Like its cruciferous cousins kale and cabbage, Swiss chard works in recipes both cooked or raw. Choose the freshest bunch of chard with no yellowing around the leaves and with crisp — not limp — stalks.
Wrapped in a plastic bag, raw Swiss chard stays fresh in your refrigerator for up to three days. Wait to wash the chard until right before you’re ready to use it.
Use Swiss chard as you would lettuce leaves to add bitter flavors that balance the richness in your lunchtime meals:
- Add the chard either slightly cooked or raw to grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Use whole or chopped leaves in fried egg or egg salad sandwiches.
- Substitute chard for the lettuce in a BLT.
- Give Reuben sandwiches a vegetable boost with chard instead of the traditional sauerkraut.
Raw chard works well as a garnish or as part of a sauce or salsa. Cut it into a chiffonade by removing the stalk, and saving it for another dish. Roll the leaves into one long cigar-like package and cut across the roll to create thin strips. Use the strips for these recipes as you would for fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley or basil:
- Sprinkle the chard onto pizzas after they come out of the oven.
- Pulse the chard in your blender or food processor to make Swiss chard pesto.
- Toss chard into any pasta or risotto dish after cooking.
- Use Swiss chard chiffonade instead of lettuce in your lunchtime sandwich.
- Chop the chard strips into small pieces to use in salsas or sauces for fish, meats or vegetables, such as the garlicky chimichurri sauce from Argentina.
Swiss chard cooks in about 5 minutes, whether steamed, microwaved, sauteed or braised. Chop the chard into 1/2-inch pieces, and add the stems first and then the leaves after 2 minutes.
Use Swiss chard in soups and stews in the same ways you would spinach or kale:
- Add 1 to 2 cups of chopped chard to vegetable soups, such as cauliflower, minestrone, mushroom, potato or beet.
- Add 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped chard to bean soups, such as lentil or white bean.
- Blend cooked chard with 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of milk for a cream soup that serves two people.
- Cook chopped chard along with the other vegetables in chicken, beef or lamb stews.
Add small amounts of Swiss chard to any salad for layers of flavors, or use it as the primary ingredient in a chard salad.
- Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of finely chopped or chiffonade chard to potato, tuna, pasta or Waldorf salads.
- Use Swiss chard instead of lettuce in a Caesar salad and the chard instead of kale in kale salad.
- Make an Asian-inspired warm salad, adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe in “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian,” with lightly sauteed chard; 1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil; 1/4 cup of sliced red onion; 1 orange, cut into pieces; and a vinaigrette made with rice wine or sherry vinegar.
Serve Swiss chard with fish, chicken, lamb or pork entrees.
- Braise chopped chard in chicken or vegetable stock and 1 tablespoon of oil until soft and tender. Stir in 1 tablespoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar just before serving to brighten the flavor.
- Saute chopped chard for about 5 minutes, until crisp-tender, with chopped garlic and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice when the chard finishes cooking.
- Make creamed chard as you would creamed spinach, by stirring in a flour and cream sauce to cooked chard.
Add any leftover cooked chard to quiche, an omelet, stew or meatloaf.