Soil to Boil: Swiss Chard

When it comes to these low-maintenance greens, we can't leaf well enough alone.
Swiss chard with smoked bacon from the 21 Club in New York City.

Swiss chard with smoked bacon from the 21 Club in New York City.

Photo by: Image courtesy of the 21 Club

Image courtesy of the 21 Club

Swiss chard with bacon makes a vibrant, vitamin-packed side dish.

Nicknamed "perpetual spinach" for its hardiness and long growing season, Swiss chard prefers cooler temperatures. Despite its name, this native of the Mediterranean tastes best when harvested before the leaves get too long. 

One of the healthiest greens in the garden, Swiss chard is full of vitamins A, C and E, and one cooked cup contains a whopping 300 percent of your daily value for vitamin K. 

To balance out all that healthiness, John Greeley, executive chef of the legendary 21 Club in midtown Manhattan, pairs his stems and leaves with a few slices of salty smoked bacon. 

Swiss Chard with Bacon

Serves 4

  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, washed in cold water
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • ½ cup onion, diced small
  • 4 slices bacon, thick-cut and smoked
  • Chives, sliced for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Tear the chard leaves off the stem by hand. Slice the stems on a bias to ½-inch thick and cut the leaves in large pieces. Place water in pot and set to medium-high until boiling. Add salt to water. 

Blanch the chard stems in boiling water for 2 minutes and add leaves for 30 seconds. Drain chard from water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain on a paper towel. 

Saute bacon in a frying pan until crispy, remove and lower heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, then add red pepper flakes. Add the chard and warm through, add bacon and taste. Adjust seasoning with salt if necessary and finish with sliced chives. 

Next Up

Pickled Swiss Chard Stems

These colorful “kitchen scraps” get a second look in a sweet and spicy recipe.

How to Grow a Chard Container Garden

A large pot filled with the glossy green leaves and neon-colored stems of chard  will add color to any patio.

How to Make Mustard From Mustard Greens

This homemade condiment recipe puts a frost-beating crop to tasty use.

Garden to Table: Kale

Loaded with nutrients, including beta carotene and vitamin C, kale is good…and good for you.

How to Sow and Plant Designer Leaves

Add a dash of style to your containers and dishes by growing a selection of gourmet leaf crops.

Spinach and Purple Kale Pizza

Mix these great greens for a real slice of heaven.

How to Grow Loose Leaf Crops in a Container Garden

Learn how to easily grow loose leaf greens at home with this simple step-by-step guide for container gardening.

Comforting Casseroles

Two oven-to-table recipes using cool-weather crops.

Kale Salad Recipe

The Asheville farm to table restaurant Posana makes a Manchego kale salad that inspires great swooning devotion from its regulars.

Cooking the CSA: Collard Greens

Beat the bitter with a recipe for this cool weather crop.