Have you ever walked by the fresh produce aisle in the grocery store or farmer’s market and been like, “WTF.  Why are there so many kinds of green, leafy things?”  Salad is salad, right?  And yet, you’ll probably recognize this familiar scene:

Photo by Daisy Dolan

Yeah, I’ve felt the same way.  To be honest, I was always a bit scared of that section of the grocery store.  I would walk by an be enchanted with the different varieties, but I really had no clue what I was looking at or how to prepare it.  Most times I just ended up getting what I knew: spinach and kale. Don’t get me wrong, I love  spinach almost as much as Popeye, but I needed to mix up my salad choice. Enter Swiss Chard.

Photo by Casey Carr

Swiss chard, often just referred to as chard, is almost in season, with its peak season being from May until August.  Chard falls into the category of cruciferous vegetables, which is just a fancy way of saying that it is super nutritious.  It has even been recognized as a superfood, loaded with all sorts of good-for-you things like antioxidants, iron, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin A.  Chard is known as the sweetest of the leafy greens, but also retains a mild, earthy taste.   So if you’re into making green smoothies, its variety of nutrients and flavor can really pack a punch.

Visually, Swiss chard is gorgeous.  Its large, green leaves can come with various stem colors that make for a striking contrast:  bright yellow, red, orange and cream.  Often times, grocers will bunch colors together in an arrangement called rainbow chard.  Talk about adding color to your dish.


1.  Separate the stem from the leaf on both sides,  cutting a “V.”

Photo by Casey Carr

2.  Chop the stems and keep them for use in other recipes.  Though many throw them out, the stems can be tasty with yogurt and make a great parmesan baked appetizer.

Photo by Casey Carr

3.  The easiest way to cut the large leaves is to bunch a handful of the greens and slice horizontally.


Photo by Casey Carr

4. Once you have the chard prepped, you can think of uses for it much like spinach:  sauté it and add to pasta, add it to a salad or roast it and add to a pizza.

Photo by Casey Carr

Moral of the story: lettuce embrace the variety we find in the grocery store and not be scared off. You now have no excuse not to.