Simple Swiss Chard ♥

Simple Swiss Chard, another simple vegetable recipe ♥ Low Carb. WW Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.
How to sauté Swiss chard in a skillet with a little garlic, a little ginger and a whole lot of deliciousness. Plus it's quick and easy! If you like this recipe's simplicity and convenience, it can also be used with other tender leafy greens like beet greens or younger, more tender spinach (although sorry, not baby spinach, it's too tender).

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What Is Swiss Chard, Anyway?

Swiss chard (and other varieties of chard) fall into the category of vegetables that we call "leafy greens" – some times (1) the edible leaves of plants like beets and turnips, other times (2) plants where only the leaves are edible like spinach and kale and dandelion greens and lettuces and ....

Swiss chard is a charmer, for sure. First, this green is usually quite tender so can be eaten raw (in a salad or wrapped around another food) or lightly cooked in a skillet or baked into casseroles.

Second, chard just might be the prettiest leafy green: the leaves are large and knubbly, often striped with colorful ribs. As for color, wow, the stems are gorgeous, pretty shades of red and green and white and yellow and orange and ... a whole rainbow's worth of colored stems.

How to Prep Swiss Chard for Cooking

Eat It, Quick! Chard is quite perishable. So when it appeals to you, make sure to cook it within a day or two, the sooner the better. Each grocery visiti, I tend to grab a single bunch of chard to cook right away plus another one of kale and/or turnip greens which will last for a good week in the refrigerator.

Cleaning Like all fresh leafy greens, chard can be a little gritty even when it "looks" clean. So fill a container (or even a clean sink) with water and swoosh the greens around quite a bit, letting the grit drop to the bottom of the container or sink. Once there's no more grit? Carry on. Just FYI, more and more, I buy greens at Whole Foods because I find they're so well cleaned, it takes virtually no effort to finish cleaning them at home.

The Stems Separate the stems from the leaves. Why? Because the stems are more fibrous than the leaves, they just need more time to cook so they'll go into the skillet first. So start by trimming the tips of the stems if they're gnarly, toss these into the compost or waste container. Then cut the stems off the leaves right at the base of the leaf. Check the leaves on the bottom sides, some of the larger leaves will have a center rib that's also thick and fibrous. Cut these out by folding the leaf in half, that way you can cut out the center rib with just one quick cut. Cut the stems into one-inch lengths. If you prep the stems first, then you can start cooking them while continuing with to prep the leaves.

The Leaves Before you start to deal with the leaves, take a look, a real look. Aren't they just so pretty? :-) Now stack up maybe six leaves, one atop each other. Now there's a choice on how to cut the leaves into smaller pieces.
The "Cigar Roll" Cut – Starting from the long side, roll the leaves tightly into a long, tight, compact roll that's kind of like a cigar. Hold the roll tight with one hand, then cut the roll into about one-inch lengths. Voila! You've got nice ribbons of Swiss chard!
The "Square" Cut – Working from above, cut the stacks of leaves into about two-inch squares, no need to be exact. This method is slightly slower but remains my preference. With some greens, ribbons of greens can turn into stringy greens in the skillet, unattractive to see and hard to eat. With squares, those appearance and texture issues are avoided.

How to Make Simple Swiss Chard

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights broken down into four easy steps. You can do this!

Prep the chard stems, the chard leaves and also the garlic and ginger.

Heat a large skillet (one that has a lid) with a little olive oil on medium-high heat, then stir in the chard stems and let these cook until quite tender, taste along the way.

Now stir in the garlic and ginger. Let these cook for just a minute or two, you don't want them to burn or even brown, just to turn golden.

Stir in the greens, a big handful at a time until all the greens are stirred in. Stir in salt to taste and, if needed, a splash of water. Cover the skillet and let the greens gently cook until the greens are fully cooked but still bright green.

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"... ooh, it was good!" ~ Anonymous
"One of my new favorite go-to meals!" ~ Katy

Simple Swiss Chard, another simple vegetable recipe ♥ Low Carb. WW Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4
Just Three Ingredients + Pantry Staples

Generous 1/2 pound Swiss chard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic, either fresh or from a jar
1 tablespoon minced ginger, either fresh or from a jar, optional
Salt to taste

Clean the chard well under running water, soaking it if need be. (Do wash very well. It's easy for grit to get caught in all the crevices.) Trim off the stems' gnarly ends, then cut the stems and heavy center ribs off the leaves. Gather the stems and heavy center ribs into a bundle and cut into one-inch pieces. (You can start cooking the stems now, if you like.) Stack about six leaves at a time, as many as you can manage. For ribbons, roll the stack into a cigar-like roll and cut cross-ways into one-inch rolls. For squares (my favorite), just cut the stack into two-inch squares.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet with a cover over medium-high heat. Add the stems and let gently cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and ginger (if using) and sauté until soft, just a minute or two. Drop in the pieces of chard a big handful at a time. Let the first handful cook down a bit before adding more but get it all into the pan within a couple of minutes. If the chard is still wet from cleaning, it'll have plenty of moisture but if you pre-cleaned the chard earlier and it's dry, add a splash or two of water, maybe a quarter cup total. Sprinkle the chard generously with salt and stir in. Cover the skillet and let the chard cook mostly unattended, just keeping an eye out to adjust the heat if the greens are getting dry or scorch or to add a splash more water. The chard will cook down a lot but remain bright green, it takes about 10 minutes. You want the cooked chard to be soft and silky but not mushy.

MAKE-AHEAD Chard cooked this way is best eaten hot right out of the skillet.

LEFTOVERS If there are leftovers, hello, tomorrow's lunch salad either cold or rewarmed. It is hard to cook extra for "planned overs" – that's because chard and other greens cook down so much.

Taste the greens near the end of the cooking time. Are they a little bitter? A little blah? Three things can help. A splash of vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar and ... salt. Greens need salt, don't be shy.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I just made this, and ooh, it was good! I didn't have any ginger, so I added a splash of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to add a little extra flava.

    BUT that tip about stacking the leaves and rolling them up before slicing them into thin strips? GENIUS! I wish I'd known that trick during last month's Kale-A-Palooza!

  2. I have gorgeous Swiss Chard in the fridge and will make it this way tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. I made your swiss chard tonight with some tofu and brown rice. One of my new favorite go-to meals!

    I blogged about it ... and added a link to your recipe. Thanks!



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna