A simple swiss chard pasta recipe made with orecchiette, Parmesan and fresh Lemon makes for a light and quick weeknight dinner.
When we moved into our house last year, I had a goal, a dream, if you wish to start a vegetable garden. (PS. I’m always sharing garden stories on my Instagram), Now I was, and am new to gardening so we started small. A simple raised bed and easy to grow vegetables to learn from, such as red lead lettuce, kale and rainbow chard.
Well, my friends, my rainbow chard plant is booming! The leaves are big, the stems vibrant hot pink and yellow and we can’t harvest enough of it, since it is growing so abundantly.
Aren’t those colors just stunning? So alas, I have been finding ways to use these gorgeous leaves of rainbow chard in various recipes. Today, we have a simple pasta recipe with Swiss chard, bright lemon zest and of course, loads of Parmesan cheese. Orecchiette with Swiss chard will be the summer dinner staple as it’s quick to prepare, savory and bright and perfect for summer dinners. Plus, there’s an egg on top, so there’s that.
How to use Swiss chard in recipes?
Rainbow chard and Swiss chard are quite similar besides their colorful differences. Swiss chard has tender leaves that you could use the same way you would use spinach. The stalks are pretty tender as well, and once chopped up, Swiss chard can be sauteed and added to recipes such as my mini potato and chard knishes or chopped up and left raw in a rainbow chard salad. And the leaves would be perfect in chard and garlic scape pesto as well!
Also would like to mention that Swiss chard, like other leafy greens, cooks down to almost nothing. So a large bunch of raw chard will yield half the amount, so just keep that in mind.
Can you eat the stems of Rainbow Chard?
Yes! chard stems are lovely and tender. You can eat chard stems raw or cooked, but I personally prefer them sauteed with a bit of olive oil, garlic and salt. Just chop the stems up into 1/2 inch pieces and add them to your recipes. The colors should keep well, making for an eye catching dish.
What Recipes can I add Swiss Chard to?
Substitute Swiss chard leaves for grape leaves in my Grape Leaves Recipe
Add chopped Swiss chard and chard stems to vegetarian pasta fagioli for added greens.
Stuff chard and ricotta in a calzone or on top of breakfast pizza
- 6-8 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta or other small shaped pasta
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water if needed for sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 large bunch of rainbow chard stems chopped and leaves roughly chopped
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 eggs or 1 per person
- Begin by boiling a salted pot of water and cook pasta according to directions. While pasta cooks, make the rest of the dish.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 1-2 minutes until garlic begins to lightly change in color.
- Next add the chard stems and cook for another minute. Then add the chard leaves and toss to combine and cook until wilted. You may have to add the leaves in batches but it will all cook down.
- Season with salt and adjust seasoning if needed. Then add in the cooked pasta and toss with grated Parmesan and lemon zest and add a bit of pasta water if it looks too dry or an extra drizzle of olive oil.
- Put aside pasta and cook eggs. In a small nonstick skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil and carefully crack the egg in the pan.