Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Bread Crumbs
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If you love a kale salad, you will love this Swiss chard salad. When dressed with a light, lemony dressing and tossed with garlicky bread crumbs and parmesan, Swiss chard’s leaves become soft and buttery. A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes offers a welcomed kick, too. As soon as the Swiss chard begins arriving in our CSA and popping up in the garden, this becomes our go-to salad — it’s irresistible!
My introduction to kale salads came by way of restaurant, True Food Kitchen, that my aunt and I frequented for lunch in the summer of 2010.
At TFK, they marinated the kale in lemon and olive oil, then tossed it with bread crumbs and parmesan. Back then, eating kale raw (for many of us) was revolutionary, but it quickly became an obsession.
In the years that followed, I ate and prepared many raw kale salads, but it never occurred to me until many years after that TFK lunch, to try treating Swiss chard in the same manner. I had relegated chard to the vegetables-that-require-cooking family, which is a seriously misguided placement.
Chard, like kale, loves a lemon dressing, and when tossed with bread crumbs and parmesan, its leaves relax, more so than kale in fact, and any bitterness disappears. Last week, when I asked the world wide web if chard could be eaten raw, it pointed me to a salad on Food52, which I made immediately, and then again and then again.
The dressing is simple — the juice of one lemon plus a quarter cup of olive oil — and the bread crumbs, seasoned with garlic and pepper flakes, are irresistible.
If you’ve yet to give Swiss chard the kale salad treatment, now’s the time! Light, lemony, and refreshing — Swiss chard will never taste so summery.
This is garlic from our CSA. Four enormous cloves per bulb. Isn’t it pretty?
Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Bread Crumbs
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings
Slightly adapted from Food52.
Note: If possible, get your hands on some good, tender Swiss chard for this recipe. We’ve been getting beautiful chard from our CSA as well as from the Niskayuna Co-op, which carries chard from Hope Valley Farm. Farmers’ markets, obviously, are a great source.
Bread crumbs: Once, when I made this, I was out of bread — the horror! — and I used two English muffins instead. Worked like a charm.
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, about 12 ounces
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1½ cups (2.5 ounces) fresh bread crumbs, see notes above
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- sea salt to taste
- crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 lemon
- ¾ cups (1.5 – 2 ounces) grated Parmesan, Grana Padano or Pecorino
- Wash and dry the chard and remove the stems from the leaves. (Save stems for another use.) Stack a few of the leaves on top of each other, roll them like a cigar and cut the cigar into thin (1/8-inch) ribbons. Repeat until all the leaves are shredded. Put the leaves into a large salad bowl.
- Warm ¼ cup olive oil in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until they are crisp and golden brown (about 5 minutes). Be careful not to burn them! Stir in the garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper flakes, and let them toast for another minute, then remove from the heat.
- Zest the lemon into the bowl of chard. Juice the lemon into a small mixing bowl. Add a few generous pinches of salt. Slowly whisk in ¼ cup of the olive oil.
- Add the Parmesan and about ⅔ of the lemon dressing to the bowl. Toss until nicely coated. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Toss in the toasted bread crumbs and serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Method: Toss
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Swiss chard, salad, bread, lemon, parmesan, crumbs
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
123 Comments on “Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Bread Crumbs”
This looks lovely. I never would have thought to eat chard raw either. I love all of these flavors. Thanks!
Beautiful! I love Swiss Chard but I never want to eat it this time of year bc it feels wintry. This looks perfect!!
Yes to this lovely salad! Gosh, with the chard at the market looking so gorgeous this time of year, every salad I’m making has contained some of the leaves (and beet tops, and kohlrabi greens). This version is so simple and bright! I remember when you taught us the importance of proper breadcrumbs. (IN FACT I think that was the first-ever recipe of yours I read and Pinned. Eggs in breadcrumbs 🙂 Revolutionary.) My mom has been gifting me some of her home-grown garlic — I am obsessed!
Homemade breadcrumbs are revolutionary, right? And the Zuni eggs are still one of my favorites — I don’t make them nearly enough, but I love that splash of vinegar at the end. So good. I am so intrigued by your kohlrabi fries! Must try soon.
Made this for dinner tonight. Husband raved. I loved it too. THis is a KEEPER!!
Wonderful to hear this, Andrea!
Sounds so delicious!!
Not sure if you’ve heard this from anyone else but lately when I put in http://www.alexandracooks.com the top post is the Zucchini Anchovy even now. I was devastated after days and days of not seeing a new post come up and then I clicked on the actual post and saw on the side under the “recent posts” that there had been new ones! Can’t figure out why that happens though. I love your blog and the recipes you put on here- always straightforward but with such full flavor- thanks for being one of my favorite parts of my day!
