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Leigh Beisch Photo by: Leigh Beisch

Chard-stem Gratin

Stems from Swiss chard are often mistakenly thought of as too tough or fibrous to eat. All they need is a bit of extra cooking to make them tender and sweet. Here is one of our favorite ways to use a lot of "leftover" stems. Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes. Notes: While this recipe calls for stems from 2 bunches of chard, it is adaptable to however many stems you have--just adjust the amount of cheese and bread crumbs proportionately. Panko, or Japanese bread crumbs, are very light and crunchy; find them at Asian markets.

Sunset JANUARY 2007

  • Yield: Makes 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Stems from about 2 bunches of Swiss chard, trimmed of discolored ends
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • About 1 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup panko (see Notes) or fresh white bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and chard stems. Boil until stems are tender to the bite, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Rub a medium-size shallow baking dish with the cut sides of the garlic clove halves. Butter the dish and then put in the chard stems. In a sealable plastic bag, mix bread crumbs, parmesan, and 1 tbsp. butter. Sprinkle mixture on stems. Cook until top is browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 113
  • Calories from fat: 50%
  • Protein: 5.9g
  • Fat: 6.2g
  • Saturated fat: 3.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 8.7g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Sodium: 893mg
  • Cholesterol: 16mg

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Chard-stem Gratin recipe