Swiss Chard

I never liked Swiss chard, until several years ago I had some that had been freshly picked from a friend’s garden. It was so sweet and buttery I couldn’t believe it was actually Swiss chard. It was then I learned that freshness was the key determinant to whether chard was delectable or detestable. Last night we had Swiss chard that we had picked up from Whole Foods. It was good, quite good. But not nearly as fantastic as the chard we had a week ago that we had bought from the farmer’s market. So here’s a hint. If the thought of Swiss chard leaves you uninspired, get some from a farmer’s market that has been freshly picked. It is sort of like the difference between white corn picked that day, or the same corn two days later. The tastes don’t even compare.

Swiss Chard Recipe



  • 1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard
  • 1 small clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Salt


1 Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk, discard or save for another recipe (such as this Swiss chard ribs with cream and pasta). Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.

2 Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again. Check for doneness after another 5 minutes (remove a piece and taste it). Add salt to taste, and a small amount of butter. Remove the swiss chard to a serving dish.

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Swiss chard ribs with cream and pasta
Great collection of chard recipes at Mariquita Farm

Showing 4 of 81 Comments

  • Amy

    I love swiss chard, but converted a friend who hated it by serving them lentil swiss chard soup. It’s a Syrian recipe and I found a great version of it in a James Beard cookbook.

  • Elise

    Hi Amy, I did a search in Amazon and found this James Beard recipe for Lentil Soup with Chard and Lemon in James Beard’s American Cookery:

    1 1/2 cups lentils
    2 1/2 lbs fresh Swiss Chard
    1/2 cup olive oil
    3/4 cup chopped onion
    3 to 4 garlic cloves
    1 Stalk celery, chopped
    3/4 cup lemon juice
    1 teaspoon flour
    Chopped chives for garnish

    Wash and pick over the lentils. Cover them with fresh cold water, and cook, covered, until tender. Wash the Swiss Chard leaves and chop them. Add these and a cup of water to the lentils. Continue cooking until the Swiss chard is done, adding more water if necessary. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped onion. Crush the garlic cloves with salt, and add these and the chopped celery to the onion. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender and blended. Add to the lentil mixture. Mix the lemon juice with the flour and stir it into the soup. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the soup is rather thick. Taste for seasoning. Serve chilled with chopped chives in soup bowls, and pass crusty French or Italian bread to sop up the juices.

    Thanks for the suggestion! It sounds like a great recipe.

  • Penny

    I am of Italian lineage and our family recipe calls for an important step whenever cooking swiss chard. Always par-boil the swiss chard to remove any bitterness first and to tenderize them. A terrific recipe we have is to (after par-boiling) saute with garlic and olive oil and add a can of tomato sauce (not prepared sauce like Prego or any of that stuff). The small cans of actual sauce that you find near the canned tomatoes. This is a most delicious way to serve as a side dish. It is my favorite!

    Hi Penny, the par-boiling step really helps with more mature or end-of-season chard. Great idea to add tomato sauce, thanks! ~Elise

  • Frank Reeves

    I have just enjoyed reading the information and comments about Swiss chard. It is a regular in our vegetable garden. Our preparation is very quick and simple; we place the freshly picked and washed leaves and stems in our six liter pressure cooker in the steamer tray with just a couple cups of water under the tray and bring it up to pressure for three or four minutes depending how full the cooker is. The steam does the cooking, so as to retain nutrients and flavour. On removal from the cooker we cut up the chard in a bowl, add a little butter, some red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste and enjoy. It is by far our favorite green, followed by beet greens and spinach.

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