Oh Emily, that is so frustrating! I was having this same issue last fall, but I thought I had fixed it when I switched to a new theme. I just switched themes again (I can’t commit!), and I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I need to investigate, but thank you so much for bringing this issue to my attention. I will get to the bottom of it.
Thank you for your kind words. Means so much to me!
This looks so fresh! Don’t think I’ve ever had swiss chard but on my to do list soon.
It’s so yummy, Katya! I hope you like it.
Hi there! I just discovered your site today and have been enjoying browsing through your recipes this morning! While browsing, I realized I was gifted some of your notecards a little while back, yet never made the blog connection! Small world I suppose! I have all the ingredients for this salad, so I’m going to try it out for lunch today. It looks great! I’ll be back soon to test out some other recipes. Feel free to pop by my site sometime. I write weekly narratives about what it is like to own a small NYC artisanal food business with my husband, and the general ins and outs of running one’s own shop!
Hi Angela! I’m so happy you wrote in. I just followed you on bloglovin, and I am so excited to keep up with your journey. I have always wanted to do something real in the food business, and running a small store, as challenging as I am sure it is, will always be a dream of mine. Can’t wait to read through your archives. Also, sorry about the robbery! That is awful. And those muffins look beautiful. Funny about the cards 🙂 Thanks for writing in!
another WINNER! So delicious – easy yet sophisticated perfect summer salad (though i will be making this throughout the year)! Thank you for intro-ing me to swiss chard…always a bit scared of this as it’s next to kale in the supermarket and that raw i don’t care how much it’s “massaged” still has the texture of what i imagine a toilet brush..BUT this is delicious! You have the best recipes…ummmm, how lucky is your family?! thank you!!!
Ha! You are hilarious. YOu are right — no matter how well kale is massaged, it can be tough.
I’m so happy you liked this one! We have been addicted to it since we discovered it a few weeks ago. And thank you for your kind words…the day I get my children to eat chard will be a happy happy day 🙂
I love Swiss chard. I love growing it because it’s gorgeous in the garden especially when you mix the colors of it. I didn’t do that this year. But I will again. As much as I eat swiss chard steamed and stir fried, I never thought of putting it in a salad. Feelin’ a little slow—-but laughing. Thank you for a push in a new direction.
Oh Carol, me, too. That’s what I was getting at — why aftet all these years didn’t I think to treat chard as I have kale…sometimes my brain doesn’t function.
As much as I eat Swiss chard, I have never used it in a salad. Duh, drop a brick. I love the color of it to start with. So it would make any salad look inviting.
I’m curious, what would you do with the stems?
Kirstin, hi! I make this recipe from food52 often: https://alexandracooks.com/2013/05/29/anchovy-tin-lamp-•-anchovy-vinaigrette/ you grill the stems and then cover them in an anchovy vinaigrette. But recently, I was doing research for a different article over at food52, and I found a few ideas, which I included in this post https://food52.com/blog/11025-what-to-do-with-an-overload-of-chard but in sum are: baked into a gratin (Chez Panisse Vegetables), braised with tomato sauce (forget where I saw this), and breaded and deep fried and turned into fries…yum (maybe Zuni Cafe cookbook?). Hope that helps!
I love this salad. I had a tiny bit left over and wondered what it would be like after the breadcrumbs had gone soft in the fridge overnight. I decided to try a poached egg on top of it for breakfast. So I warmed the oven and while I poached the egg, and just brought the salad to slightly warmer than room temperature on my plate. It really was delicious with the runny yolk oozing through the lemony leaves. Thank You!
oh my gosh, this sounds so good! I kept thinking how a poached egg on this would just really complete it as a meal. Thanks for the inspiration. We’re still getting a ton of chard in our garden.
Just cut some swiss chard from the back yard. Hubby asked if it could be eaten raw. Found your recipe. Made it. FABULOUS!! We both loved it. Hubby suggested having this as the salad for Thanksgiving. Trust me, that is high praise. Thanks so much!
Yay! So happy to hear this. Funny– this is my husband’s favorite too. I love the idea of having this at Thanksgiving — so light and refreshing!
I served this at the end of our chard season a week ago and it was a big hit. It’s warm and earthy because it’s chard after all. I decided to add two boiled eggs and we loved it. Thanks for the idea.
Loved this salad! It is so bright and the chard is so tender. We have had a bumper crop of mustard greens, collards, chard, and beet greens. I usually make my standard quick saute of greens with garlic I learned in Brasil. I was getting tired of cooked greens! The salad was not over dressed, the bread crumbs, made from a freshly baked french style country bread, were the right texture to give it some interest. If you have any ideas for mustard greens along this salad line, please let me know. Our kale is going in soon as are our turnips, so more fall greens will be enjoyed! I look forward to checking out more recipes on your site.
