Son of Grok


June 2nd, 2010

Chard has come up recently among people I follow on Twitter and last week I decided it was time to try it since people seem to like it quite a bit. It was one of those things I’ve always seen in the grocery store but had never actually seen people buy it and had never even heard people talk about eating it until just recently.  Surprisingly,  it’s become one of my favorite vegetables, almost to the point of an addiction.

Right now some of you are reading and thinking “What the heck is chard?” It’s a leafy green that looks like it could be the illegitimate child of kale and celery. I’ve seen it in red, rainbow, and green varieties. My favorite so far has been the green as I’ve tried those three within the last week. It has somewhat of a bitter taste, similar to that of spinach, and what I understand, you can cook it in all the same ways spinach is cooked.

Here’s the way I like to cook it, it’s very simple and takes no time at all. I know most of you paleo and primal people have cooked bacon today, so odds are you’ve got bacon grease still sitting in the pan or maybe stored in the fridge. Bacon makes everything better right? Chop up the chard into smaller chunks. I heat up the bacon grease in a pan, then add the entire bunch of chard with a couple of chopped up cloves of garlic. Only takes maybe 5-10 minutes for it to wilt and fully cook. When it’s done I put it in a bowl and add some butter, sea salt, & pepper.  Easy enough, right?

Do you like chard? How do you like to cook it? What is your favorite kind of chard?

-Roger De Rok

23 Responses to “Chard”

  1. rsg

    I’m scared. I hate spinach.

  2. Anna

    Actually, chard is MUCH better than spinach (spinach can have too much oxalate content for me, creating an unpleasant taste and mouthfeel). I always use chard in place of spinach.

    I’m still not wild about chard stems, but I’ve grown to like the green leaves, but not if over cooked. We get gobs of chard in our CSA box, so I’m always trying to use it up. It’s great in frittata, too. I also chop up a few leaves to add to smoothies or instead of cukes in tzatziki sauce – those raw greens are so good for our “inner garden”, aka gut flora. Consumed raw, they introduce beneficial bacteria and the soluble, fermentable fiber supports the good bacteria which populate the large intestine, breaking down into short chain fatty acids.

    Chard is a beautiful and easy plant to grow, too. It looks lovely as part of an edible landscape, so it isn’t necessary to restrict it to the veg patch. I’ve planted it in container gardens with other ornamentals, as well as in the flower bed up front, where it is often mistaken for rhubarb and gathers lots of compliments. If you keep pinching off leaves, a plant will grow for a very long season (all year in a mild So Cal climate).

  3. Adam

    *I’ve got some in the fridge right now…probably need to cook it tonight. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. McGrok

    My wife gets swiss chard, I think she gets the green kind and the kind wiht a lot of red in it at the farmer’s market. She just does garlic and olive oil. It’s fantastic, and we eat it pretty often.


  5. Dave

    I’ve found that you can really ramp up the garlic content with chard. But those stems, I like those out.

  6. Beth

    Love chard. I grow a big patch of it every year. My kids love it too, so that’s a big bonus. I normally prepare it similarly to the way you did: chop up a few slices of bacon, fry, add chopped onions and garlic and chard. Salt & pepper at the end.

  7. Kat

    I eat the stems but I cook them longer than the leaves. I basically chop it all up, saute the stems in butter until soft, then add garlic and leaves and quickly finish it up. Or you can use the stems when making broth.

  8. Darrin

    I love chard! I eat it almost every morning. Tear it up, steam for 5 min, and top with some good buttery scrambled eggs.

  9. Julie

    I LOVE Swiss Chard!! I grow tons of it in my garden and always get it at the farm stand. To cook, I separate out the tough stem from the leaves, then chop like celery. I chop an onion and sautee (usually in olive oil or bacon fat) then when they are starting to carmelize, I add the chopped stems. When it has all browned a bit (or more) I add the chopped leaves and stir until wilted. Mmmmmm. Leftovers are great scrambled with a couple eggs.

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  11. Janis

    rainbow chard is great!! so far my favorite recipe comes from called spicy swiss chard with lemon. ingredients are olive oil, chard, garlic crushed red pepper, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. very simple to make.

  12. Roger De Rok

    Hey guys, thanks for sharing your favorite methods of cooking chard. I look forward to trying your ways as soon as I get some more (just ran out!). I’m still fairly new to it and will gladly try other methods to see what’s different and better.

  13. Tony K

    This recipe for chard with mint and pistachio is brilliant.

  14. Roger De Rok

    Wow, that recipe DOES look awesome!

  15. Kathy

    I really like this “dinner-in-a-dish” recipe from Robb Wolf:

    That one with pistachios sounds amazing also. . .chard is so beautiful right now!

  16. Funkadelic Flash

    I’ve been leery about it in the past, but I’m definitely trying some chard next time I make it to the farmer’s market! Thanks, Roger. :D

  17. Aaron B.

    My family has raised chard for years, so I was surprised when I got out on my own and found that most people had never heard of it. It’s the perfect garden plant. It never bolts here in the hot Midwest where you’re lucky to get a couple weeks from your lettuce and spinach before they bolt. It can be planted as early as anything and will survive a significant amount of frost in the fall, so it has one of the longest seasons. You can just keep picking it and it will keep putting on new stalks all that time, so total production is very high. I’ve never found it to be bothered by any sort of pest or blight. It’s one of the easiest vegetables to grow.

    I tried the rainbow variety for the first time last year, and it was pretty, but seemed tougher and less flavorful than the standard green. My mom used to separate the stems from the leaves, and serve the stems chopped and boiled and covered with cheese sauce, and the leaves boiled and salted separately. That’s too much work for me; my favorite way to cook it is to chop the whole leaf cross-ways about every inch and steam it, then load it up with lots of butter. The leaves are also great anywhere you’d use spinach, like in a noodleless lasagna or added to soup.

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  19. gcb

    For me, chard is something we bought to feed our rabbits when we had pet rabbits. As such, it’s firmly in the category “what food eats”.

    And no, we didn’t eat our rabbits.

  20. Son of Grok

    Why not? I got a rabbit from the local farm store… not bad.


    Well, and what further?

  22. Richard

    I have a patch of chard that was planted last summer here in Southern Oregon. We’ve had several months of frosty nights but the chard patch is still going strong. I like to fry up a couple of strips of bacon, then reserve them aside. Drop some garlic in the bacon grease until it just starts to caramelize. Drop in a few mushrooms and when they start to soften I drop in the chard and add the bacon strips back in, torn into bits. Makes a very tasty lunch and no other spices or condiments are needed.

  23. Wenchypoo

    You’ve never sen people buy this stuff in the stores? You obviously aren’t going to the right stores–check out HEALTH FOOD STORES instead (or even farmer’s markets)! The one I go to has people buying armloads of the stuff, and we have to pre-order a week in advance on ALL our produce because of the demand.

    You don’t have to cook this—we eat it raw in salads. We also grow our own because we got tired of the chard crowd battles.

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