Sauteed Swiss Chard

Plate of sauteed Swiss chard with red stems

The big mistake people make with chard is cooking the stems and leaves together or — worse — discarding the stems altogether. As you can see in this recipe, we separate the leaves from the meaty stems, blanch them separately (the stems need to cook longer), and then saute them together quickly for the finished dish.

Lately I’ve seen something called “rainbow chard” — yellow, pink, purple — at the market. The usual red and green varieties have beauty and flavor in abundance, and I recommend you stick with those, as we do at Craft.–Tom Colicchio

Sauteed Swiss Chard

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 6
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  • 2 pounds Swiss chard
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1. Trim any discolored stems or leaves from the chard. Separate the leaves from the stems then wash both in several changes of water. Cut the stems into 2 1/2-inch pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  • 2. Blanch the leaves (plunge them into the water; remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as the water returns to a boil), refresh them in ice water, then blot dry with a clean towel.
  • 3. Add the stems and cook until they are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the stems, then refresh them in ice water. Set aside with the leaves.
  • 4. Combine the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet and warm over low heat. When the garlic begins to color add the chard leaves and stems. Warm the chard in the garlic-infused oil just until it is tender, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

Recipe Testers Reviews

My favorite part of the Swiss chard plant is the stem, and this recipe provides a great way of cooking both the leaves and stem. Two pounds of Swiss chard looks like a lot, but it cooks down a great deal. First you blanch the leaves and shock them to stop the cooking, then you boil the stems. The recipe recommends boiling the stems for three minutes, but I only boiled them one minute as they were fairly young and tender. (I used rainbow Swiss chard from my garden.) The vibrant orange, yellow, and red stems looked pretty on the plate, and the garlic added great flavor to the oil. All in all, a good method and tasty way of using this underutilized vegetable.


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