A delightfully simple sauteed chard recipe with lemon and garlic. Sauteing rainbow chard is the best way to cook it. This method keeps the vibrant red and yellow stalks bright and colorful. Making this 10-minute side dish recipe easy on the eyes and the palate.
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Swiss chard and rainbow chard are available year-round at your local grocery store but most often found fresh at farmer's markets in late summer to early autumn and again in mid-spring.
📖Why This Recipe Works
While we love all sauteed greens around here, one thing people often notice is a bitter taste. Rainbow chard is knowns for its sweeter flavor and is an excellent choice for anyone who prefers a sweeter green.
The acid in the lemon balances any bitter notes while the caramelized onion and garlic add sweet notes. This recipe is easy to make in 10 minutes. Once you have made it once, it is easy enough to make on your own without any instructions. Perfect for beginner home cooks!
This recipe is gluten-free and vegetarian.
Rainbow swiss chard is the star of the show. Look for sturdy bright color greens, about 8 to 10 inches in length.
To store your greens before cooking, wash thoroughly and pat dry. Wrap in a slightly damp towel and place in an open plastic bag. Store in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days.
For this recipe you will also need:
White Onion- Shallots make a great substitution if you have them on hand.
Lemon- Use fresh lemon, this recipe uses both the zest and the juice of one whole lemon.
Garlic- I use one clove but feel free to use more or substitute oven-roasted garlic.
Olive Oil- You can use any neutral oil like olive, avocado, or coconut oil.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Cook Rainbow Chard
This is a simple recipe you will want to make again and again. The biggest mistake people make when cooking rainbow chard is not separating the stems and the greens.
They cook at different temperatures and rates. For the best-textured dish, we are going to cook the stems first.
Step 1- Prep the Rainbow Chard
When making sauteed kale I just ripe the leaves off. But with chard, you need to be a little more delicate. Lay each leaf flat and use a large knife to make a cut on each side of the stem.
Pull out the stems and set them aside. Once you have all the leafy greens destemmed, chop the colorful stems into ½-inch to 1-inch pieces and the leafy greens into 1-inch pieces.
Step 2- Saute
The stems and onions take longer to cook. Start by heating your oil in a high-sided pan. Add your onion and stems. The goal is to soften them slightly, cooking on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
If you prefer a very sweet caramelized onion, saute it on low without the stems for 15 minutes, stirring often. Increase the heat to medium-low and add the stems.
Once the stems are softened, add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. The purpose of cooking the garlic for 30 seconds is to just take the bite out of it without burning the garlic.
Step 3- Wilt
Add the greens and use tongs to toss the greens until evenly wilted. This should only take 2 to 3 minutes.
The continuous motion of turning the greens will prevent the issue of the bottom greens from becoming overcooked and slimy.
Step 4- Season
Deglaze the pan with the juice of one lemon and stir the greens to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with lemon zest on top.
🥗What to Serve with Rainbow Chard
I love the light lemon flavor of this recipe with my favorite gluten-free chicken piccata recipe and Greek roasted potatoes. For a completely vegetarian dinner pair it with our tomato risotto.
It pairs well with hardy vegetables, like our parmesan rutabaga recipe, spicy butternut squash, or celeriac puree. You can also pair it with rice or polenta.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Use fresh, not frozen chard when sauteing. While hardy swiss chard can be frozen after blanching, frozen chard is best in soups and stews.
This recipe is best eaten immediately. However, if you do have leftovers store them in an airtight container in the fridge. The greens will last for 2 to 3 days.
To reheat I recommend sauteing in a nonstick skillet over reheating in the microwave.
More Delicious Side Dishes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Swiss chard and rainbow chard are the same plants but the rainbow variety has colorful stems that are red, white, and yellow. They can be used interchangeably in recipes.
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Sautéed Rainbow Chard with Lemon
- 8 ounces rainbow chard or swiss chard
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or other neutral oil
- ½ medium white onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced or sliced
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- kosher salt and black pepper
- De-stem greens and separate. Chop the stems into ½ in pieces and the greens into 1 inch pieces.8 ounces rainbow chard
- Warm the olive oil in a high-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and stem pieces, cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.2 tablespoon olive oil, ½ medium white onion, 1 clove garlic
- Add the green leaves, stir until wilted. About 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice, cooking 30 seconds.1 lemon
- Remove from heat, salt and pepper to taste, and serve with lemon zest on top.kosher salt and black pepper, 1 lemon
- Greens should be eaten immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days but it is not recommended as they best when fresh.
- This recipe can be used with regular swiss chard or rainbow chard.
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