Saturday, April 10, 2010

Weeknight Swiss Chard

Like Julie, I've been trying to eat more veggies. Swiss Chard is one that I walked by a million times in the grocery store, because I didn't know what to do with it. I do know that the southern method of cooking greens with bacon will make even bitter collard greens taste good, but this time I'm cooking without bacon. I'm calling this Weeknight Swiss Chard, because it's quick, easy, and not a bit fancy. In fact, it might even be healthy! If you're currently planning a garden, consider planting this lovely vegetable. It grows very nicely.

If you've never tasted chard, I'd say it's
more like spinach in flavor than anything else. It acts sort of like spinach, too, in that you start with a huge amount of greens, thinking you'll never eat it all, but by the time it's cooked, that huge portion is just a little handful.

Chard comes with different colored stems, as you can see in the photo. They're all good, but the ones with yellow and red stems contain more antioxidants, so opt for those if you have a chance. The colorful stems are tougher than the leaves, but very tasty. You just have to cook them a little bit longer.

I use a lot of garlic in this recipe. If you don't already know, the easiest way to peel garlic is to smack it. Yes, you get to take out your frustrations on that poor, innocent garlic. Lay the blade of your knife flat over the garlic and bang it with the heel of your hand. The peel bursts and can be easily removed.

Weeknight Swiss Chard

1 bunch Swiss Chard, washed and shaken (I don't dry it. The moisture helps it cook.)
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
salt to taste

1 pan with deep sides and a cover

Place the olive oil and the garlic in the pan over a low temperature. Garlic burns easily. At this point you're really just using the garlic to flavor the oil a bit.

Meanwhile, lay each chard leaf flat and slice out the stem. Cut the stem into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Slice the leafy part in large chunks and set aside.

When you've cut up all the chard, add the stem portion to the pan, cover and turn the heat to medium. Cook 8 - 10 minutes, or until the stems pieces are soft. Stir occasionally. Add the leafy portion, cover, and cook about 5 more minutes, until wilted and tender. Salt to taste.


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  1. such pretty colors... I've been afraid of this as well, but with the garlic n the recipe, it sounds great

  2. What a great way to work in some more veggies! I'm definitely trying to work in more greens, in particular, so this recipe will be a must-make for me! Thanks, Krista.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. Dave, I think the flash helped perk up the colors a little bit, but it's still a pretty dish, and it tastes surprisingly good -- well, if you like garlic!

    Elizabeth, if your children eat garlic and spinach, I'm betting they'll eat Swiss Chard. Plus, it's so quick and easy to make.

  4. Garlic and I are old friends. LOL! And my beloved Aunt Mary made a dish very similar to this almost every Saturday AM. (You've brought back great memories for me and I can attest it's a fantastically healthy, easy, and wonderful dish to make for the family.) I never knew that the yellow and red stems have more antioxidants! Great to know this - Thank you!

    Have a great weekend, Krista!

    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Thank you, Krista! I've been passing Swiss Chard up at the grocery store, too. My Uncle Lou used to make it all the time, but I was a kid and just thought the name of the vegetable was funny and didn't pay any attention to how it was prepared. Since becoming a grown-up, I've wondered what to do with it. Now I do! This is a great recipe - just the kind of veggie food I like, olive oil, garlic... yumm!

  6. How interesting that Cleo's Aunt and Julie's Uncle used to make Swiss Chard. Their recipes were probably more complex, but unlike some greens, Swiss Chard isn't bitter, so it doesn't need a lot of help. It's a nice change from spinach.

    ~ Krista

  7. We're spinach happy in this house, so this might
    make a nice change. I love your recipe (GARLIC!) and it looks pretty, too!

  8. Krista, this looks like it has tomatoes in it. It's so pretty. I was just walking by veggies today in the grocery and wondering what to do with a ton of them. Turnips? Oh, my. But this looks beautiful and you've made me daring. Going to try this week!


  9. Jenn, everyone likes garlic, right? And it keeps the vampires away!

    Avery, let me know how it turns out. It's a very simple recipe but adds just a little kick to the chard.

    ~ Krista

  10. Excellent! I prepare spinach the same way. So good!