Friday, October 12, 2007

What To Do With Swiss Chard: Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip Recipe and Other Ways To Cook and Enjoy My Favorite Leafy Green

Chard art

November 2011 update: I share a great new way we enjoy Swiss chard in Wondering What To Do with Swiss Chard? Favorite Recipes and Ways to Use My Favorite Garden Vegetable. Hint: we love our powerful little $50 Waring juicer!

The best Swiss chard you'll ever eat is that which you grow yourself. Find out how easy it is in my post, How To Grow Your Own Swiss Chard from Seed & Why You Should.

While there are endless things you can do in the kitchen with Swiss chard, I have to admit that every year the vast majority of what I grow gets harvested very young and tossed straight into the salad bowl. But of course I eat a lot more salad than normal people.

The flavorful baby leaves are a wonderful stand-in for spinach and can be happily combined with just about any other salad green you can think of.

When I'm lucky, I have more Swiss chard in the garden than even I can eat in salad form. This happened early last spring when two dozen overwintered plants in the greenhouse came back to life with a vengeance.

One of the things I love about Swiss chard is how amazingly big the leaves can get, but when I step inside the greenhouse and feel as if I've suddenly been transported to Jurassic Park, it starts to get a little scary. That's when it's time to whack them down and hit them with some heat, because even the most enormous leaves will shrink down to practically nothing if you cook them.

It never ceases to amaze me that a bowl of bounty nearly too big to get through the door will fit inside a teacup once you cook it. The concentrated amount of nutrients that must be contained in that teacup is mind-boggling.

You'll find bunches of Swiss chard in supermarkets year-round, but freshness and quality can vary greatly. Peak season in most areas is from June through October, though in milder climates you often can find interesting varieties of just-harvested bounty at farmers' markets from early spring until late fall or even early winter. Look for crisp stalks with shiny, unblemished leaves.

Canary Yellow Swiss Chard in the homemade greenhouse last October

Wondering what to do with your Swiss chard? You can't go wrong if you sauté it with chopped fresh garlic in some nice olive oil. And by all means, don't forget the stalks. I chop them up and cook them in the oil until they're soft, then add the coarsely chopped leaves, covering the pan for the first minute or two.

You can add a smidgen of anchovy paste to the oil to coax out flavor (it won't add a fishy taste). Throw in a handful of chopped pancetta or proscuitto, and you'll probably receive a round of applause. A sprinkling of freshly grated Pecorino Romano might be considered over the top, but only by people who haven't yet tried it.

You can use Swiss chard (and many other greens) in place of spinach in virtually any recipe. Try it in lasagna, ravioli and quiche — or even your favorite stuffing. Toss it with pasta or add thin strips to stir-fried rice during the last few minutes of cooking.

Mix chopped fresh chard or kale into pizza sauce or scatter over homemade pizza before adding the cheese. Stir sliced leaves into soups, and slip steamed greens into scrambled eggs, omelets and frittatas. You can even steam Swiss chard stalks and eat them like asparagus.

Need more inspiration? You'll find all sorts of other scrumptious ideas in the comments section of this post. Many thanks to all the In My Kitchen Garden readers who responded to my request to share their favorite ways to eat Swiss chard. And you'll find links to more of my Swiss chard recipes at the bottom of this post.

Do you have a favorite Swiss chard recipe you'd like to share?

One of my favorite ways to enjoy Swiss chard is in this dip I created last spring. This addictive stuff goes well with practically anything: crackers, tortilla chips, toasted or untoasted sourdough baguette slices, fresh veggies, pita chips, even pretzels.

Don't be afraid to think beyond the dip bowl, either—try putting it on baked potatoes or using it in an omelet. I even like it cold.

Farmgirl Susan's Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip Recipe
Makes about 3 cups

My version of the popular spinach artichoke dip is cooked on the stovetop instead of in the oven and uses chopped fresh Swiss chard leaves and stalks in place of frozen spinach, along with plenty of onion and garlic for extra flavor.

It tastes even better if you make it a day ahead and reheat it just before serving, either in the microwave or on the stovetop (you might need to add a splash of milk when reheating on the stove). You can use reduced-fat cream cheese and mayonnaise, as well as low-fat sour cream, if desired.

