Don’t sleep on Swiss chard recipes. The mild, oft-overlooked green, including vibrantly hued rainbow chard, is as versatile as any other hearty green. Perhaps more so. Often, kale stems must be removed and cooked separately from the leaves—sometimes they’re wholly discarded. Chard stems? You could remove them, but they’re also happy to stay intact with the Swiss chard leaves and can provide a range of textures, from a celery-like crunch to a silky tender bite, depending on how you cook them. You can use chard anywhere that calls for mature spinach (try creamed chard, and you’ll wonder who paid for spinach’s advertising campaign), but the recipes below were developed with the titular hearty green in mind.
When shopping, choose bunches with deep-green leaves and firm, juicy stems (which may be beet-red, lemon-yellow, white, or green, depending on variety), and no brown or soft spots. Baby chard is harvested when young; the small leaves frequently appear in salad mixes and are best eaten raw. More often, you’ll find larger leaves with thick stalks best suited for sautéing, steaming, or pickling. To store, wrap fresh chard loosely in a damp paper towel and place in an unsealed bag (to allow for air circulation) in your crisper drawer, and use it within a week.