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swiss chard substitute (13 Best options)


If you are looking for a swiss chard substitute, there are a few options that you can consider. You already know that green, leafy vegetables are healthy; plus, they’re a great addition to almost any recipe. One of the popular green and leafy vegetables today is Swiss chard.

Although Swiss chard is known as a cool-season leafy green, some people may have difficulty finding it. Despite its availability all year round, it’s important to note that swiss chard is best from July to November. We have listed some of the best swiss chard substitutes in this post that will complete your recipe.

table top with swiss chard

What is Swiss Chard?

Swiss chard originated from the Mediterranean island; it’s a darker, leafy green vegetable with stems that vary from white to green to red, yellow, and orange.

Chards have long, thick, glossy leaves with a crispy texture. A single serving of swiss chard contains adequate levels of vitamins A, K, C, E, manganese, magnesium, iron, and potassium.  

Swiss chards leaves have a bitter taste but once they are cooked the taste gets milder and sweeter. Often the leaf is removed before cooking since the stalks are also edible. You can use swiss chard the same ways you would use many leafy greens from your garden similar to beet greens, spinach, and kale.

You might find it a bit confusing because swiss chard is also referred to as silverbeet, beet spinach, seakale beet, and leaf beet.

What Does Swiss Chard Taste like?

When it comes to its taste, it has a sweet taste that is similar to spinach, which is why chard is used in many similar recipes.  You can use it in soups, sauces, and pasta.

When eaten raw, Swiss chard has a slightly bitter taste. However, the bitterness dissipates once cooked, turning into a mild, sweet taste.

What are the Substitutes for Swiss Chard?

While Swiss chard is awesome, it’s not the only leafy vegetable that is nutritious and delicious; Spinach, collards, and kale all make great substitutes for Swiss chard. If you can’t find any of them in your grocery store, you can check our black kale or arugula instead. Although these dark leafy greens are less common, they make a tasty alternative to Swiss chard.

So, let’s dive deeper into some of the best Swiss chard substitutes you can use today:

1. Spinach

Spinach is probably the most commonly used Swiss chard substitute since they both have similar tastes and textures. What makes Swiss chard a bit different is that it has more vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C. Additionally, it’s easier to find spinach and is cheaper.

Substituting Swiss chard for spinach should work in any recipe. Mature spinach makes even a better replacement since it offers a mild taste, crispy texture, and a dark green color.

Baby spinach is a good choice for cooked dishes, but mature spinach that has been cut into ribbons can be used for raw salads and other dishes.

2. Collard Greens

Collard Greens can be used to replace Swiss chard and they’re available all year round. They are a great source of vitamins A, K, C, and B. If you need to increase your calcium intake, you will highly benefit from collard greens as a substitute for Swiss chard because of their high calcium levels.

Collard greens are a bit bitter with a nutty flavor, but they’re still delicious when you mix them with other flavors. In fact, many people like to cook them with ham hocks or bacon to give them more flavor.

When substituting collards for Swiss chard in recipes, you can use 2 ½ pounds of collards if you need two pounds of Swiss chard.

3. Mustard Greens

Mustard Greens are another great alternative to Swiss chard. They have a stronger flavor, so you may want to use less of their amount in a dish if you’re using them instead.

Mustard greens are red and green and are sometimes referred to as curly mustard, curled mustard, leaf mustard, mustard spinach, or Indian mustard. Compared to Swiss chard, mustard greens have thicker leaves.

Take note of the slight peppery taste of mustard greens; they are great in soups, stir-fries, or cooked with other vegetables. When cooking, make sure to remove the stems and tough veins from the leaves. If you find its bitterness a bit too strong, blanch them in saltwater first.

4. Arugula

If you don’t mind splurging a bit more money for this Swiss chard alternative, then arugula may be a great choice. The vegetable is referred to as rocket or roquette. It’s available year-round and has a peppery, bitter flavor that is also reminiscent of mustard greens.

Arugula is mostly used in salads, but it can be cooked by braising or wilting it for a few minutes. You can tone down its flavor by marinating it in an acidic mixture of oil and lemon juice.

Additionally, it’s a good source of vitamins, K, A, B, and C. When substituting arugula for Swiss chard, you can use about 2 ½ pounds or arugula if you need 2 pounds of Swiss chard.

5. Lettuce

Another great substitute for Swiss chard is lettuce, specifically if you’re making a salad. What makes it even greater is that it’s more affordable than Swiss chard and spinach.

However, there’s a bit of compromise here, though. As it is more affordable, it comes with fewer vitamins and nutrients. That’s why if you’re planning to use lettuce as a substitute for Swiss chard, don’t expect to get the same nutrition.

6. Black Kale

Also known as Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale, black kale is similar in taste and texture to collard greens. Black kale has strong flavors with a crispy texture.

