as needed

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms

2 bunches rainbow Swiss chard, washed and dried, leaves and stalks thinly sliced

1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes

1¼ cups whole ricotta, drained

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Zest of one lemon

1¼ cups shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese


Prepare the pastry crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and rosemary. Pulse to combine. With processor on, slowly add the cubed chilled butter, pulsing to combine. With processor on, add the olive oil and enough of the water to make a dough that comes together. Place dough on a work area and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic food wrap and refrigerate while making the filling.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute until slightly cooked. Pile the chard leaves and stalks on top of the vegetables and cover. Cook on low heat until just wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt, white pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. The galette can be made as a 12-inch round or a rectangle. Use the parchment to lift the dough onto a baking sheet pan.

Place the drained ricotta in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped rosemary and lemon zest and mix to combine. Using a small offset spatula, spread the ricotta cheese mixture on the prepared crust leaving a 1½ -inch border.

Pile the chard mixture evenly on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle the grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese evenly over the chard.

In a small bowl, combine the egg and cream. Using your fingers, fold the edge over the filling, pinching the dough as you go to create pleats. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush egg wash on top of the pinched dough.

Bake until crust has browned and cheese is melted, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and slide galette off of the parchment paper to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

7 Recipes that Prove Swiss Chard is Underrated

Spinach, kale, or collards might be on your weekly grocery list, but when was the last time you brought Swiss chard home from the store? Though it might feel slightly outside of your comfort zone if it's not in your regular cooking rotation, Swiss chard is as simple to prepare as it is nutritious. It can be used in any recipe that calls for leafy greens, so we often use it as a substitute for kale or spinach to keep our favorite baked pastas and soups interesting and fresh. Plus, with a milder taste than spinach, adding chard to a dish in place of another green is an easy way to sneak vegetables into family meals.

This cool-season crop works wonders in soups and stews, and we particularly enjoy pairing it with white beans, like cannellini. Give our White Bean-and-Chard Soup a try and you'll see why. Chard also plays nicely with potatoes, as you'll see in our Mashed Potatoes with Greens or our Creamy Chard and Potatoes. No matter how you serve it, once you start cooking with chard, you'll see this underrated green deserves more love.

Quick Skillet Chard

It&rsquos hard not to smile when you spot a bunch of rainbow chard with its emerald leaves and candy-colored stems. Which is why it&rsquos odd that this vibrant, vitamin-packed vegetable isn&rsquot as popular as collards or kale. The tender leaves cook as quickly as spinach but retain more texture, so they don&rsquot wilt as much in the pan. The crunchy stems are tasty too.

This simple side really lets the fresh, vibrant produce shine&mdasha few elements, like garlic and fresh oregano, bring a serious punch of flavor. The toasted, sliced almonds add a nutty note and crunch factor that pairs beautifully with the bite of the chard stems. Since both the chard leaves and stems are cooked in this dish, you&rsquoll have zero waste. Pair it with a wholesome weeknight main, like One-Pan Chicken with Lemons, Olives, and Artichokes.

Once you&rsquove learned this basic, yet elegant preparation for Swiss chard, feel free to jazz it up with a few of your favorite herbs or spices. A squeeze of lemon juice will complement the vegetable&rsquos brightness a shower of grated Parmesan will add a salty flavor that keeps you coming back for more. There&rsquos no way to go wrong with this simple side&mdashit&rsquos meant to be a canvas for you to build off of.

To keep your chard fresh, wrap an unwashed bunch of chard in a damp paper towel, and place inside a ziplock plastic bag. Store it in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Looking for more Swiss chard inspiration? We&rsquove compiled 7 of our very favorite Swiss chard recipes. You can learn more about this versatile vegetable here.


I wash my Swiss Chard in three large bowls of water to remove any dirt, and drain them thoroughly. I remove the red stems from the Swiss Chard, cutting them away with a sharp knife. I then cut across the width of the leaves in about 2 inch wide sections. Try to make the pieces all about the same size.

Place a large dutch oven with a lid on the burner over medium heat, and place two tablespoons of olive oil in it. When it begins to sizzle, add the garlic and move it around until it starts to turn brown and releases its fragrance.

Lower the heat to medium low. Add the prepared greens, pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste, to the dutch oven, it will fill it up, keep tossing the greens with a big wooden spoon and they will start to cook down, add the lid and cook about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue cooking until all the liquid is gone in the pot, and greens are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

What Makes This Swiss Chard Recipe With Bacon So Terrific

So I decided to try my hand at gardening. Though I love all my beautiful plants, Swiss chard has got to be the queen of them all. It's been so much fun to harvest my own Swiss Chard and cook it while it's fresh!

I've always joked and said I could kill even fake plants. But with the automatic drip system, a brand new, well-composted flower bed, help from my friend John and my husband Roger, the little garden is doing quite well.

So I made this Swiss Chard Recipe With Bacon with it, but you know I could never just do bacon and Swiss chard. So I added a few other things, and I must say, it turned out so very good!

The addition of the pine nuts adds a delightful crunch and nuttiness to the dish and the raisins add a pleasant sweetness to compliment the swiss chard and bacon. This truly is a delightfully delectable swiss chard recipe, and if you've never had swiss chard before, this is a great way to be introduced to it!

Not only is this swiss chard recipe delectable, but it's also completely keto-friendly! You can enjoy it as a light lunch or as a side dish to compliment your main course, and since it's low carb, you can enjoy it on a regular basis!

What Does Swiss Chard Taste Like?

Swiss chard actually has a fairly similar flavor profile to spinach or kale, but a little more on the bitter side. Sauteing it, as I did with this Swiss Chard Recipe, takes away most of the bitterness and brings out its delightfully earthiness and sweetness. It's a fantastic leafy veggie that is full of potential in the kitchen, is low carb, and is loaded with nutrients like vitamin K, C and A!

How To Make This Swiss Chard Recipe With Bacon

  1. Heat a heavy saucepan on medium-high and add the chopped bacon. Allow it to cook until the outside edges are crisped but the bacon isn't all the way crisp (about 5-8 minutes).
  2. Add the smashed garlic cloves and press them down so most of the clove is touching the hot pan. I usually smash the garlic cloves with the flat of my knife.
  3. Once the garlic is brown in spots, add in the pine nuts and the raisins and mix well.
  4. Sauté until the bacon is cooked through, the garlic cloves and pine nuts are browned, and the raisins are plumped.
  5. Add salt and pepper and stir well.
  6. Add in Swiss chard and the ¼ cup of water.
  7. Place a lid on the saucepan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the chard has just barely wilted. Remember the chard will continue to cook and wilt even when off the flame, so don't overcook it.
  8. Stir well and serve.

Variation On This Swiss Chard Recipe

  • If you're not a big fan of swiss chard, you can substitute Kale or Spinach. Simply reduce the cook time to 1-2 minutes.
  • You can use Craisins in place of the golden raisins.
  • Some great Pine Nut substitutions I recommend are walnuts, cashews, or slivered almonds.
  • You can add even more depth to this dish by adding a teaspoon of ground cumin. I did this and it was absolutely wonderful!

Have Some Leftover Swiss Chard? Use It In These Other Delicious Recipes!

  • This Italian Sausage Soup recipe gives you all the flavor of Zuppa Toscana without all the carbs! You can make this delicious recipe in under 30 minutes!
  • This Moroccan Chickpea Soup in your Instant Pot is so easy! This vegan recipe is just dump and cook and is hearty and delicious!
  • This Instant Pot Kenyan Kunde is a nutritious recipe with black-eyed peas and peanuts that makes a yummy, filling vegan recipe in your pressure cooker!

This quick and easy Swiss Chard Recipe with Bacon makes the perfect side for most any dish, so why don't you go ahead and make it with dinner tonight? And make sure to share this recipe with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook so they can enjoy it as well!

Risks, Side Effects and Interactions

Is Swiss chard toxic?

While it’s a very healthy and totally edible leafy green, according to the Colorado University Food Safety Center of Excellence, “Swiss chard is often associated with the pathogens coli, Listeria, and Salmonella because the crop is a raw, fresh marketed product.”

To reduce your risk of catching harmful bacteria from chards, wash the greens thoroughly and be careful about using contaminated surfaces or utensils that can transfer microbes.

Some worry that Swiss chard stems are poisonous. Is there any truth to this claim?

No, the stems are edible and where many different nutrients can be found. However, chard stems do contain oxalates, like other vegetables within the same plant family.

Oxalates are normally not a health concern when eaten in normal, moderate amounts, but in rare cases eating high levels of oxalates can cause certain health problems.

Oxalates are most known for potentially interfering with the absorption of certain minerals, such as calcium. However, experts still agree that oxalates do not pose a threat for the vast majority of people, and their presence in vegetables like Swiss chard definitely does not outweigh the many health benefits of these foods.

People who have a history of kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating Swiss chard due to its oxalates, though, since these can aggravate symptoms in some cases.

If you have an allergy to chards you may experience a negative reaction when eating the stems or leaves. In this case, Swiss chard side effects may include tingling in your mouth or throat, stomach pains, itchiness, rash, etc.

If oxalates cause you any serious side effects, you may experience kidney stones, abdominal pain, low blood pressure, vomiting and a weak pulse.

Final Thoughts

  • Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable in the Amaranthaceae plant family that has the scientific name Beta vulgaris. Chard plants come in many varieties and colors, such as deep green, red, yellow, orange, purple and multicolored Swiss chard.
  • Why is Swiss chard good for you? Chards contain many different types of antioxidants, including polyphenols, betaxanthin, syringic acid, vitamins A and C, lutein, and other carotenoids.
  • Swiss chard benefits include reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, fighting cancer and heart disease, protecting skin and eye health, maintaining brain health, improving digestion, and supporting muscle and nerve functions.
  • You can eat these greens both raw or cooked. However, cooking chards improves not only the nutrient availability, but also the taste.
  • Swiss chard is susceptible to foodborne pathogens, like other leafy greens, so be careful about washing this veggie thoroughly before preparing it.

Recipe: Swiss Chard Chicken Tacos

If tacos are a weekly staple in your house, try preparing this family favorite in a healthier way.

The surprise twist is substituting Swiss chard leaves for taco shells! Fill them with flavorful chicken and spinach for a new take on a Mexican classic.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 cups washed and chopped spinach
3 Swiss chard leaves, washed, red vein removed and each large strip cut in half horizontally


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the ground chicken, garlic salt, cumin and garam masala and cook thoroughly, 6 to 8 minutes. Fold in the spinach and cook until it&rsquos wilted.
  3. Remove the skillet from heat.
  4. Use the Swiss chard leaves as &ldquotaco shells&rdquo for the chicken mixture.

Nutrition information (per serving)

Makes 2 servings (3 tacos per serving).

Calories: 487
Total fat: 9.6 g
Saturated fat: 1.0g
Trans fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 653.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 12.4 g
Fiber: 3.2 g
Sugars: 3.4 g
Protein: 73 g

Source: Skinny Liver: A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse the New Silent Epidemic &mdash Fatty Liver Disease by Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, with Ibrahim Hanouneh, MD (© 2017 Da Capo Lifelong Books).