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How to cook Chard

How to cook Chard

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Add the whole lot (stems and all) to a delicious pork and chickpea pot roast, or wilt down and serve as a side dish. Add small chard leaves to salads. Chard can also be cooked in the same way as spinach and is often steamed, stir-fried, sautéed, or wilted into stews and sauces. Large leaves can also be stuffed or used as wraps. The crunchy stem is delicious, and is often braised until tender.

WATCH: Perfect greens

READ: Why greens are a super food


Chard is a leafy vegetable of the goosefoot plant family, related to beetroot, turnips and swedes. It’s such a colourful vegetable – over the years, growers have bred varieties in purple, red, yellow, orange, white, and even shocking pink! It’s also a brilliant substitute for spinach, and easy to grow as the plant can withstand the cold and will keep growing for two years.


Chard is in season from June to November.


Keep it in the fridge and use within a few days.

What are the health benefits?

Chard is super-high in folate. Folate is a nutrient we need to make red blood cells – we need red blood cells to transport oxygen around our body. It's also high in vitamin C and magnesium.

Low in calories, as it has only 19 calories per 100 g, chard is certainly a vegetable that can be part of the diet of people who want to lose weight. This is because, in addition to being low in calories, it is nutritious, as it is composed of potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, iron and magnesium – something important to lose weight in a healthy way.

Chard also helps you lose weight because it has vitamin C – there are 30 mg of the nutrient found for every 100 g – which stimulates the synthesis of carnitine in the body, a component associated with improving the body's fat burning process.

It is also a source of fiber: it has 1.8 g of the nutrient for every 100 g. When used in recipes alongside other fiber-rich foods, it can help control appetite, as fiber promotes a feeling of fullness in the body.

Now let's get to know some ways on how to make chard to lose weight, with practical and healthy recipes to be part of your daily life. Go ahead and learn how to prepare them!

Store bunches of rainbow chard wrapped loosely in plastic in the fridge for a day or two. For longer or better storage, separate the leaves and stems/center ribs. Store the stems/ribs loosely wrapped in plastic. Lay the leaves on layers of paper towels, roll them up, and pop them in a plastic bag. Leaves stored this way can last up to a week.

Always thoroughly rinse both the leaves and the stems of chard before cooking it—they both can hold more than their fair share of grit and dirt from the field, especially from recent rains, and nothing ruins a dish of lovely greens faster than a mouthful of grit.

Rainbow chard is great to sauté or stir-fry. For the evenest cooking, remove the colored ribs/stems from the leaves, then chop the stems and start cooking them before you add the leaves.

Sweet, tangy, and creamy things help temper the mineral edge of all chard. A bit of balsamic vinegar, a squirt of lemon juice, or a bit of crème fraîche or goat cheese are all fabulous with chard.

No matter how you cook rainbow chard, remember that it has some red chard in it and will "bleed" red when cooked, tinging adjacent foods a lovely shade of pink.

Sauteed Swiss Chard Stalks with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parsley

Notes Using chard leaves: This is an excellent recipe to keep in mind if you have used chard leaves in pasta, soup, or a cooked salad. You can keep the trimmed stalks in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. Or, if it is the leaves that are going to be left over after doing this dish, try to use them within 24 hours. The leaves can be used in pasta dough to dye it green, or together with cheese, for the filling is a variety of stuffed pastas. The leaves are also good in soup, delicious boiled and served with olive oil and lemon juice, or sautéed with olive oil and garlic.

Dietary Consideration healthy, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or Less Yes

Taste and Texture garlicky, sharp


  • 2½ cups Swiss chard stalks, cut into pieces 1½ inches long
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt
  • Black pepper , ground fresh from the mill


Wash the chard stalks in cold water. (See note below about using the chard leaves.) Bring 3 quarts water to a boil, drop in the stalks, and cook at a moderate boil until they feel tender when prodded with a fork, approximately 30 minutes, depending on the stalks. Drain and set aside.

Put the olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan, turn on the heat to medium. Cook and stir the garlic until it becomes very lightly colored, then add the boiled stalks, the parsley, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium high, tossing and turning the stalks to coat them well. Cook for about 5 minutes, then transfer the contents of the pan to a warm plate and serve at once.

Selling skeptics on the idea of a vegetarian dinner is easy when it’s in pie form. Maitake mushrooms add heft.

Massaging the greens both softens and seasons them before grilling.

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Off the Beaten Aisle: Rainbow Chard

Which doesn’t make sense. Except it does. Because it’s chard, one of a growing number of common yet often overlooked greens lurking at your grocer.

Chard -- sometimes called Swiss chard or rainbow chard (when it sports brightly colored stalks) -- really is a relative of the beet.

But unlike traditional beets -- which put their energy into producing finger-staining roots, chard instead produces big, tender leaves and crunchy stalks.

Chard has been around for thousands of years and likely originated in the Mediterranean, where it was in heavy culinary rotation until spinach came along.

The taste depends on which part you eat, though not so much on which color. The large, firm leaves are mild, sweet, earthy and just slightly bitter on the whole, it’s a bit milder than spinach.

The stalks -- which can be white, yellow, red, purple, pink, striped and so on -- resemble flat celery with a sweet taste slightly reminiscent of beets.

Why is it sometimes called Swiss chard? No one knows, but we do know it has nothing to do with Switzerland.

When shopping for chard, look for bright, firm leaves and stalks. Wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, it will keep for two to four days.

How do you use it? The simple explanation is to use the leaves as you would spinach, and use the stalks as you would asparagus.

