Getting your daily dose of greens is easy with this Sautéed Swiss Chard recipe! Tender ribbons of rainbow chard are cooked with garlic, a pinch of cayenne and finished with lemon for a healthy, flavorful side dish. It’s gluten-free, vegan and ready in minutes!

Bowl of sautéed swiss chard with lemon

How is the healthy eating going this month? I’m always excited to get my diet back on track in the new year. After indulging during the holidays, I enjoy eating nourishing foods more than ever!

I especially crave greens when I want something truly healthy. Massaged kale salad is a part of my daily routine, and I toss greens into recipes like white bean kale soup and chickpea curry for added flavor and a boost of nutrition.

I used to grow Swiss chard in my garden before I moved and loved incorporating it into my recipes like white bean stew, and I even made pesto sauce with it successfully.

This Sautéed Swiss Chard recipe is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it. It’s delicious on its own or is the perfect addition to any meal.

If you want to use these often underutilized greens more often, be sure to see my collection of Swiss chard recipes. It’s sure to inspire you and also provides handy information such as choosing it, storing it, as well as nutrition information!

Dutch oven with sautéed rainbow swiss chard

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Sautéed Swiss chard is tender ribbons of rainbow chard (or your favorite variety) with the flavors of garlic, a kick of heat from cayenne pepper and fresh lemon.
  • It’s a healthy side dish that comes together in minutes.
  • It’s extremely versatile! It pairs well with any main dish and is also a great addition to grain bowls.
  • It’s low carb, gluten-free, vegan!

Recipe ingredients

This rainbow chard recipe includes 5 simple ingredients, but it’s extremely versatile. You can change it up a variety of different ways depending on what you have on hand!

Sautéed swiss chard recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Swiss chard. Any variety/color of Swiss chard works well. I love using rainbow chard as this recipe incorporates the colorful stems as well. The stems add a nice texture and even more nutrition!
  • Garlic. Fresh garlic adds additional flavor, but it can be omitted to make this recipe Low FODMAP.
  • Cayenne pepper. I used cayenne pepper to spice things up. It can be substituted with a pinch of red pepper flakes, a dash of hot sauce or omit the spice altogether.
  • Lemon. I finished this dish off with a squeeze of fresh lime, which really makes the flavors pop. The lemon can be substituted with a dash of balsamic vinegar if you don’t have any lemon on hand.

How to make this recipe

There’s just a bit of prep necessary for this sautéed Swiss chard, and the entire recipe cooks up in about 10 minutes!

Pro tip: Prep the chard a few days in advance and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

Prep the rainbow chard

This recipe includes the greens and chard stems so there’s no waste whatsoever. The stems add color, texture and nutrition.

How to prep Swiss chard
  1. Wash the swiss chard leaves and blot dry. Place one of the chard leaves upside down and cut alongside both sides of the stem with a knife or kitchen shears (it’s ok to leave 1-2″ at the top as the top of the stem is much more tender). Repeat with the remaining leaves.
  2. Gather up the stems and slice.
  3. Stack the chard leaves on top of each other and cut into 1/2″ ribbons.

Sauté the chard

Once the chard is prepped, gather the other ingredients and preheat the pan.

How to make sautéed swiss chard collage
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the stems and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and pinch of cayenne pepper and cook for 30 seconds longer.
  2. Add the Swiss chard and 1 tablespoon of water to the pot and stir well. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the chard has wilted. Remove the lid and cook until the chard is nice and tender, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and stir well to combine.

Recipe FAQs

How do you cook Swiss chard so it’s not bitter?

The flavor of Swiss chard mellows once it’s cooked. Adding onions and garlic will impart a sweet flavor, or pair with salty bacon, white beans or creamy cheese to offset the bitterness. I love adding a touch of spice and squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a bright pop of flavor.

Can you overcook Swiss chard?

Like any greens, Swiss chard can be overcooked. Overcooked chard will be limp and soggy, and it will also lose its vibrant green color. Be sure to cook it just until tender and wilted.

Is Swiss chard the same as rainbow chard?

Swiss chard and rainbow chard are the same thing, but they vary in color. Swiss chard has either red or white stems, while Rainbow chard typically includes a variety of colors such as white, red, yellow, orange and pink.

What does rainbow chard taste like?

The flavor of Rainbow chard is a cross between spinach and kale, and it’s also reminiscent of beets. It’s sweet, earthly, and mildly bitter, but the sweetness intensifies once its cooked.

Wooden spoon digging into a Dutch oven filled with sautéed Swiss chard

Serving suggestions

This rainbow Swiss chard is very versatile and can be served a number of ways.

  • It’s great served with bacon egg cups or ham frittata for a low carb breakfast.
  • Combine it with onions, mushrooms or whatever veggies that you have on hand for a flavorful side dish.
  • Stir it into cooked farro or quinoa for a satisfying side dish or grain bowl.
  • It’s great served alongside spatchcock chicken, pan seared steak or any main dish!

Recipe notes

  • One bunch of Swiss or rainbow chard will yield about 4 cups of raw greens, which will cook down to about 2 cups.
  • Sautéed Swiss chard will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Omit the garlic to make this recipe Low FODMAP.
  • Recipe variations: add chopped onion, shallot or leeks to the skillet with the stems, or finish with balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice.  Top with parmesan, feta or goat cheese for flavor and creaminess, and pine nuts, walnut or almonds add a nice crunchy texture!
Sautéed swiss chard in a white bowl with a fork digging in

More vegetable side dishes you’ll love:

If you try this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and star rating below, and don’t forget to snap a photo and tag me at @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Bowl of sautéed swiss chard with lemon

Sautéed Swiss Chard

Sautéed Swiss Chard is tender ribbons of rainbow chard with the flavors of garlic, cayenne and fresh lemon. It's a flavorful, healthy side dish that's gluten-free, vegan and ready in minutes!
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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch swiss or rainbow chard
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper sub with red pepper flakes or omit
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

Prep the Swiss chard:

  • Wash the Swiss chard and blot dry. Place one of the chard leaves upside down and cut alongside both sides of the stem with a knife or kitchen shears (it's ok to leave 1-2" at the top as the top of the stem is much more tender). Repeat with the remaining leaves.
  • Slice the stems thinly and place in a bowl, then stack the chard leaves and cut into 1/2" ribbons.

Sauté the Swiss chard:

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the stems and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and pinch of cayenne pepper and cook for 30 seconds longer.
  • Add the chard ribbons and 1 tablespoon of water to the pot and stir well. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the chard has wilted. Remove the lid and cook until the chard is nice and tender, about 1 minute longer.
  • Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and stir well to combine. Adjust the seasoning as necessary, serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • One bunch of Swiss or rainbow chard will yield about 4 cups of raw greens, which will cook down to about 2 cups.
  • Sautéed Swiss chard will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Omit the garlic to make this recipe Low FODMAP.
  • Recipe variations: add chopped onion, shallot or leeks to the skillet with the stems, or finish with balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice.  Top with parmesan, feta or goat cheese for flavor and creaminess, and pine nuts, walnut or almonds add a nice crunchy texture!

Nutrition

Calories: 48kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 305mg, Potassium: 295mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 4598IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

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