How to Cook Swiss Chard – This hearty leafy green is rugged and tender, with a pleasantly bitter and slightly sweet taste. Plus nutrients galore!
Swiss chard can be eaten raw or cooked and included in any number of delicious recipes. I’m sharing with you the best tips for picking, preparing, and enjoying this wonderfully versatile veggie. Read on to discover all you need to know about Swiss chard!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KALE, COLLARD GREENS, AND CHARD?
While they are all leafy greens loaded with nutrients, there are some big differences between Swiss chard, collard greens, and kale…
- Color: Swiss chard leaves are bright green, with a bold red stem. Collard greens tend to be a solid either light or dark green color throughout. Kale, however, comes in a great variety of colors, from green to purple.
- Texture. Kale leaves are often curly and quite tough. Swiss chard is more tender – but not as easy to tear as collard greens, which have the thinest (and largest) leaves of the three greens.
- Flavor. When cooked, Swiss chard has a very similar taste to spinach, but slightly sweeter. It’s a bit less bitter than collard greens or kale when raw. And chard looses most of that bitter taste and becomes even sweeter when cooked.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BUNCH OF CHARD
Swiss chard that is fresh will have vibrant green leaves that are leafy on the outside and a bit tougher towards the stem. The stem should be a healthy shade of red and firm. You know the greens are no longer great when the stems don’t have a crisp snap to them.
Steer clear of Swiss chard that has sad wilted, yellowing, or damaged leaves.
TIPS FOR PRESERVING LEAFY GREENS
After you purchase your greens, keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week. To keep them the freshest, I recommend that you wrap the Swiss chard leaves in damp paper towels, and keep the bundle in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
HOW TO CLEAN AND CUT SWISS CHARD
Firstly, you always want to thoroughly rinse veggies to clean them before preparing. Run them under cool water, or give them a water bath in a bowl, for a minute or so as you use your hands to gently scrub the leaves. Dry with towels.
The entire Swiss chard is edible, leaves and stem!
For preparing a chopped chard dish, you should first separate the stem from the leaf: turn the leaf face down and lay flat on a cutting board, and then use a sharp knife to slice the leaf away from the stem. Chop the leaves and stems separately, and then use them together in your recipe.
How to Cook Swiss Chard: Our Favorite Vegan Swiss Chard Recipes
Fresh chard can be enjoyed raw in smoothies and salads. A few vegan recipes we love with raw Swiss chard include:
Swiss chard is terrific to make a gluten-free low carb version Buffalo Chickpea Wraps or Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches. Or fill with any of your favorite goodies! Just trim the stems, blanch the leaves, thoroughly dry, and roll up your sandwich ingredients into a tasty and healthy(er) wrap.
To blanch chard, place the cleaned leaves into a pan of boiling water for one minute, then quickly submerge in an ice bath to stop the cooking. This blanching process cuts the bitterness from the chard, and makes the leaves strong enough to hold sandwich fixin’s.
Cooked Swiss chard is delicious to serve as a side dish. Saute with your preferred plant-based butter for a side that’s similar to sauteed spinach, but more fun.
If you’re looking for something more fancy, this mushroom and swiss chard galette fits the bill!
Include chopped chard in your main dishes for a pop of great flavor and hearty nutrients. Again, it’s similar to spinach when cooked, so is great to use to make stews and curries, sweet potato hash with greens, vegan quiches, and much more!
What do you love about Swiss chard? Let me know in the comments below!