Culinary Arts

What Is Swiss Chard? Learn How to Cook With Swiss Chard and Sautéed Swiss Chard Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Jun 7, 2019 • 4 min read

Swiss chard, with it's bright and colorful stems, is one of the most eye-catching greens in the farmers' market. It can be prepared many ways—the leaves can be cut into ribbons and dressed raw in a salad, sautéed along with its stems, or braised in a stew. With hearty leafy greens that don’t easily wilt, you can try swapping it out for kale in your next salad.


What Is Swiss Chard?

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable, closely related to beets and spinach. It's leaves resemble that of its beet cousins, but the most recognizable feature of chard is the color of its stalks: the white stalks of Swiss chard contrast with its dark green leaves, while Rainbow chard comes in colors ranging from deep red to bright yellow and orange.

The leaves are often separated from the thick celery-like stems before cooking—but don’t toss out the stems. They have unique qualities of their own and can be cut up for sautés, used as veggie sticks for dips, and pickled. They take a bit longer to cook, so start them in the pan before adding the leaves. Swiss chard makes a delicious gluten-free side dish packed with nutrients.

What Does Swiss Chard Taste Like?

Swiss chard's leafy green leaves are tender with a bitter taste when eaten raw. Once cooked, the bitterness dissipates, turning into a mild, sweet taste similar to spinach.

How to Wash and Prep Swiss Chard

After washing and drying the chard, stack the leaves together, and trim the rough stems at the end. Fold each leaf in half lengthwise and cut out the stems. Stack the trimmed leaves and roll up tightly; slice across forming ribbons. If using the stems, cut them into one to two-inch pieces.

What Are the Health Benefits of Swiss Chard?

Swiss Chard is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, and antioxidants, making it a great immune system booster and aid in regulating blood sugar levels, digestion, and blood pressure.

5 Swiss Chard Recipes

  1. Chard Tahini Dip: Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil and cook chopped chard stalks until tender, 16 to 18 minutes. Place the chard stalks and 1 clove chopped garlic in a food processor and purée. Then add ¼ cup tahini, ¼ cup olive oil, juice from half a lemon, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt; process until smooth. Serve with veggie sticks or pita bread.
  2. Creamed Swiss Chard: Remove the stems from 2 large bunches of Swiss chard and cut them into 1-inch pieces, then tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 sliced shallot, then the chard stalks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add ¾ cup heavy cream; bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, stirring until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add chard leaves and stir until warmed through; season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. Spaghetti With Chard: Take 1 large bunch of Swiss chard, remove the stems and cut them into 2-inch pieces. Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Sauté and cook until tender. Toss ½ pound cooked spaghetti with chard, ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water, and ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  4. Shakshuka With Chard: In a large skillet over medium-low heat add 2 minced garlic cloves, ½ tsp smoked paprika, and ½ tsp cumin. Let cook for 30 seconds, then add one 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons harissa paste, and a few pinches of kosher salt and black pepper. Add ½ bunch Swiss chard, cut into 1-inch pieces. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until chard is wilted and the sauce is thickened. Make 4 wells in the sauce and crack in 4 eggs. Cover and cook until the eggs are set, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Pickled Chard: Toss 1 pound of chard stems (cut into 3-inch pieces), 1 sliced shallot, and ¼ cup kosher salt in a large bowl. Let stand 1 hour; rinse and drain. Pack chard stems and shallots into jars. For the brine: Bring 1 cup rice vinegar, ½ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour brine into jars. Let cool, then cover and chill.

Easy Sautéed Swiss Chard Recipe

Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Prep the Swiss chard: Rinse and dry the Swiss chard leaves. Cut away the thick stalks from the leaves. Cut stalks into 1-inch pieces and reserve. Chop leaves into inch-wide strips.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring until golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the Swiss chard stalks, lower the heat, and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped leaves along with the red pepper flakes and cook, tossing until wilted, 3–4 more minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

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