Simple Swiss Chard

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.

Sautéed Swiss chard

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!

Red chard leaves on marble

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!

Chopped Swiss chard leaves and stems on a cutting board

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.

Sautéed greens in skillet with wooden spoon

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!

Red Swiss chard leaves

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:

How do you like to use Swiss chard? Let me know in the comments!

Sautéed Swiss chard recipe

More Vegetable Basics

If you love this simple Swiss chard recipe, try cooking one of these vegetables next:

Sautéed Swiss Chard

rate this recipe:
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Serves 4
This simple Swiss chard recipe is an easy, healthy, and delicious side dish! You could also toss it with pasta or serve it over creamy polenta to make it a meal.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

5 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Liz McCormack
    06.29.2022

    I’m growing my own Swiss chard and kale. A
    “ bunch” is how much by weight, grams or ounces

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.02.2022

      Hi Liz, about 6 or so medium sized leaves will work here. Doesn’t have to be an exact weight.

  2. Lisa
    04.30.2022

    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.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.01.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the chard!

  3. ML Carver
    03.17.2022

    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.

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.