It is a good source of vitamins C, A, and K, as well as calcium and iron. It is sometimes hard to find black kale at regular grocery stores, but you can usually find it in farmer’s markets or co-ops.

7. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is another substitute for Swiss chard. With its dark leaves, it looks similar to Swiss chard, and it has a similar texture and taste but with a much stronger flavor. Rhubarb contains oxalic acid, which is also found in spinach.

Usually, rhubarb is cooked with sugar to balance out its sourness. Some add honey to make it less bitter as well. You can use rhubarb in stews, roast it or add it to every recipe that requires Swiss chard.

8. Beet Greens

The beautiful leaves of beet greens make them another great alternative for Swiss chard. Although beet greens have smaller leaves, they’ll still work well with almost every recipe that calls for Swiss chard.

Usually, the leaves of beet greens are used to add a creamy and nutty flavor to the dish. Beet greens are often used in stir-fries or eaten as a side dish with the main course for that added flavor.

9. Bok Choy

Bok Choy is common in Chinese cuisines, but it’s a great alternative for Swiss chard as well. It contains crispy and nutty flavors that will add flavor to various recipes.

Bok Choy contains more vitamins A and C than Swiss chard. It is a good source of vitamin K. If you’re using bok choy in a story fry, sauté it with other ingredients and cook it quickly. You can also add bok choy to soups or stews. Finally, you can use bok choy in raw salads and sandwiches.

10. Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens are a great alternative to Swiss chard. However, they are not always readily available. If ever you do find it in your local grocery store or farmer’s market, give it a shot because you certainly won’t regret it.

Dandelion greens contain a mild bitterness flavor when you eat the stems. On the other hand, the leaves are more bitter.

If you’re replacing Swiss chard in a recipe and you’re thinking of using dandelion greens, make sure they’re harvested before flowering. Otherwise, when the dandelion greens are harvested after flowering, it could ruin their texture and the bitterness will be more intense.

Along with the other leafy greens on this list, dandelion greens contain essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, K, magnesium, and folate.

11. Kale

Kale is a popular superfood and is one of the healthiest additions to any diet. Why? It is known for its high nutrient substitutions for Swiss chard. Kale contains high levels of vitamins A, K, B6, and C. Plus, it has a lot of essential minerals.

12. Broccoli

Broccoli is a very common vegetable and also one of the healthiest Swiss chard substitutes you can use today. The broccoli leaves are large with green clusters, while its taste is bitter, earthy, and grassy. If your stew, salad, soup, or other recipe calls for Swiss chard and you don’t have it, you can use broccoli instead.

13. Cabbage

Cabbage is could be a good alternative for Swiss chard. It is very common, so you won’t have a hard time finding one. Eat it raw and cooked, depending on your recipe. Moreover, there are a few varieties of cabbage, in which the taste may differ.

How to Choose the Best Swiss Chard Substitute?

When choosing a Swiss chard substitute, think about whether or not you need to use raw leaves or need them for cooking. The texture, flavor, and nutrient content will vary from vegetable to vegetable; therefore, you need to pay attention to the differences.

Keep in mind that the more mature a vegetable is, the less it will taste like Swiss chard. If you’re substituting Swiss chard for a recipe that calls for an entire bunch of Swiss chard, you will probably want to double the amount of Swiss chard substitute that you’re using.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when choosing a Swiss chard substitute, you want something that is available to you all year.

Best Swiss Chard Recipes to make

It’s essential to know where this leafy vegetable is used. Swiss chard is used in dishes to add extra texture and flavor.

  • Swiss chard is most often used in soups, stews, and salads.
  • You can add it to your omelet for an extra flavor and nutrition boost.
  • Make a delicious Swiss chard side dish by simply sautéing it with garlic or onions and topping it with olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  • It can make a delicious addition to a stir fry.
  • Swiss chard is delicious when braised, roasted, or grilled.
  • You can add Swiss chard to pasta dishes, especially if you’re looking for a delicious and easy dish to make. By adding Swiss chard to your pasta, you can make it even more flavorful and nutritious.
  • If you enjoy smoothies, Swiss chard mixed with other vegetables and fruits will taste amazing. One of the most popular smoothies is a Swiss chard banana smoothie that is loaded with vitamins.
  • Swiss chard is used to substitute for tortilla wraps.
  • You can make pesto, sauces, and dressings using swiss chard leaves.

FAQs

Is Swiss chard good for you?

Yes. Swiss chard is a great source of vitamins K, A, and C. It contains essential minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.

How to get the bitterness out of Swiss chard?

You can use salt, fat, or acid to lessen the bitterness of Swiss chard.

The Bottom line

Swiss chard is one of the most versatile vegetables, but sometimes, it could be hard to find. So, if you’re looking for a Swiss chard substitute, you can find it in a few different vegetables like collard greens, kale, and arugula. It’s a good idea to keep a few Swiss chard substitutes on hand. You can find these substitutes in farmer’s markets, groceries, and co-ops.

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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