Add Kale and Swiss Chard

— Written By and last updated by

Make the smart choice to add kale and Swiss chard to your plate. These cooking greens have loads of versatility and are low in fat and cholesterol, as well as an excellent source of fiber.  Besides calcium, iron and vitamins A and C, these greens also supply vitamins E, K and B6, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

Cooked, boiled and drained Swiss chard contains only 35 calories per cup, 0 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and 3 grams of protein are all similar to the amounts found in both kale and collard greens.

Likewise one cup of cooked, boiled and drained kale contains 130 calories, 1 gram of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams each of sugars and protein.  Ounce for ounce, kale is a good source of fiber, with 1 cup providing 3 grams, or 10 percent of the daily value of dietary fiber.


These recipes range from the simple to something more diverse, making it easy for you to make the smart choice to add kale and Swiss chard to your plate!

Sautéed Kale

1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.

Per serving: Calories: 178; Total Fat: 11 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams; Protein: 6 grams; Total carbohydrates: 18 grams; Sugar: 0 grams Fiber: 3.5 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 336 milligram

Crispy Tuscan Kale

1 large bunch Tuscan kale
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Pinch crushed red pepper

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Remove the tough lower stems of the kale. Toss the kale generously with olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper.

Lay the dressed leaves in a single layer on a sheet tray (use more than one if you need to!) and place in the oven. Roast the kale or until the leaves are crispy, 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve as a snack or side dish.

Kale Gratin with Pancetta

1 1/4 to 1 1/3 pounds kale, stems stripped and chopped, about 6 cups
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup cream
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, eyeball it
Black pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Preheat the broiler but place the oven rack on the second shelf down from the heat source.

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a deep skillet or pot, add the kale and salt and cook 5 to 6 minutes; drain and dry the greens.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and pancetta. Crisp the pancetta and add the cream and garlic. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper then reduce 7 to 8 minutes to about 1/2 to 2/3 cup. Add cooked greens to cream and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to shallow casserole.

Toss with breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Season the crumbs with salt and pepper and combine with cheese. Place the casserole on the second shelf under broiler and brown breadcrumbs and cheese for 5 minutes.

Sautéed Swiss Chard

Olive oil, for pan
1 cup bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths, leaves cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt

Coat a large sauté pan lightly with olive oil and add the diced bacon, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Bring the pan to medium-high heat. When the garlic has turned a lovely golden brown, remove from the pan and discard. At this point the bacon should start to become brown and crispy. Add the Swiss chard stems and the stock and cook until the stock has mostly evaporated. Add the Swiss chard leaves and sauté until they are wilted.  Season with salt.

Swiss Chard and Penne Pasta

8 ounces penne, or rigatoni, cooked and drained
1/4 cup pasta cooking water
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or thinly sliced
1 pound Swiss chard, washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup red or white wine or chicken stock
1 cup crushed red tomatoes
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts (optional)
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet heat the oil and stir in the onion. Cook for 2 minutes and stir in the garlic. Add the chopped Swiss chard and toss to coat. Pour in the wine or stock and stir to coat. When the chard begins to wilt, stir in the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and pine nuts. Bring to a simmer and stir in the reserved pasta cooking water. Remember: Do Not over cook the chard. It is ready to serve just after it has wilted. Immediately add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Healthy Creamed Swiss Chard
1 large bunch rainbow Swiss chard, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
6 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped toasted pine nuts

Combine the Swiss chard, onions and 1/2 cup water in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over high heat; lower the heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the chard is very tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, nutmeg and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking frequently, until the cheese melts and the mixture just bubbles around the edges. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chard to the pan with the cheese mixture (leave any excess liquid in the pot). Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the pine nuts.

You can also substitute kale or collards in this recipe.  Be sure to cook the greens until they are tender.