Ended up with some chard in your vegetable box and not sure what to do with it? Find out how to prepare and cook chard. Includes recipe for sautéed chard with lemon and garlic.
- What is chard?
- Raw chard
- Grow your own
- Where to buy
- Storing chard
- Complementary flavours
- How to prepare chard
- Chard stalks
- How to cook chard
- Printable recipe for sautéed chard
What is chard?
Chard is a leafy green vegetable. It’s closely related to the beetroot but is grown for its leaves rather than its roots.
Although it’s often known as swiss chard it doesn’t originate from Switzerland.
It’s a durable, leafy green vegetable with a great taste and a host of nutritional benefits.
Varieties of chard
There are many varieties of chard.
- Swiss chard - this is the most common and has green leaves and a white stem. Is sometimes known as silver beet.
- Rhubarb (or ruby) chard - green leaves with red veins and stem.
- Rainbow chard - different coloured stems and veins.
- Less well known varieties include oriole chard, fordhook giant, white silver, and bright lights.
When is chard in season?
Chard is in season for much of the year. You should be able to find it (in the UK at least) from June to August and from October to April.
Can you eat chard raw
Yes, although small young leaves are best.
Older chard leaves can taste a little bitter when eaten raw. If you don’t like bitter tastes I recommend that you cook your chard.
What can you substitute for chard
Chard can often be substituted for other leafy greens such as kale, spring greens or spinach.
Spinach wilts and reduces a lot more than chard, which holds its shape better. With this in mind you may need to adjust cooking times when substituting one for the other.
Is chard good for you
Yes, like all leafy greens chard is good for you. It contains calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, sodium, phosphorus and vitamins A C E and K (source).
Can you grow swiss chard?
Yes. Chard is said to be a good hardy vegetable to grow and is easier than spinach.
Where to buy
Most large supermarkets sell chard. It can also be found in greengrocers, at farmers markets and in organic
As well as the recipe for sautéed chard below you might like these chard recipes:
How to store chard
In the fridge
Store in the fridge for 3-4 days after purchase.
In the freezer
For best results blanch your swiss chard before freezing. This will help to retain the nutrients and stop the leaves from turning bitter.
To blanch swiss chard:
- wash and prepare your chard, removing the stems
- prepare a bowl of iced water
- bring a pan of salted water to the boil
- add the prepared chard leaves and boil for three minutes
- drain and place in the bowl of iced water
- pat dry with paper towel and transfer to a tray lined with baking paper. Spread out and freeze for an hour before transferring to a freezer-proof container. This will stop them from sticking together.
- be sure to label and date your container.
- freeze for up to six months.
Flavours that go well with chard
- Cheesy flavours - nutritional yeast, vegan cheese
- Cream - use vegan cream eg oat cream for a chard gratin
- Olive oil
How to prepare chard
- Wash your chard leaves well.
- Slice off the stalks and chop finely. Don't discard them - you can cook them separately or with the chard leaves.
- Roll the chard leaves up tightly and slice into 1-inch thick ribbons.
What to do with chard stalks
Chard stalks can be eaten. Unless your chard is very young the stems will take longer to cok than the leaves so it's best to cut them away and cook them separately.
The stems do take a little longer to cook than the leaves so if sautéeing your chard add the chopped stems to the pan first.
Here are some more ideas for how to use your chard stalks:
- Try sautéing them with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.
- Alternatively you can sauté them with your chard leaves. Chop them finely and cook for a few minutes before adding the leaves.
- They can even be pickled.
How to cook chard
Chard can be boiled, steamed or sautéed. My preference is to sauté it or add it to a stir fry.
How to boil chard
- Remove the stems (see above for cooking ideas) and slice the chard leaves into ribbons.
- Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to the boil.
- Add the sliced leaves and add to the boiling water. Boil for around 2 minutes, then drain and serve.
How to steam chard
- Boil water in your steamer pan.
- Add your prepared chard leaves to the steamer basket and steam for 3-4 minutes until soft, then serve.
How to sauté chard
For full recipe including ingredients list, quantities and method please see the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil and fry the chopped chard stalks with a couple of cloves of crushed garlic until soft. This should take 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the chopped chard leaves and stir well.
3. Continue cooking for 3-5 minutes over a medium heat, stirring often, until wilted. Squeeze in some lemon juice and season with salt if desired.
If you have made this recipe and loved it please consider leaving a comment and rating below.
Please do not reproduce this recipe without permission.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 200 g chard sliced, stems reserved and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 lemon juiced
- Sea salt to taste
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan or wok.
- Add the chopped garlic and the chopped chard stalks first.
- Sauté for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften and then add the shredded chard leaves.
- Continue cooking for 3-5 more minutes, stirring often, until soft. Squeeze over the lemon juice and season with salt to taste.
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