So wonderful to hear this, Char! I love love love this salad as well. I think mustard greens would actually work really well with the same treatment. Or you could use the greens and make these fritters: https://alexandracooks.com/2014/06/18/chard-fritters-montreal/ So exciting that you have such a prolific garden!
Fabulous salad! Tonight we served it with fresh cracked Dungeness crab, butter and French bread, just a perfect combination! Thank you, I’ll reuse this many times!
Just finished a big bowl all by myself, tastes amazing. Loved the idea with lemon zest and parmesan. I added some avocado, olives and Serrano ham to turn it into a full meal. Tastes wonderfully fresh and no fuss. Thanks a lot.
Oh yum, love the sound of those additions!
I have to tell you this became our go-to salad this summer. We grow chard, so we make it almost daily. So delicious. Thanks!
So happy to hear this! This is one of my favorites as well. We didn’t grow chard this year, but we get plenty in our CSA.
Our neighbor gave us some Swiss chard yesterday so we made this salad tonight. It was delicious! We didn’t change a thing and thought it was just perfect! I never thought to have chard as a salad before and this recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you!
So simple to make; yet I never would have thought of it. It’s light, delicious, and refreshing!
So happy to hear this, Aviva! This is one of my favorites, too!
I am about to make this for the 4th time in 2 months. I LOVE it. I think the fact that I am willing to go through all of the steps (I’m usually pretty lazy) over and over again is the best testament to the perfection that is this recipe. THANK YOU.
So happy to hear this, Sara! Happy New Year!!
Served it garnished with thinly sliced leek that I had browned in olive oil and then cooled on paper towels. Nice umami touch.
ooooh, yum! I love this one. And I love leeks. Sounds perfect.
Yum! The dressing really takes away any bitter taste of the chard. This will be my go-to recipe for chard. I’m considering mixing in some Craisins next time.
Yay! I love this one — so light and lemony. Craisins sound delicious!
Wow, this is a great way to use fresh, raw Chard from my garden.. I love garlic, so I doubled the amount of garlic & omitted the cheese to save on calories. I added raw thinly sliced red onion instead. I will be making this again during the summer, when my tomatoes are ready, I plan to place this salad over sliced tomato from my garden.
So happy to hear this Dee! I love this one, too, Dee. We eat so much chard bc we grow it and we get it in our CSA. Your adjustments sound delicious.
Found this recipe today and discovered your site in the process. This was an eye-opener! As a crunch devotee, I adored it. Added a few anchovies and devoured it for lunch today. The only thing missing was a big glass of crisp rose. Next time!
So happy to hear this, Robyn! I love this one, too 🙂
I would like to bring to a thanksgiving feast, would you recommend putting the dressing and bread crumbs in right before dinner, or add the dressing at hime and save the bread crumbs for right before?
I think you could toss everything together (chard, dressing,crumbs) just before serving. So bring the components separately to the dinner, then assemble just before serving. Yay and yum!! Happy Thanksgiving!
I have never been compelled to write a comment on a recipe post before but I made this last night and could not get over how AMAZING it was. I roasted some veg to have with it (delicata, potatoes, leeks) and wished I hadn’t so I could just eat the whole bowl of chard! I can’t wait to make it again and also make it to wow guests. I love your blog and this recipe really shocked me, so I just had to share!!! I almost feel like I never need to make a kale salad again! Chard forever!!
So happy to hear all of this, Michelle! And thanks so much for taking the time to write. Love the idea of your roasted veg additions. I adore delicata squash. #chardforever!! Love it.
Oh I also just used plain old Panko that I had in the pantry and it worked wonderfully.
great to know!
I have been making this salad for a few years now, and always mix it up — chard, kale, arugula — plus whatever bread I have on hand. It is always delicious and even better on day #2. Thank you for this fabulous recipe.
This salad was delicious and simple. I always grow chard in my garden because it does so well, but too often I don’t get around to using it. Now I will! We had friends coming for supper, and I needed an extra side dish. I looked around in the garden, saw the exuberant rainbow chard, and then found your recipe. I threw in some Detroit Dark Red beet leaves for some extra color. We held back a bit on the dressing as you suggested. We also didn’t use all the cheese. We prepped the chard and put it in the fridge. I was a little surprised how much it contracted as we mixed in the dressing, cheese, and breadcrumbs, but we had enough for 5 because we had it with chicken and rice and a cucumber yogurt condiment, all from the Jerusalem cookbook. This chard salad was a good accompaniment.