When I was creating the recipe, I used red Swiss chard for the initial batch, thinking the chopped stems would add nice bits of color. Instead I ended up with pink dip. It tasted great but looked like salmon spread, which might be confusing to eaters. If you're making it for yourself, go ahead and use whatever color chard you like.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 5 ounces)
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 12 ounces), leaves and stalks separated and both chopped into small pieces
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained and rinsed, chopped into small pieces
4 ounces cream cheese (half of an 8-ounce package), softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1½ cups finely grated Pecorino Romano (or parmesan) cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped scallions or chives for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and chopped Swiss chard stalks and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes; do not let garlic brown.

Stir Swiss chard leaves and chopped artichoke hearts into onion mixture. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender, about 5 minutes. (Remove lid for last few minutes of cooking if there is liquid in the pot.)

Stir cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, Romano cheese and Worcestershire sauce into Swiss chard mixture and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dip is hot and thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm, garnished with plenty of chopped scallions or chives, if desired.

Still have some Swiss chard left? You might enjoy these recipes:
Healthy Swiss Chard Tuna Salad with Scallions & Kalamata Olives
Swiss Chard Cabbage Salad with Garbanzo Beans & Cottage Cheese
Swiss Chard & Artichoke Soup

Swiss Chard & Artichoke 'White' Pizza

Can't survive on leafy greens alone? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, the chard crazy foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.


  1. that sounds amazing! i'm always trying to find ways to get more greens into my diet since i'm not a huge salad person. this could be a good one. thanks!

  2. I just knew you were going to say the word 'silverbeet' as soon as I started reading about Swiss Chard.

    For your amusement check out my blog. This is fate LOL. Have added you to my feeds for recipes I can attempt.

  3. Oh. My. God. You just used all my favorite words in one beautiful title. I can't wait to try this!

  4. I can hardly wait to try this! I grew up on a farm and my mom always planted a big row of swiss chard. She usually cooked it with a bit of bacon and sometimes a few drops of balsamic. I haven't explored chard beyond this basic use, so THANK YOU for these great ideas.

  5. Great idea for using Swiss Chard! Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Just wanted to thank you for your delicious recipe. I took it on a trip in the mountains today--it was warm at lunch time, and so good that it was worth snacking on cold on the way home at the end of the day, too.

  7. I'm a newbie in the garden arena, but Barbara Kingsolver (the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) has me
    all excited about five color silverbeet. I even gave seeds for a Christmas present, and the catalogs are my porn, lol. I will definitely try this recipe.

  8. I'm late responding to this post, but I'm just now harvesting some Swiss Chard here in SE WA state. I love to make Noodles with Greens and Gravy from the Hot, Salt, Sour,Sweet cookbook by Jeffrey Alford. Its one of my favorite cookbooks.

  9. I would have never thought to use swisschard instead of spinach. I can't wait to try it. Another great idea is to use Swiss chard leaves instead of cabbage when making stuffed Cabbage...Amazing...One of my mom's best meals:)

  10. We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)

  11. I made this dip and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing it.

  12. Hi I found this researching ideas for my abundance of garden swiss chard, I usually stuff with quinoa, goat cheese, pine nuts and raisins, an d bake for ten minutes.

  13. Love this dip! It is delicious and a great way to use Swiss chard. Since I was lazy and didn't chop the veggies very fine, I gave it a few pulses through the food processor.

  14. The dip sounds delicious, I'm going to try it. Thanks! I just came across your blog the other night and really have been enjoying your posts. I added you to my blogroll, great kitchen garden!

  15. I tried this dip, so yummy and addicting wow! My husband and I love it. The only thing I did different is used Asiago cheese instead of Romano and 1/2 cup Italian blend cheese, it was amazing! Thank you for a wonderful recipe :) I'd like to post it in my blog with your permission of course and it will be linked to your blog, please give me your name so I can write in the credit. I want to give the recipe a review! Thanks.

  16. Hi Priscilla,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. If you post it on your blog, please credit Farmgirl Susan at and include a link directly to this post. Thanks!

  17. I've never even tasted swiss chard, bought or ocooked it before. But last night I followed this recipe exactly and it is absolutely delicious. Much better than spinach artichoke dip in my opinion! I made it a day ahead and plan to reheat it tonight for my bunco girlfriends :) I'm sure it will be a hit! Thank you Farmgirl, love your blog!

