Swiss Chard Gratin ♥

Swiss Chard Gratin, another simple but special vegetable side dish ♥, just leafy greens, cream and a little lemon zest with a crispy golden topping.
Creamed spinach lovers, here's a special treat, just silky Swiss chard and a little cream with crispy bread crumbs on top. It makes up in minutes and is simple enough for a weeknight and special enough for the weekend.

Simple, Sumptuous. Real Food, Fast & Casual. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Low Carb. Vegetarian.

Simplifying a Recipe

Back in 2006, this Swiss chard gratin was a wonderful fall or winter side dish but it took nearly an HOUR to make and created a PILE of dishes: a large skillet, a large pot, a colander, a lemon press, a microplane, a food processor for the bread crumbs and a bowl for mixing. YIKES!

But the "bones" were good, just tender chard leaves and stems, cream and a touch of lemon, one of the most satisfying vegetable dishes I'd made in a long while. It was a definite keeper.

So ... time for a recipe make-over, simplified and straight-forward.

Swiss Chard Gratin, another simple but special vegetable side dish ♥, just leafy greens, cream and a little lemon zest with a crispy golden topping.

How to Make Swiss Chard Gratin

COOK THE GREENS This can be done a day or two ahead of time. Just drop well-cleaned Swiss chard leaves into salted boiling water until soft and silky. Once the leaves are done, cook the stems too.

THICKEN THE SAUCE In a skillet, saute a little shallot (or garlic, maybe?) and warm up some half & half. Stir in the greens, then watch the cream bubble away for a minute or two, it'll thicken a bit.

CRISPY BREAD CRUMBS! Sprinkle some buttery crumbs on top, then move it all to the oven to thicken a bit more. The crumbs will turn golden and crispy!

What Is Silverbeet?

Language notes! What is silverbeet?, I've wondered, when seeing fellow bloggers sing its rhapsodies. Aha. It's what I call Swiss chard. But it's also "perpetual spinach" and mangold. Beautiful names, all, for a leafy green of extraordinary beauty. For linguists and gardeners, here's more information.

Swiss Chard Gratin Made the List!
Favorite Vegetable Recipes of 2006

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Swiss Chard Gratin, another simple but special vegetable side dish ♥, just leafy greens, cream and a little lemon zest with a crispy golden topping.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes (assumes chard is already cooked)
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4

Allow time to cook the chard first, even a day or two ahead of time since it takes a little time.

2 large bunches (about 1-1/2lbs/700g) Swiss chard, rainbow, ruby, green, any color, leaves and stems

1 tablespoon butter
1 small (35g) shallot, diced very small
Cooked Stems
1 cup half & half (or 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup whole milk)
Cooked Swiss Chard Leaves
A little lemon zest, about a teaspoon, optional but lovely
Salt & white pepper

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 panko (what is panko?) or chunky dried bread crumbs
Salt & white pepper, just a little

TO COOK THE CHARD There are lots more details at Greek Greens (Flash Cook to Eat Later) but this is the jist of it. Start with about 2 large bunches of Swiss chard, separate the leaves and the stems and internal ribs, they cook separately. You'll probably need to cook the leaves of the two bunches separately, the stems may be cooked together. Wash the leaves well and cut into large squares; cut the stems into 1-inch lengths. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, stir in the greens from one bunch and cook until silky, about 7 minutes. Lift the greens out of the water and drain in a colander. Repeat with the remaining chard leaves. Add the stems from both bunches to the water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain the stems in the colander. Let the leaves and stems cool. You should have more than 2 cups of cooked greens plus the stems.

OVEN Set the oven to 500F/260C, with a rack in the center.

SKILLET In a large, heavy or non-stick skillet, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the shallot and Cooked Stems, sauté until the shallot softens. Stir in the half & half and increase the heat to medium high, let simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, just until beginning to thicken. Stir in the Cooked Chard Leaves, lemon zest, salt and white pepper. Simmer until the edges begin to thicken, about 2 minutes.

TRANSFER Move the creamy greens to an oven-safe baking dish or individual serving dishes.

CRISPY TOPPING Stir together the crispy topping and sprinkle on top of the greens.

BAKE Place the dish/dishes in the oven and bake until the Crispy Topping begins to brown, about 20 minutes.

TO SERVE Serve hot, straight from the oven.

MAKE-AHEAD Cook the chard leaves and stems ahead of time, up to a day or two. If you like, you can even cook the greens, shallot and cream ahead of time. Don't sprinkle the Crispy Topping over top until just before going into the oven, it would get soggy.

LEFTOVERS Leftovers? If there are any, they'll reheat well.

VARIATIONS This recipe would also work well with kale, mature spinach, turnip greens, even collard greens, just be sure to cook them until soft and silky. Beet greens work well too. That said, chard is definitely my favorite.

If you're using individual serving dishes, be sure to estimate how much volume they need to seem "full" and gauge accordingly. For example, I thought I had enough for 4 for the dishes pictured but instead it was only 3.

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Still Hungry?

More Favorite Chard & Leafy Greens Recipes

~ Green Smoothies ~
~ Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar ~
~ Chard & Chickpeas with Feta ~
~ more chard recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Slow-Cooked Greens & Smoked Turkey ~
~ Italian Sausage with Grapes & Greens ~
~ Greens & Grits ~
~ more ~ leafy greens recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Seasonal Eating: Early Fall Across the Years

Quick Tomato Sauce for Pasta & Pizza Tomato & Rice Salad (<< I crave this!) Zucchini Bread with Pumpkin (< lovely for early fall!) Swiss Chard Gratin Broccoli Parmesan Casserole Green Beans with Mayo-Soy Sauce (<< totally easy, so good!) Farmgirl's Swiss Chard Tuna Salad Grilled Cheese BLT Homemade Onion Dip Julia Child's Lentil Salad Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Vinaigrette (<< this week's dramatic favorite!) Raw Butternut Squash Salad Slow Cooker Butternut Squash with Ginger & Dried Fruit Easy Steamed Bok Choy Salad Roasted Salmon with Garden Hash & Creamy Avocado Sauce Warm Lentil Salad with Spinach & Goat Cheese

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2006 & 2021

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. How funny! We just made a similar swiss & ruby chard gratin the other night as a random creation - we had no idea it was a tried and tested recipe! It makes sense though, because both veg go together very well and it is super tasty! It's an excellent way to spruce up a gratin!

  2. I feel so honored! Glad you liked it. My chard keeps coming so I'm still looking for more ideas. I did a chilled chard and yogurt dish the other night that was excellent!

  3. I'm Swiss before your post I did not know that you call Mangold Swiss Chard.

  4. Wow Alanna,

    This looks wonderful. I love gratins - the cauliflower -blue cheese one looks awesome and the spinach-artichoke. thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Bonnie ~ Ruby chard, doesn't that sound gorgeous!

    Ellen ~ Chard from the garden! Oh my, I'm happy to just find it in the produce section!

    Zorra ~ Mangold's a really pretty name too, I think! Silverbeet I don't get though the words are pretty.

    Catherine ~ Mutual inspiration, then! If I weren't blogging, I'd probably just make whatever you make, the next day! ; - )

  6. I thought I remembered this post from last year. It still sounds delicious! Now if only the majority of chard in my garden wasn't only one inch high.

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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