Swiss chard may be underrated but it is definitely a force in the garden. These 16 recipes starring Swiss chard will help you keep your chard in check.
Yottam Ottolenghi calls it undervalued.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OK, I know it seems I’m grasping at straws now. But we’ve already covered how easily Swiss chard can be used in recipes instead of spinach. This is another example of that. I love this for lunch or a dinner solo.