If you grow chard, belong to a CSA farm, or frequent farm markets, especially around midsummer, you know how abundant chard (sometimes generically referred to as Swiss chard) can be. Here’s a selection of tasty, naturally vegan chard recipes to make good use of this versatile leafy green vegetable.
In addition to the specific recipes, make sure to see the additional listing of recipes at the end of this post, in which chard can replace collard greens, kale, and other leafy vegetables.
What is chard? It’s a leafy green vegetable that’s related to both beets and spinach. It’s often generically called Swiss chard, which is indeed one common variety. But there are several others, including rainbow, silverbeet, and green chard, and many more. See this site’s complete Guide to Chard.
Is chard good for you? A look at the nutrition profile of chard gives lots of good reasons to keep it in your rotation, especially during the summer, when it’s so plentiful. Offering a generous supply of vitamins and minerals, chard is also packed with fiber and even has a decent amount of protein for a leafy vegetable.
The Most Basic, Best Way to Cook Leafy Greens: First and foremost, if you want to do a basic garlicky sauté (a great way to prep chard, if you don’t have room for it in the fridge), this post has you covered, and has lots of variations. You can use these tips for other greens as well.
Italian-Style Braised Chard with Tomatoes: Since chard is beloved in Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, it’s fitting to combine it with tomatoes, basil, and other ingredients typical to the region. Braised chard with tomatoes can be served as a side dish or bolstered with white beans or chickpeas.
Stir-Fried Chard with Napa Cabbage: This dish of stir-fried chard combined with napa cabbage is downright addictive, served on its own or over hot cooked rice or noodles. Napa cabbage is a superb companion to dark leafy greens, adding a lighter texture and flavor as well as visual interest.
Spinach and Chard with Pan-Sautéed Polenta: Little wedges of polenta add immense charm to this simple vegetable dish. The flavor and texture of this cornmeal-based preparation is so compatible with leafy greens. Spinach and chard with crispy pan-sautéed polenta is a delicious side dish to serve when greens are in abundance.
Curried Sweet Potatoes with Chard & Chickpeas: A fusion of flavor and color is what this hearty dish of curried sweet potatoes with chard and chickpeas is all about. This warming dish is fantastic served as a stew in shallow bowls, accompanied by warm flatbread; you can also serve it over hot cooked grains.
Pasta with Chard and White Beans: Pasta with chard and chickpeas is just one iteration — and a tasty one — of the classic Italian trio of pasta, greens and beans. Use any kind of chard, a beloved kitchen garden vegetable in Italian cuisine. I prefer green chard in this recipe, but you can use any other chard variety you have available.
Brussels Sprouts with Chard (or Other Leafy Greens): These two green vegetables synergize nicely in a simple side dish. They taste and look fantastic together. This simple preparation of Brussels sprouts and chard or other greens makes a great holiday side dish. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving, for example, yet it’s easy enough to make for everyday meals, factoring in a bit of prep time.
Chard with Pinto Beans: This simple recipe for chard with pinto beans is inspired by a Native American recipe made with wild greens. It’s an excellent way to use up big bunches of chard when it’s in peak season. You can use any variety of chard — green, Swiss, rainbow — our favorite is the latter. You can substitute other greens in whole or in part, too — kale, collards, spinach, mustard greens, etc.
Italian Vegetable Ragout with Chard: Here’s a warming dish of all-season veggies. This quick, hearty dish can be served over grains, pasta, or polenta. Though I favor chard in this dish, there’s no reason not to try it with other greens, such as those listed under variations, or any others you may have on hand.
Vegan Cream of Leafy Greens Soup: When you have a surplus of greens like chard that need to be used up, this vegan cream of leafy greens soup does the trick deliciously. Try combining it with other greens, like spinach or the Asian greens, in this soup, which is most palate-pleasing in spring and summer, but you can enjoy it year-round.
Quinoa with Chard and Chickpeas: Quinoa harmonizes well with chard and chickpeas. Here’s a satisfying way to use these ingredients in a simple bowl presentation.
Bonus — swap chard into these recipes
You can also swap chard in for other leafy greens like collards, kale, and others in these recipes:
- Mediterranean Spinach with Pine Nuts & Raisins
- Pasta with Escarole and Two Beans
- Hoisin-Glazed Collard Greens and Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato and Collard Greens Stew with Fresh Corn & Tomatoes
- Rosemary Potatoes with Collard Greens and Vegan Sausage
Do you want more about leafy greens?
See Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas