Steamed Swiss chard with garlic and olive oil, probably the simplest way of cooking chard. A delicious, aromatic side dish that makes the most of these beautiful greens.
Loaded with vitamins, heartier and sturdier than spinach, earthy and satisfying in flavor, Swiss chard or rainbow chard can be steamed, sauteed, boiled, and even roasted. My favorite recipe is steamed Swiss chard.
What is Swiss chard?
A leafy vegetable related to beets. It is also known as silver beet, perpetual spinach, or beet spinach. It has large, green leaves and long red or green stems. Chard grows easily and harvesting is kind of a continual process, you will be able to harvest two or three crops each season.
Is there a difference between chard, Swiss and rainbow chard?
Not that I know of, they are all the same, the rainbow one has prettier colors.
How to prepare Swiss Chard?
As mentioned above, there are many ways of cooking Swiss chard, steaming, sauteing or boiling being are just the simplest ways of cooking the plant.
You can also add chard (cooked or uncooked) to salads, you can make pasta or lasagna, you can add it to risotto, soups or stews.
Or you can use the large leaves to make rolls, either filled with meat or vegetarian.
How to clean?
- Cleaning it properly is an important step, dirt will find its ways not only on the stem but also on the leaves.
- Wash each piece individually under running water, making sure to get into the crannies of the stem, they are always full of dirt.
- Also, wash the leaves one at a time concentrating on their lower part, that’s where they are often plastered with dried soil.
- If the chard is particularly dirty, you could also soak it in cold water for about 10 minutes. After that wash them well in the soaking water and rinse them very well under running water.
- If the greens need to be dry for your recipe, pat them dry with clean kitchen towels.
- However, if you are steaming the chard, you will not need to dry it, just chop it and add it to the pot without drying.
How to steam?
Steaming Swiss chard is fast, easy and delicious.
- Clean the greens very well. Place it in a colander and shake once, but don’t let it drain for long or dry it.
- Cut the stems into 2 cm/ 0.8 inch slices and the leaves into 3-4 cm/ 1.2-1.6 inches slices.
- Many recipes would start cooking the stems before adding the leaves. I never do that when steaming or sauteing chard, I like the slight difference of texture between the slightly crunchy stems and the soft leaves.
- Heat the olive oil in a very large pan. The greens will need a lot of space at first, but they will cook down after a few minutes.
- Add the garlic slices and the chili (if using). Stir them very briefly and continuously, the garlic should only begin to get golden.
- Add the wet greens, one tablespoon lemon juice, stir well but quickly, and put the lid on.
How long to steam?
Steam the Swiss chard for about 8 minutes with the lid on, the stems should be tender but not completely soft. Remove the lid, stir again, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the greens are done to your liking.
How to serve?
The steamed chard is best served immediately.
Don’t forget to adjust the taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Extra lemon juice is crucial, if you ask me, it really uplifts the warty flavor of these greens.
You can also add more chili, if you like.
The greens can be served as side dish with chicken, fish or pretty much anything you like.
You can also mix them with pasta or serve over rice, Bulgar or couscous.
More green side dishes:
Steamed Swiss Chard
- 1 lb Swiss chard 500 g
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes optional (more or less to taste)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- Clean the Swiss chard very thoroughly but don't dry it (Note).
- Cut the stems into 2 cm/ 0.8 inch pieces and the leaves into 3-4 cm/ 1.2-1.6 inches slices. Thinly slice the garlic.
- Saute garlic: Heat the olive oil in a very large pot. Add the garlic slices and the chili flakes (if using). Stir them very briefly and continuously, the garlic should only begin to get golden, it will not need any longer than 30-40 seconds.
- Steam chard: Add the wet greens, one tablespoon lemon juice, stir well but quickly and place the lid on the pot. Steam for about 8 minutes, the stems should be tender but not completely soft.
- Remove the lid, stir well, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the chard is done to your liking.
- Adjust the taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice. I always add extra lemon juice, it really uplifts the earthy flavors. Serve immediately.