  18. I just found this poast through a google search. I have so much swiss chard from my garden and didn't know what to do with it! Now I am inspired. Thanks! Can't wait to try out some of your recipes.

  19. The leaves are great for making cabbage rolls. It rolls like wet newspaper (after a quick blanching in boiling water) so you don't need toothpicks to hold them together. If you only have small leaves you can layer them to make a larger leaf and then roll. I have tried the red swisss chard leaves for cabbage rolls but prefer the green--a matter of taste.

  20. I made this dip today, and it is YUMMY!!! I found my sour cream to be past prime and so I just doubled the mayo, which worked fine. I used parm-reg for the cheese, and added a good squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking. The hubby and I are eating it on pita chips and bread as I type. Thanks, Farmgirl - this is deeelish!

  21. I'm so glad to find this. I planted four Swiss Chard plants (two red and two green) in northern Illinois and they are still stubbornly hanging on here at nearly Thanksgiving. We've been wondering what to do with them in terms of eating them, and there are lots of wonderful suggestions here.

    Beyond it all, the plants are just plain pretty to look at, especially the red stalks and veins through the leaves.

  22. Just bought swiss chard for the 1st time and had no idea what I was going to do with it!~ Can't wait to grow some myself and try all you're awesome recipes! Thanks!

  23. Made it tonight for Oscar watching and it turned out SO GOOD. Thanks for posting :)

  24. Made this dip Friday night. It was amazing and definitely better than the standard spinach artichoke dip. Since there was so much left, I used it again last night for a pasta sauce. After I sauteed some pancetta, I added some of the dip to the pan and mixed in some pasta water to "loosen" it up a bit. Killer both ways!

    1. HollyLlama,
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I love the idea of making it into a pasta sauce! Thanks for the feedback - and the delicious inspiration. :)

    2. I live in Northern Ohio, and my swiss chard continued to grow after harvest last Fall. Then froze, and is still growing. Is it good to eat now?

    3. As long as they look okay, both the older leaves and the new growth should be fine to eat. :)

  25. This sounds delicious. I love that funny almost briney tast Swiss chard has. It probably gives an extra zing to that dip.

    My mom used to make "rollups" with Swiss Chard. You make a mixture of shredded cooked meat/chicken, sauteed onions and garlic, some oregano, some cottage cheese and some grated Parm/Romano. Then you spread out the chard leaves (stalks cut off -- I throw them in soup) -- in this case the bigger the better, put a good bit of filling on it and roll it up like a cigar. Then put the rollups in a baking dish, add enough broth to come at least halfway up the rolls, and top with more grated parm/romano, cover with foil, and bake for about half an hour at 350F. Uncover toward the end to let the cheese topping crisp up a bit. It really only needs to tenderize the chard and heat up the filling.

    She got this recipe from one of the Sebastiani wives "way back when," and it was in a regular rotation at our house. We do like our greens. ;) I think she usually served it with Garlic Butter Rice (just plain rice with garlic butter and some parsley stirred in before serving) and garlic bread. We love our garlic, too. My aunt preferred it with a tomato sauce and a lot of cheese on top. However you do it, it's a good, easy recipe and most folks like it.

  26. Hi Susan! This is my first time commenting on your blog. I just made this dip for a book club meeting tomorrow night (made it a day ahead as recommended). I am really impressed! The dip is REALLY delicious. I have a lot of rainbow chard in my garden that had overwintered and is now doing gangbusters. Thanks so much, Susan, for a really delicious use for my chard. Oh, and by the way, I tried to use only the paler stems and I had no problem with the color of the dip.

  27. I planted Swiss chard for the first time and I didn't know what to expect.I also planted collard greens and some turnip greens.I picked them and washed them and I started the collards first then I added the turnips and Swiss chard greens to the pot and the smell alone was something else.I cooked the fat meat until it was very soft before I added the greens and what a treat.I also made some hot water corn bread to go along with the greens and I cut up some of my garden fresh tomatoes and the rest is history.I am going to plant more Swiss chard because they taste really good mixed with the other greens.

  28. One of my favourite ways to use up swiss chard is to use it in place of spinach in a tart. I have done a variation on a Jamie Oliver spinach and filo tart recipe here:
    Each time I make it I try different cheeses or greens. Today I'm making it with half beet greens & half rainbow chard, some feta, some ricotta, and some parmesan!


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