But I tend to think that oversimplifies things. It also requires that you treat chard as two separate vegetables, the greens and the stalks.

I mean, I’m as OCD as the next guy, but there’s no way I’m separating my greens into two parts for different cooking. Who has that sort of time?

I prefer to roughly chop the leaves and finely chop the thicker stalks this helps the two parts cook in about the same time. And I enjoy the contrast between the more tender leaves and the crunchier stalks.

Generally, any flavor that works well with spinach will partner with chard, including butter, lemon, cream, garlic, shallots and vinaigrette.

In fact, if you do nothing more than briefly steam or sauté chopped chard, then toss it with any (or any combination) of those, you’ll have a great side dish.

In Spain and Portugal, for example, chard is sautéed with olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and sometimes raisins, then dressed with lemon juice. Need more ideas?

• Add chopped raw chard to salads, especially with a lemon-juice vinaigrette. Raw chard can have an assertive taste, so start with a little and see what you think.

• Sauté chopped chard with diced onion, then use it as a filling in omelets or mixed into frittatas.

• Mix finely chopped chard into your favorite turkey stuffing recipe.

• Finely slice the leaves and stalks, then stir into chicken or white bean and pasta soups during the final few minutes of simmering.

• Sauté chopped chard with onions and diced pancetta, bacon or prosciutto, then use the mixture as an amazing pizza topping.

• Toss chopped chard with cooked pasta, red pepper flakes, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. The residual heat of the cooked pasta will nicely wilt the chard.

The bacon also can be jettisoned (but why would you?). If you must, cooked chicken or sausage would be fine alternatives.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces sweet bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • ¾ cup dry elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken broth, or more as needed, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cups chopped Swiss chard
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional for serving, or to taste

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown sausage while breaking it into small pieces, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add diced celery and chopped onion. Cook until onions are translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add dry pasta. Cook and stir 2 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste until evenly distributed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3 cups broth. Raise heat to high and bring to a simmer. Add salt, black pepper, pepper flakes, and oregano. When soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let it simmer about 5 minutes, stirring often. Check soup consistency and add more broth, if needed.

Place chopped chard in a bowl. Cover with cold water and rinse the leaves any grit will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer chard to colander to drain briefly add to soup. Cook and stir until leaves wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in white beans continue cooking and stirring until pasta is perfectly cooked, another 4 or 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese. Serve topped with grated cheese, if desired.

7. No-Noodle Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagna

Lasagna doesn’t have to have meat, or cheese, or even noodles to be amazingly delicious! This No-Noodle Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagna by Jenne Claiborne is a family-favorite and perfect for any occasion. It’s made with a mixture of shiitake and white button mushrooms, fresh rosemary and tarragon, swiss chard, homemade sauce (so easy. ), tofu “cheese,” and squash. The flavor and texture are excellent. This recipe for vegan butternut squash lasagna is a perfect allergy-friendly dish for holidays, family dinners, or just any night where you want something with a little more umph! Why use noodles when you can use thin roasted slices of butternut squash in your lasagna instead?

Steps To Make This Recipe

1. Cut off stems from the Swiss Chard at the bottom of the leaves. 2. Finely chop the Swiss Chard stems.
3. Cut the leaves into pieces roughly 2-inch square. 4. Sauté onion, garlic and the stems in olive oil with the seasonings until the onion is starting to brown, 6-8 minutes.
5. Add the chard leaves and 2 tablespoons water to the skillet. 6.Cover and let the leaves wilt for 2 to 4 minutes.
7. Remove lid and continue stirring until the leaves have wilted down and softened, 1 to 3 minutes. 8. Remove from the heat and drizzle with Balsamic vinegar.

What is the difference between Red, Yellow, Rainbow and Swiss chard?

Chard comes with different coloured stalks red, yellow and white. These chards are usually Swiss Chard regardless of whether they are red, white or rainbow. There are other variations of colour as well, orange and pink.

Chard typically tastes similar to spinach. The red chard tastes slightly stronger than the other colours. Overall though they are very similar and can be handled much the same when cooking.

How to Use Chard

Chard is a perfect back up vegetable as it’s flavour isn’t overwhelming and it is great for adding some colour to your plate with the brightly coloured stems.

How to Cook Swiss Chard: All the Many Ways

Considered part of the beet family, Swiss chard grows well in both cool and warm climates. Both the stem and leaves can be eaten either raw or cooked making it a very versatile plant. Check out this post on how to plant beets for more information on growing your own. With so many ways to cook Swiss chard, you won&rsquot be disappointed!

Swiss chard is a tasty option for adding to healthy green leaf salad. Simply chop the leaves and stems after washing and add them to a salad with your favourite vinaigrette dressing.


Since Swiss chard tends to be hard or rather &ldquotough&rdquo, especially the stem, it is best to boil it in water to help soften. We recently shared this traditional blitva recipe, a Croatian boiled Swiss chard with red potatoes side dish we&rsquore sure you&rsquoll love.


Baking is another great option for cooking Swiss chard. Break up the leaves into course pieces and place on a baking sheet with oil and salt to make swiss chard chips, similar to kale chips.


Another method for softening the stems and leaves is to steam. Simply add the chopped Swiss chard into steamer or double boiler works well too.


Swiss chard can be sauteed from fresh but it&rsquos best to add some form of liquid, such as tomato juice (or water) for moisture. When we cook with Swiss chard, it&rsquos usually a combination of boiling or steaming along with sauteing.

High in vitamins A, C and K, adding chard to your diet is a healthy choice. Also a good source of magnesium, iron and dietary fiber.