How To Cook Swiss Chard

Learn how to cook Swiss chard with our helpful guide. We're going to teach you everything you need to know from start to finish, including shopping for this yummy dark green leafy, prep tips, cooking techniques, and seasoning ideas with our helpful Flavor Matches guide.

I went through the better part of my adult life without trying this TASTY veggie. I would pass it by in the produce section with hardly a glance in that direction -- although admittedly I always felt a little tinge of "if only I could muster up the courage to try that stuff!"

But then I learned how important it is to add leafy greens to the vegan diet -- such a great source of iron and calcium! And Swiss Chard especially is an excellent source of Biotin. So I grudgingly began some taste tests.

I was really surprised how delicious it was, outdistancing other greens such as collard, mustard and kale (to my taste buds, that is).

Back then, I really had no idea what to do with chard. Does this sound like you?

Now, it finds a cozy regular spot in my veggie rotation. And I'd love to show you all I know so it can become a favorite for you too.

Selecting Swiss Chard

Learning how to shop for your Swiss chard will help you when you select any dark green leafies. That's because the rules are basically the same.

The first thing I do is look at the leaves. They should be a rich, dark color, and nice and firm looking. If they're wilting, pass on them because they're old -- or sad because they overheated somewhere along the way!

The next thing I look to are the stalks. They come in different colors, but the most popular stalks are red. Don't worry, they all taste the same. But if presentation is important and you want to have some fun, stalks of varying colors are cool to play around with.

Honestly, that's really all there is to selecting your chard. It's a pretty low maintenance veggie and perfect for someone new to greens.

Cleaning and Prepping Tips

Okay, so you have your beautiful chard home. What the heck do you do now?

Well, before you use it you need to clean it. So fill a large bowl with fresh water and about 1/4 cup foodie acid like apple cider vinegar or lemon or lime juice.

Place the entire bunch in, leafy ends first. It's okay if the stalks don't get submerged. Let the leaves soak for 5-10 minutes. Drain and rinse. Your chard is now ready for you to cook.

Let's back up a second. When I'm a SUPER BIG rush? I don't always soak my chard. That's because it's sort of a bitter veggie and bugs don't really have a lot of interest in the bitter greens. So it's okay if you just give it a quick rinse under the faucet.

The choice is yours.

How To Cook Swiss Chard

Click to learn more about the cooking technique we use and recommend for chard...

A ceramic-coated saute pan with a lid

Vegan Flavor Matches

Create your very own Swiss chard recipes with some of your favorite ingredients from this list of foods that match perfectly.

(What are Flavor Matches?)

  • Basil
  • Beans, especially Garbanzos
  • Bell Peppers, especially red
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Butter (non-dairy)
  • Carrots
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut Nectar
  • Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Lentils
  • Maple Syrup
  • Millet
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Onion
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parmesan (non-dairy)
  • Peppers, hot
  • Pine Nuts
  • Polenta, organic
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Raisins
  • Saffron
  • Shallots
  • Tahini
  • Tamari (soy sauce), organic
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Tomatoes
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Vinegar

Helpful Hints

  • For years I only ate the leaves, throwing the stalks away. Big mistake! One day Jeff said "How come we never eat the stalks?" So I steamed them up, along with the leaves. Crunchy and delicious, and VERY good for you. So give those stalks a try -- cut them into 1-2" pieces first.

  • To freeze for a long period, blanch until the color turns bright in hot boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and run cold water over the top. Remove any excess water from the surface (setting it out to dry works great) and place in freezer bags, or containers. Then when needed, thaw to room temperature, removing only as much veggie as you require to create your recipe.

Happy cooking!

If You Like Swiss Chard Try...

Photo of collard greens
Photo of kale
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