Rainbow chard salad. It’s for those times when you find yourself staring down a garden glut of chard (or perhaps you got a little carried away at the farmer’s market) and are running out of ideas for how to put it all to good use. The combination of cooked chard, creamy dressing, and candied walnuts is so ridiculously delicious, you’ll instantly remember why you enthusiastically planted (or bought) so much in the first place.Angie Zoobkoff

Rainbow Chard Salad FAQs

What is Swiss chard?

Swiss chard is a dark leafy green that is part of the beet family. It has an earthy flavor, and both the stems and leaves can be eaten in raw or cooked form. Swiss chard can be grown with only white stalks, or the more colorful rainbow variety.

What else can I make with Swiss chard?

You can use Swiss chard in many of the same ways you would use spinach or kale. It’s wonderful cooked into cheesy, creamy tarts, served alongside classic French roast chicken, or simply tossed with olive oil and salt and oven-roasted.

A round blue plate topped with rainbow chard salad, candied nuts, and creamy dressing.

Rainbow Chard Salad

5 from 1 vote
This rainbow Swiss chard salad is, quite truly, a rainbow on a plate. Colorful and super tasty, not only is it pretty healthy but it also just begs to be eaten.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories400 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


For the rainbow chard salad

  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound tender young rainbow chard, stems cut into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths and leaves left whole
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 ounces chèvre, feta cheese, or Roquefort (optional)
  • Radish sprouts or chervil sprigs or microgreens, for garnish (optional)

For the dressing

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 garlic clove, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Prep the rainbow chard salad

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and have a large rimmed baking sheet nearby. Add the chard stems to the boiling water and cook until almost tender but still a touch crisp, up to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stems. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chard stems to the baking sheet.
  • Add the chard leaves to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until just barely wilted, 30 to 60 seconds. (If you find it difficult to fit all the leaves into the pot, you can do this in a couple batches.) Transfer the cooked leaves to a large colander, drain, and then lightly press out any water with paper towels. Spread the chard on the prepared baking sheet, pat dry again, and let cool completely. (You can keep the chard at room temperature for up to 4 hours.)
  • Line a small plate with a piece of parchment paper. In a small skillet set over medium-high heat, stir the walnuts with the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts have caramelized and all the liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to the parchment-lined plate to cool, spreading them in a single layer. Very coarsely chop the nuts. (You can keep the candied walnuts in a resealable container at room temperature for up to 5 days.)

Make the dressing

  • In a mini food processor or with an immersion blender, puree the egg yolk with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Gradually blend in the grapeseed and olive oils until thick. (You can cover and refrigerate the dressing for up to 4 hours. Shake or whisk the dressing to recombine before using.)

Assemble the rainbow chard salad

  • Arrange the chard leaves and stems on plates and dribble the vinaigrette over the top. Garnish with the candied walnuts, and, if using, the cheese and radish sprouts or chervil sprigs or microgreens. Pass the remaining vinaigrette separately. (You can prep the chard and dressing in advance but keep all the components separate until just before serving.)
Bistronomy Cookbook

Adapted From


Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 400 kcalCarbohydrates: 14 gProtein: 8 gFat: 37 gSaturated Fat: 7 gMonounsaturated Fat: 12 gCholesterol: 65 mgSodium: 529 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 8 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Jane Sigal. Photo © 2015 Fredrika Stjarne. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Wow. Simply fantastic. What a treat to be able to use the last of my garden Swiss chard for this beautiful dish. The dressing and walnuts really brought the whole dish together, and the overall flavor and presentation of the rainbow chard salad were wonderful.

The flavors of the distinct parts of this rainbow chard salad—the greens, the stems, the dressing, and the walnuts—all combine for a very nice and satisfying salad. You might want to make some minor adjustments to keep the stems a little firm, so no more than 3 minutes, and barely wilt the leaves, then drain and dry them as carefully and gently as you can. The recipe easily scales down to be perfect for 2 people but go ahead and make the full recipe of dressing and candied walnuts so you can have them for another salad the next day or for use with other vegetables.

When making the walnuts, it’s very easy to go from caramelized and candied to burnt on the walnuts—my first batch got away from me and I started over using a lower heat and watching the walnuts like a hawk.

Since my food processor is large, it made much more sense (and less mess) to do the dressing using an immersion blender—I think I will be using that in place of a blender from now on for sauces and mayonnaise.

A dusting of microgreens (radish and broccoli sprouts) and some Pt. Reyes Farmhouse blue cheese and we had a completely new salad experience. I really think this is the kind of salad you want to make a dramatic presentation with, whether on a large platter for a dinner party or plated on large dinner plates so it can show off the colors and not be crowded. I used large shallow bowls but wished I had more space.

The dressing was still lovely the next day on cooked vegetables. With just a little planning, this is an easy weeknight salad but shows off for entertaining. The steps are simple although they do require your brief attention. The dressing comes together very quickly and the candied nuts cool down quickly so you can break them up or chop.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Egg Salad Without Mayo

Don’t let those leftover Easter eggs go to waste. This easy egg salad with caramelized onions is so lovely, you won’t even notice that there’s no mayo.

45 mins

Apple and Celery Salad

A simple and elegant salad that brightens up whatever you serve it alongside. Crisp, tangy, and refreshing, it’s a perfect accompaniment.

15 mins

Tangy Apple Slaw

This sweet and tangy apple slaw, made with crunchy cabbage and tart apples, is going to be a cookout staple all summer long.

20 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating