Swiss Chard Basics + 3 Easy Recipes to Get You Started
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You’ve been to the farm stand and picked up a new-to-you veggie, Swiss chard, and are excited to get to cooking new things and eating seasonally!!
But you have no idea what it is or what to do with it!
At home, you’re looking at this weird vegetable and thinking “I can’t do this.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS!
You are not alone!
Let’s dive into some of the basics about Swiss chard.
What is Swiss Chard?
Swiss chard is a leafy green that is part of the Amaranthaceae family, which includes other veggies like beets and amaranth.
It comes in many colors, is beautiful, and is super eye-catching. We LOVE the rainbow Swiss chard because it has neon pinks, yellows, oranges, and reds.
What Does it Taste Like and Can I Eat it Raw?
It has a mineral taste that is in between spinach and kale. The structure is sturdier than spinach but easier to chew than kale.
I don’t find it too bitter to eat. I have DEFINITELY had worse. If you find it bitter, try cooking it! The cooking process helps to alleviate that bitterness.
Chard can be eaten raw!! I’ll give you a nice recipe for a raw salad wrap soon!
The leafy greens don’t take much time to cook, no longer than 5 minutes. The stems do take longer to cook, so if you’re going to eat those, chop them up and add them into your dish about 3-5 minutes before adding in the greens.
You can also use chard as a substitute for other veggies, such as spinach, collards, or kale. So try mixing it up a bit with your favorite recipes.
Download our Vegetable Storage Guide to get tips/tricks on how to store your Swiss chard to keep it fresh longer!!
Is Swiss Chard Good For You or is it Toxic?
According to Healthline.com, here is a list of all the nutritional benefits of Swiss chard.
- Calories: 35
- Protein: 3.3 grams
- Carbs: 7 grams
- Fiber: 3.7 grams
- Vitamin A: 214% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Calcium: 10% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 53% of the RDI
- Copper: 14% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 17% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 38% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 716% of the RDI
- Manganese: 29% of the RDI
- Iron: 22% of the RDI
- Potassium: 27% of the RDI
So why would people think Swiss chard could be toxic?
Well…it’s not that it’s “toxic.” It’s that it is high in oxalates, which for a normal level of health is totally fine, but if you’re in poor health it can be challenging.
Let me explain…
According to WebMD, Swiss chard, along with quite a few other vegetables (2.), contains a higher level of oxalates. Oxalates bind with calcium, which decreases the body’s ability to absorb the calcium. This can potentially lead to kidney stones.
Before she passed, my mother-in-law had no kidney function and was on the kidney transplant list for the second time. Her doctors would tell me she couldn’t eat a lot of vegetables; that they were not good for her.
What?? Who says vegetables are not good for you??
I didn’t understand why she couldn’t have something that is healthy and meant for the body…but this is why. Her body was so riddled with disease that it could no longer absorb the calcium. It actually caused her to have calcium deposits come out of the pores on her legs. Eating veggies that are higher in oxalates would just exacerbate the situation. She needed more man-made ingredients to be able to control what minerals, vitamins, etc that were going into her body.
The official binding process of calcium and oxalates happens in the gut and if the gut is disrupted, it can have a negative effect on this whole process.
If you are trying to regain gut or kidney health, a safe way to eat these types of veggies is to boil them, which will decrease that oxalate content by up to 90%.
Or you can stick with veggies that are high in calcium and low in oxalates like broccoli or bok choy.
Most vegetables have a combination of oxalates and calcium. It is natural. For most people, your body knows how to handle this, getting the nutrients it needs and discarding the ones it doesn’t. DON’T avoid these vegetables because of this binding process. It can be detrimental for you because you NEED all the other nutrients as well!
3 Recipes to Get You Started:
1. One-Pot Swiss Chard Soup
One of our customers gave me this awesome recipe for a One-Pot Swiss Chard Soup. It’s delicious and great for cold winter days!
2. Make a wrap.
The leaves are so big they make an excellent salad wrap! We like to add rice, chopped up mushrooms, shredded carrots, onion, and romaine, then drizzle with a little bit of Coconut aminos (It’s a healthier alternative to soy sauce and super tasty!).
3. Pasta with Garlicky Chard
Who doesn’t love pasta! Check out this delicious dish by Veggies Save the Day!
Swiss chard is awesome! Another great leafy vegetable to add to the collection when you’ve had just too much kale!
Make sure to stay healthy so you can enjoy all the benefits this veggie has to offer!!
Thank you, I love learning. Trying to eat healthy!
You are so very welcome Stephani!