Swiss Chard is a very nutrient rich plant. It is part of the beet family, which is often most noticeable with red veined chard leaves. Though the leaves are always green, the stalks and veins can come in many colours.
While growing Swiss chard can bring a pop of colour to your garden, it can feel plain after the first few salads. It may seem daunting to think of how else you can eat it.
As a leafy green, it can be eaten much like other leafy greens such as spinach. The leaves are a bit more robust though, so there are some fun alternative options.
If you are wondering what you can do with all that Swiss Chard, look no further. Here is a list of 10 ways to use, cook, and eat your Swiss chard harvest.
This is probably the most common and obvious way to eat Swiss chard. If your leaves are young, just wash thoroughly, and dress with your favourite dressing. If they are larger, and have a thick stalk they will need some preparation.
- Cut the thick stalk away from the leaf, and chop it up into small chunky pieces.
- break the leaves apart with your hands, tearing them into smaller pieces
- mix in with spinach, lettuce, or other leafy greens
- Add the chopped stalk on top with any other accoutrements
- Dress, and enjoy!
Sautéed chard can make an amazing side dish for a bed of grains, or meat feature. It can make a great bowl all on its own too.
To make Sautéed chard
- Cut chard leafs and stock down to small chunks
- In a hot pan add cooking oil, salt, pepper, crushed garlic cloves, and shallot, or red onion
- Once the onion has wilted down, add in your chard chunks, and keep stirring so they do not stick to the pan.
- For an optional additional splash of flavour, you can add a tablespoon of rice, cider, or white vinegar.
- Remove from heat, and pair with a bowl of prepared grains.
Swiss chard can be used to make a few kinds of wraps. The chard can be chopped up like any other green, and used inside the wrap to add a crunchy folic acid rich addition. Or the chard leaf can be the wrap itself, making a fun gluten free option.
To make a chard leaf wrap
- Wash leaf thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand on the leaf
- Lay the leaf out, and remove the bottom half of the stalk, so that the leaf can lay completely flat
- Add a spoonful of hummus, or another spread to the leaf, and smooth over the centre of the leaf
- Add other diced fruit or vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, avocado)
- Keeping all contents centred on the leaf, fold the bottom of the leaf up over the contents, then the top down to meet the bottom fold
- fold, or roll the other two sides closed, and enjoy!
Soup is a hearty way to enjoy many vegetables from the garden. Try a classic bean and vegetable soup using chard.
The best part of having a vegtable garden is eating what you grow. This classic garden vegetable soup is the perfect way to pass a rainy summer day.
Adding Swiss chard into a vegetable soup, or curry will enrich the dish with vitamins and nutrients. It will also add a colourful flair.
Swiss Chard Chips
We’ve all heard about kale chips by now. Well, Swiss chard is a much cheaper option than Kale, and for those who can’t eat kale, its also an alternative to creating healthy snacks. Follow this recipe for Swiss Chard Chips to make a delicious treat fresh from your garden.
Let us know if you experiment with any fun flavour options. We’d love to hear how it turns out.
Chard can liven up any stir fry with its colourful stalks, and nutrient rich leaves.
Cut away the stems from the chard, and chop down to size. Separate the leafy green portion to add later. You can add Swiss chard to any stir fry for added nutrients. Add the chopped stalks in first. They cook similarly to broccoli, or celery. Add the leaves toward the end to lightly soften them.
Swiss Chard wouldn’t be my immediate thought when thinking about a chip or bread dip. But this amazing recipe for Swiss chard dip will change all that.
Much like spinach dips, Swiss chard can be substituted in for a nice change up.
Pesto is often made with cheese, but not this amazing vegan Swiss chard pesto option from PlantedPurpose.
This pesto is another great option you can add to a chard leaf wrap, or use on a pizza. Pestos make a great snack food, and think of the bragging rights to say you grew it yourself!
Try this pickled rainbow chard for an overnight condiment. Show off your garden’s abilities by adding pickled Swiss chard as a side at your next barbecue.
One of the coolest things about harvesting your own produce is being able to make things like pickled Swiss chard. But you don’t have to have grown it in your garden to be able to share in the delights of these flavours. You can find Swiss chard in most grocery store produce aisles.
Chop, and freeze
After trying all these delicious ways to eat chard, here’s how to make it a year round option. Thoroughly wash and clean all of your remaining leaves, and dry them thoroughly with a dish towel. Its important that no moisture is left on the surface.
Chop down the leaves to the size you use most frequently, and soak in a bowl of cold water mixed with lemon juice. The lemon juice will help keep them fresh longer.
You can freeze the chard in blocks of water if you feel you will be boiling it when you thaw it out. This is a good way to prevent freezer burn and help them last longer. But the down size is limitations in how you will use it later.
If you are not planning to boil your chard, its best if you let them dry out again, and pack them into freezer lock containers or bags. Chard will freeze best in smaller chunks.
In the middle of winter, pull out a fresh bag of chard and relive the flavours of long summer days.
Whether you are cooking with Swiss chard, spinach, or any other garden produce, take pride in what you’ve accomplished. Being able to grow your own food is a great feeling, but so is being able to cook with it.
Show off what you’ve made by sharing it with us, and tagging us on instagram @veggie_homestead. We’d love to see wha you’ve made, and how your gardens are growing.