How to Cook Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is one of my new favorite veggies. I never had swiss chard growing up; I was only introduced to this delicious green in the past five years since I started trying to expand my food horizons. I have quickly become a fan, in fact, I might even go so far as to say that swiss chard is my favorite veggie. But you do have to know what to with it.

The most important thing to know about swiss chard is that it is best to separate the leaves from the stems and prepare them separately. A little more work, yes, but consider this. You get TWO side dishes from every batch of swiss chard. BOOYAH!!!

To spread the wealth as far as I can, I usually cook the greens the first night and save the stems for later in the week since they last longer. But you can certainly serve them both together at the same meal.

Here’s what it looks like when you buy it at the grocery store or get it from your CSA (or pull it out of your garden. We have had really good luck growing swiss chard, so if you have a backyard garden, I highly recommend giving it a try.)

source: The Foodist via Anuparp Ratanakhon on Pinterest

You will want to pull the greens off in bite sized pieces and rinse them really, really well in a colander in cold water. I soak them a bit to get the sand and dirt out of them and then drain them thoroughly.

Either save the stems for another night, or prepare them while the greens are draining. The stems take longer to cook, so you’ll need to prepare those first if you plan to use both dishes for the same meal.

Parmesan Baked Swiss Chard Stems

Here’s my bowl of rainbow chard stems, all washed and ready to cook! Aren’t they gorgeous? (Rainbow chard is just swiss chard with colorful stems. They are interchangeable in this recipe.)

To make the stems into a delicious side dish, start by trimming discolored ends from chard stems, and they should be cut on an angle into pieces about 3 inches long. If some stems are very thick, you can cut them lengthwise so all pieces are approximately the same thickness. You can see that I didn’t bother making mine pretty, it all tastes the same!.

Then you just parboil it in salted water for about five minutes, drain it, and bake with olive oil and parmesan.

Yes, it is THAT easy! Here’s the exact recipe.

Parmesan Baked Swiss Chard Stems
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • 2 bunches chard stems
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt for boiling
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste
  1. Trim discolored ends from chard stems and cut on an angle into 3-inch pieces.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Cook chard stems in salted, boiling water for 6 minutes; drain.
  4. Brush a baking dish with olive oil; place chard in the pan and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with cheese. Make two layers, depending on the size of your baking pan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chard is softened and cheese is lightly brown.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper and serve immediately.

Sautéed Swiss Chard

Once you’ve removed the leaves from the stems (you can do this with a knife, or just tear them), wash and drain the leaves and heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Slice up a clove of garlic and let it soften in the hot oil for about a minute. If you want to add some heat, sprinkle some red pepper flakes in there as well.

Then add the swiss chard leaves, sprinkle with salt, and cover for about five minutes. Uncover, flip, and cover again for another five minutes, and it should look something like this.

Then all you do is plate it up and serve! I usually add some butter because what veggied isn’t better with butter!?

Yes, it cooks down A LOT. I always buy 2 bunches of swiss chard for our family of five, and there are rarely leftovers. If there are, they are great in eggs the next day!

Here’s the recipe for your printing convenience.

Sautéed Swiss Chard
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
  • 2 large bunches of fresh Swiss chard
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • salt
  1. Remove leaves from stems; save stems for Parmesan Baked Swiss Chard Stems.
  2. Rinse and drain the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly.
  3. Break leaves into bite sized pieces.
  4. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat; add olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper.
  5. Sauté for just a minute, and add the Swiss chard leaves.
  6. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
  7. Flip the leaves over in the pan and cover again. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. When it’s done, add butter and salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Plate it and serve hot.

Do you eat Swiss Chard? How do you like to prepare it?

Join the Conversation

4 thoughts on “How to Cook Swiss Chard

  1. I love how you’ve done the stems! As you know from my post last week, I’m always looking for ways to use them up! I’m planning a post for this week or next on a round up of ways to use chard stems, I hope you don’t mind if I link back to your post 🙂

  2. I love Swiss chard, too and cook the leaves like you do.
    There’s a little variation that I like to do for Swiss chard soup. I chop the stems into 1/2″ cubes, stir fry them first like your recipe for the leaves. This gives them a chance to get to the right softness. Then add the leaves. Then pour some chicken stock over it. Voila!

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