Swiss Chard Has a Secret To Tell You

July 9th, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Vegetable Lovin'

Swiss chard is your friend.

Swiss Chard

Hi, friend!

(That’s not the secret.)

Actually, Swiss chard has TWO secrets to tell you.  One for now, one for later.


Swiss chard is super easy to grow.

No, really. You throw the seeds in the ground, water them if you think of it, spit on them even! Walk away and BAM!  Swiss chard.

Swiss Chard Growing in Your Garden

Remember that secret for next spring. I’ll probably remind you, so don’t worry.

The other secret – the one you can use right now – is that Swiss chard is just like kale in salad.

Swiss Chard in Salad

“Just like kale” in the sense that with a little bit of fat (think avocado or oil) and a little bit of time (think 5 – 10 minutes), it softens up nicely and makes the perfect salad green.

Seriously, Swiss Chard?  That’s your secret?  Thanks for getting my hopes up that it was going to be something juicy.

But wait!  This is juicy!

You see, Swiss Chard and I got to talking about that whole Bok Choy/Old Lady Eating 2 Pounds a Day debacle, and as Nic pointed out in her comment on that post,

It’s good to rotate your greens!

Victoria Boutenko explains it nicely in Green Smoothie Revolution that the leaves of plants contain trace alkaloids.  Alkaloids can be poisonous in large quantities.  (Hello, Bok Choy Lady.)  In small, normal quantities, alkaloids are no big deal.  In fact, alkaloids are part of what makes greens so awesome because they can do great things for your immune system.

But if you eat, juice or blend a lot of greens day after day and use the same greens for weeks on end?  The alkaloid of that particular green can build up in your body and can lead to symptoms of poisoning.

Now don’t freak out and suddenly stop eating salads because you’re afraid you’re going to get poisoned!  I eat greens every day and have lived to tell this heroic tale.

Just let this alkaloid factoid be a good reason to try out new greens!  Greens you might not have otherwise tried/have forced on you because you signed up for CSA boot camp/grown in your garden because you spit on your Swiss chard seeds and they just happened to grow.

(Be warned that chard tends to be a bit bitter when compared to other salad greens, which is easier for seasoned green veterans than green newbies… you may want to consider adding it in as part of a green salad mix.)

So now you know Swiss chard is a great one to try in salad,

Swiss Chard in Tossed Salad

because Swiss chard is your friend.

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4 Responses

  • And swiss chard is super pretty, too! :-)

  • What a timely post. Swiss chard is just starting to appear at my CSA and I’m trying to find ways to eat and enjoy it. Quite honestly, after last year’s CSA, which gave us swiss chard for weeks on end, I’m not super excited about seeing it again. I LOVE greens and can eat my weight in spinach, kale, lettuce and most other dark, leafy greens. But, for some reason, I haven’t been feeling the love for swiss chard this year. I think I’m going to try making a salad with it and see if my love can be rekindled.

    • Alison says:

      Hey Willow – we’re getting tons of it right now as well. I’m loving it at the moment, but I know I won’t be sorry to see it go by the end of the season!

  • Hey thanks for mentioning me! :) Sorry for the late comment, it’s been busy around here.

    I was getting lots of Swiss chard when I was getting my produce delivered weekly (kinda like a CSA, except it was from several farms, and I could control it just a bit, by saying I really didn’t want some item and subbing it for another item offered that week) when I lived in the DC area. I haven’t signed up for anything now that we live in California.

    Anyway, I like putting it in a soup, like minestrone, I even use the stem. I treated the stem like celery and the leaves I would put in the soup last. Just thought I’d throw that idea out there. :)