Rainbow swiss chard is aptly named. It’s a cheerful tri-color variety of swiss chard, and the number of nutrients and vitamins it contains is kind of magical (Vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, magnesium, just to name a few). It also gets more vibrant and colorful when you cook it lightly.
Swiss chard is an excellent choice for a mixed-vegetable stir-fry, but you can also keep things simple and just sauté it with garlic and olive oil. I like to pair it with savory vegetarian sausage, a pinch of chili pepper flakes, and a dash of fresh lemon. If you’ve never cooked swiss chard before, you might be surprised by how much it cooks down, so plan on serving this as a side dish.
Note: Vegetarian sausages are listed as a “nice addition” on the Vinegar Home Kitchen Staples Checklist because they’re a simple, versatile protein to have on hand, and they freeze great. My favorite variety when I can find them is Field Roast’s Caramelized Onion & Beer.
Because vegetarian sausages are nice with a little crispy crunch, I cook them separately and add them at the end. You can do this in a separate skillet while you sauté the chard or cook them first and set them aside.
Swiss chard has an earthy taste, similar to spinach, and has a slightly bitter “bite.” If your sausage is a spicy flavor, consider skipping the chili pepper flakes.
Both the stalks and the leaves of swiss chard are edible. The stalks will take a little longer to cook than the leaves, so you’ll add those a few minutes before the leaves, giving them a little head start.
How long you cook everything and whether you use a lid toward the end or not will depend on how tender you want the chard. I prefer to keep a little crunch in both the leaves and the stalk, so I don’t tend to use a lid.
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of swiss chard (enough to fill a 12” skillet)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
small pinch of chili pepper flakes (optional)
dash of fresh lemon (optional)
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
¼-½ cup water (optional)
1 vegetarian sausage
Wash the swiss chard and give it a shake. Leaving it a little damp will help it steam when you cook it.
Trim the ends and discard, then cut the thick stalks away from the leaves. Chop the stalks in 1” pieces.
Roughly chop the swiss chard into manageable pieces (approx 2”).
Peel and mince the garlic.
Cook the sausage:
Add a touch of oil to a heavy bottom skillet, spreading the oil out with a spatula. Heat to medium-high.
Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn frequently.
Sauté the swiss chard:
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add diced garlic and chili pepper flakes (if using) and heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously. Be careful not to burn.
Add the stalks, turn heat to medium-high and sauté for 1-3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the leaves and saute for 1-3 minutes, stirring often.
If you want the chard to soften more, add a bit of water and cover with a lid.
Cook until the chard is as soft as you like it.
Combine and finish:
Dice the sausage and add to the cooked chard.
Add a dash of fresh lemon (if using) and salt and pepper to taste. Serve promptly.