How to Cook Swiss Chard

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Cooking chard in a pan is the best way to prepare these beautiful greens.

How to Cook Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is often left in the shadow of other leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. But it has so much going for it in terms of texture, color, nutrition, and versatility. It deserves its spot in the sun! It’s just as easy to cook and adaptable as other greens, and often it boasts vibrantly colored stems that make any dish pop.

Scroll down for a very easy recipe for Sautéed Swiss Chard, which will get you started. Then, think about using it in soups, stews, sides, casseroles, and salads. Sautéed Swiss chard goes with everything — try it with Seared Rib-Eye Steaks or Grilled Scallops.

Three pieces of bruschetta topped with Swiss chard, leeks, and feta.
Swiss Chard, Leek, and Feta Bruschetta

What Is Swiss Chard?

Swiss chard (also known just simply as chard) is a leafy green vegetable related to beets and spinach. Chard appears frequently in Mediterranean cooking, as well as American, though it is used (sometimes called by different names) in cuisines ranging from Egyptian to Turkish. It’s not Swiss— there is no clear reason why it got attached to that country.

What Does Swiss Chard Look Like?

The leaves are large and dark green, with pronounced ribbing. Sometimes the stalks will be all one color, usually red or white, and sometimes they will be a blend of colors, with stems of red, pink, orange, yellow, and white. This variety is usually called Rainbow Chard or Bright Lights Chard for obvious reasons. The colors will fade somewhat in the cooking process, but boy, are they pretty to look at when uncooked.

Fresh colorful Swiss chard on yellow table.

Buying and Selecting Swiss Chard

You can find Swiss chard in the produce section of supermarkets, usually near the kale, collard greens, or other sturdy lettuces. It is often sold in bunches. Look for firm, brightly colored stems, and leaves that are glossy and smooth, without any brown or yellow spots.

How to Prepare and Cook Swiss Chard

You can use the entire leaf, the green leafy part, and the stems. The stems take a little longer to cook than the leaves, but the whole thing is edible, and delicious, a little bit sweet in the stems (which have a slight celery-like flavor), and a little bit bitter in the leaves.

Some people prefer to slice the stems out of the leaves and cook them separately, but as long as they aren’t too thick, you can skip that step if you like. It can be steamed, sautéed, or used in soups, stews, casseroles, frittatas, and quiches. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads.

Sautéed Swiss Chard on white plate with fork and spoon.

How to Store Swiss Chard

Store chard wrapped in slightly damp paper towels, then tucked into an open plastic bag, where it will last for up to 3 days.

Swiss chard (also known as chard) is a leafy green vegetable related to beets and spinach. Here’s everything you need to know about how to cook swiss chard!

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FAQs

What part of Swiss chard do I eat?

The entire leaf is edible, though the stems are tougher and may need more cooking time to become tender. If your stems are thick, you will want to remove them from the leaves and start cooking them before you add the greens. The leafy parts will take less time to cook. If you are planning to eat the chard uncooked, make sure the leaves are young and tender. The stems may need to be removed unless they are thin and not too fibrous.

When is chard in season?

Chard’s main growing season starts in May and then goes through the summer, but it is readily available year-round.

Is Swiss chard nutritious?

Chard is rich in vitamins A, C, and especially K, as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, and potassium (via USDA).

Big Biscuit with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms on green plate with drink glasses.
Big Biscuit with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms

Recipes With Swiss Chard


Sautéed Swiss Chard Recipe

There are a number of ways to cook Swiss Chard, but I am partial to sautéing it. Like spinach and other leafy greens, I find this to be the most satisfying way of getting the greens to the optimal texture, with just a tiny bit of fat, and some member of the onion family for flavor.

I like to slice the stems and sauté them right along with the leaves. The stems will stay a bit crisper, but the combo of textures is very appealing.

Sautéed Swiss Chard in white serving bowl on white table.

Sautéing Swiss chard in a pan is the fastest and best way to prepare these beautiful greens. (vegan!)

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Seasoning Sautéed Swiss Chard

You can add all kinds of seasonings to this sautéed Swiss chard dish. Onions and garlic are the starting point for me, but you can use other members of the onion family. Also, think about chopped preserved lemon, some slivered olives, red pepper flakes, or citrus zest. Anything you like in any sautéed greens can be included.

You can also top the sautéed chard with extras, like a sprinkle of Parmesan or feta cheese. I threw some pickled red onions on top in the last photo — yum and yum.

How to Cook Swiss Chard on the Stove

  1. Prepare the chard: Slice the stems and roughly chop the greens. Rinse well.
  2. Cook the chard: Sauté the onions and garlic, then add the chard, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the chard is tender. Serve hot.
White bowl with Sautéed Swiss Chard next to fork and spoon.

How to Use Sautéed Swiss Chard

It’s amazing just as is, as a great simple side dish, but you can also use it in frittatas, on grilled pizza, on crostini…once you make a batch or two, you will find yourself inventing reasons to make it again, and new ways to creatively use it.

Sometimes recipes call for cooking the ribs or stems separately or longer than the greens, but for this easy side dish, I don’t think it’s necessary. You will get a bit more crunch from the ribs and tenderness from the leaves, but that works just fine.

Sautéed Swiss Chardin white bowl with picked red onions.

What to Serve With Sautéed Swiss Chard

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5 from 2 votes

Sautéed Swiss Chard

Cooking chard in a pan is the best way to prepare these beautiful greens.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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Ingredients 

  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion (sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper (to taste)

Instructions 

  • Chop the chard, slicing the stems and roughly chopping the greens. Rinse well in a colander, then shake the colander to get rid of excess moisture.
  • Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the onions and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the garlic, and stir for another minute. Add the chard, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the chard is crisp-tender (if you like it softer, cook it a bit longer). Serve hot.

Notes

  • Store chard wrapped in slightly damp paper towels, then tucked into an open plastic bag, where it will last for up to 3 days.
  • I like to slice the stems and sauté them right along with the leaves. The stems will stay a bit crisper, but the combo of textures is very appealing.

Nutrition

Calories: 57kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 161mg, Potassium: 324mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 4587IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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