Swiss Chard with Olives

I’ve been on a chard kick this season, getting one or two bunches a week for the last several months. It cooks down to something more substantial than spinach, and is more tender and therefore cooks faster than kale or collard greens. A few weeks ago I had some leftover olive tapenade from another cooking experiment and decided to toss it in with the sautéing chard. Wow! What a combo. We’re used to cooking up our greens with bacon, the bacon countering the bitterness of the greens. Well, oddly the olives and capers seem to do the same thing here, providing an earthy richness and a perky saltiness to balance the bitter of the green. The olive mixture would work well with other greens as well, such as rabe or dandelion greens.

Make extra of the tapenade mixture (the olives, rosemary, capers, onion) and cover it with olive oil, store for several weeks in the refrigerator and then just take a scoop to add to whatever greens you are cooking.

Swiss Chard with Olives Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-3.


  • 1 ounce pitted green olives (about 10 medium sized), roughly chopped or sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 green onion or shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon capers
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large bunch of Swiss chard, rinsed and patted dry
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 Mix together the olives, rosemary, green onion, and capers with a tablespoon of olive oil and let sit while you prep the chard.

2 Use a knife to cut along the edges of the main stem of each leaf of chard, remove the stems. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch slices and set aside. Cut the leaves separately into 1-inch thick crosswise ribbons. Keep the leaves and the stems separate as you will be cooking them separately.

3 Heat a large, stick-free sauté pan on medium high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil, just enough to coat. When the oil is hot, add the chard stems. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often, until they begin to soften. Then stir in the olive mixture. Cook for a minute more, then add the chopped chard leaves to the pan. Use tongs or two large spoons to toss the chard leaves in with the rest of the mixture, so that the chard gets coated with olive oil.

4 Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let cook a few minutes, lift the cover every once in a while to turn the leaves over in the pan. Once the chard has all wilted, remove from heat. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste.

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Showing 4 of 19 Comments

  • Jenny

    Hello! Yum- I’ve been looking for swiss chard recipes this past week. Could I please ask for your tapenade recipe? Thank you! Jenny

    The tapenade is the olive and caper mixture in this recipe. You can make it more traditional by adding anchovies if you want, or dress it up with other herbs or lemon zest. ~Elise

  • Trish-in-MO

    Growing up, we had a lot of swiss chard, escarole, broccoli-rabe, and the like – a la Italian style. This recipe brings it all back! I wish I could get my family to eat the bitter greens; I adore them! Maybe I should make this just for me and my mom.

  • Ophelia

    YUM! I’ve been loving chard lately too. Picked some up at the market yesterday because it looked too delicious to pass up.

    Do you think this would be good with kalamatas? I think I have some of them lurking in my fridge…

    It would work great with kalamatas. ~Elise

  • Val from PA

    This looks phenomenal – and healthy to boot!!! Olives are actually a lot like bacon to me – they make everything taste even better! And the rosemary in the tapenade is a really interesting addition… Thanks for sharing!

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