In Praise of Swiss Chard

By Diane Rossen Worthington
Diane Rossen Worthington
Diane Rossen Worthington
Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Parties," and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at SeriouslySimple.com. Copyright 2021 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
September 29, 2021 Updated: September 29, 2021

While others sing the praises of kale, I am a big Swiss chard fan. I find it has a mild, sweeter flavor than other greens. And it’s versatile: I’ll add it to pasta, risotto, and soup, and I’ll sauté it or braise it with equally delicious results. Like spinach and other greens, it holds a lot of liquid, so it’s always good to serve it in a bowl.

Swiss chard stems are a different color than the green leaves and come in a rainbow of colors: white, red, yellow, and even pink. Don’t discard them when cooking. Not only do they add an additional layer of texture, but the stems also offer up a dash of color to your dish. It’s best to cook the stems separately, after thinly slicing them, and adding them back to the greens just before serving.

This seriously simple dish provides a colorful alternative side vegetable and can accompany most grilled or roasted entrees. I often rely on this dish as a tasty accompaniment to many meals. This easy version has the addition of rice wine vinegar to provide a slightly sweet yet tart taste. The toasted pine nuts add texture and creaminess.

Sautéed Swiss Chard With Pine Nuts and Rice Wine Vinegar

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 bunch red or white Swiss chard, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely ground pepper

Separate chard leaves from ribs. Chop red or white ribs into 1/4-inch pieces. Immerse ribs in small pan of boiling water and boil 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a nonstick skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat for a few minutes, tossing constantly, so they are evenly lightly browned. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Reserve.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add Swiss chard leaves, tossing them to evenly coat, and sauté 1 minute. Tongs are good for this. Cover the pan and steam 3 to 5 minutes over low heat. Mix in cooked ribs. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Advance Preparation: This side dish may be prepared up to four hours ahead through the step of toasting the pine nuts, and kept covered at room temperature.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Parties," and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at SeriouslySimple.com. Copyright 2021 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.