Swiss Chard with Garlic and Yogurt – Recipe

Swiss Chard with Garlic and Yogurt
Swiss Chard with Garlic and Yogurt

Meze is the Mediterranean tradition of a meal made of several small plates. My family especially loves to eat meze-style in the summer, when no-one feels like heating up the kitchen or eating a heavy dinner. To make a nice meze, you can make a couple of items from scratch (maybe tabboulehΒ or this warm grape and ricotta salata salad) and fill out the spread with warm pita bread, quick marinated feta, good olives, good store-bought hummus or prepared tahina, and raw vegetables.

Today’s dish of room-temperature chard flavored with garlic and dukkah (which I’ll explain in a moment) would be a great addition to your meze. It demonstrates a basic method for cooking greens so that they retain a bit of texture and color but are tender and enjoyable. You could use different greens (mustard greens, spinach, even dandelion greens if you enjoy their bitter punch) or different spices, and you could certainly add a squeeze of lemon if you’d like a splash of acidity.

Now about dukkah. It is a spice mixture that originated in Egypt. A word of caution: if you have a nut allergy, check the ingredients of any pre-packaged version, as it generally contains ground hazelnuts or other nuts. I usually get mine from the World Spice Merchants store in Seattle, though they no longer seem to carry a nut free version. But in any case, don’t feel like you have to have dukkah for today’s recipe. If you don’t, just make an equal-parts mixture of ground sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin and thyme, and season it to taste with black pepper and sea salt.

Swiss Chard with Garlic and Yogurt
Vegetarian and gluten-free; vegan if you omit the yogurt or use a soy yogurt
Serves about 2 as a side dish (depending on size of your bunch of chard), easily multiplied

  • 1 small bunch of Swiss chard
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dukkah (see above) (check your brand if you need nut-free or gluten-free)
  • Maldon (aka the world’s greatest salt) salt or other flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 cup thick Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Thoroughly wash the chard in at least 2 changes of water; more if you suspect any grit remains. Pull the leaves off of the stems. Discard the toughest part of the stems and chop the remaining stems into 1″ lengths.
  2. Fill a large bowl with icewater. Put the leaves and stems in a loosely covered, microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until the leaves are well wilted and tender but not turning gray. Immediately transfer the chard to the icewater and toss to cool quickly (this will preserve the color). Drain the chard and squeeze it dry in a clean dishtowel.
  3. Put the chard in a bowl and toss with the garlic, a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil, at least a couple of teaspoons of dukkah and salt to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning – you may want more garlic, oil, dukkah or salt to get the flavors really popping.
  4. When you are ready to serve, mound the chard on a plate, and sprinkle with a few more flakes of salt. Spoon the yogurt next to the chard and sprinkle it with the toasted sesame seeds.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, July 16th, 2012 in Appetizers, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

11 Responses to “Swiss Chard with Garlic and Yogurt – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    July 16, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    This looks so quick, easy and very delish! Perfect for a busy week in the middle of summer. Thanks for sharing this, Michael!

  2. Reply
    July 16, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    I love chard–and this spiced version sounds delicious. The yogurt is a perfect garnish!

  3. Reply
    July 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    Hi Michael, I was thinking of chard myself another day, but I have to go a hundred miles away to buy it… I have some exiting news, well, it’s not a news for you, but I was very happy to see it. Last week I was in NYC and saw your book on the window display in one of the stores. I was so happy for you! I will have a post about this bookstore and I think I catch it on the photo too. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      July 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      Hey Marina – I’m always happy to hear about which stores are carrying the book, and especially when it is being nicely featured, like in a window display! Was this Kitchen Arts and Letters?

      • Reply
        July 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

        Well, Michael, you scare me: do you have an ability to read people’s minds?! Yes indeed, it was Kitchen Arts and Letters… πŸ™‚ Did you do a book signing there? Lovely place, friendly staff and an ocean of cookbooks!

        • Reply
          July 17, 2012 at 8:46 am #

          Hey Marina – I didn’t do a public signing, but I did sign the stock copies. Yes, an amazing store! I could spend a year in there.

          • July 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

            Maybe it was a signed stock copy?! Oh well, we have less then a year before we move back to Seattle, so I hope to sign my copy there some day…:)

  4. Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    I grow chard, so I tend to eat a lot. We had some just last night. The microwave method is a really good one. Two suggestions: 1. Cook just the stems for about 3 minutes, THEN add the leaves for another two minutes. I find that the stems are tougher, and need a little more time. 2. When you’re chopping the stems, chop the bottom parts only about 1/4-inch long. That way if they remain fibrous, at least the fibers are short.

    Dukkah: the first time I saw it mentioned here, I made some from some recipe on the web, and my whole family fell in love with it. I can’t find the original recipe, but I do have my rough after-the-fact transcription of it at link to . The one at link to looks pretty promising as well.

    I tend to make 1-2 cups of the stuff and keep it in the fridge in a sealed plastic container so it won’t get rancid. Somehow it seems to go away long before that’s a threat, though. My daughter’s been known to eat it with a spoon. (!)

  5. Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    Hey there,

    I love your recipes, as a vegetarian it’s so nice to see more cookery books in stores! I have just created a website looking for talented people to post on in magazine styles with links to your own blog! Maybe you could check it out!

  6. Reply
    July 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Great, healthful, novel side dish. Used chopped chard stems as addition to filling for stuffed bell peppers.

  7. Reply
    August 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    I substituted beet greens and served this dish along side steamed beats for a great summer dinner. The dukka seasoning is a great combination along with the yogurt (including stained soy yogurt for the vegans)!

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