Rainbow Chard Salad




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Rainbow Chard Salad in a white bowl with spoon

This Rainbow Chard Salad is a deliciously smart way to use a vibrant underutilized veggie. Watch your back, kale, there’s a pretty new super green in town and it’s moving in on your turf…

Raw rainbow chard salad

Chard, or Swiss chard, isn’t Swiss at all, but an ancient Mediterranean plant, related to beets.  Rainbow chard is a variety with gorgeous day-glo stems.

A spring trip to the farmers market inspired this recipe.  Rainbow chard is irresistible, the colors are unlike any other vegetable, they’re almost unbelievable.  A lot of people think you have to discard the stems, can you imagine??  The stems are delicious and crunchy ~ eat them every day and you’ll live to be a hundred.  (That last part isn’t proven, but I’m working on it.)

stalks of colorful rainbow chard

I didn’t want to compromise those beautiful colors in any way, so I just sliced up the stems and shredded the greens for a beautiful salad.

Wait, can you eat rainbow chard raw?

  • You can absolutely eat chard raw, the same way you would eat kale or spinach raw.

Even the stems?

  • Yup, the stems are great raw, they’re crunchy like celery!

Isn’t chard bitter?

  • Chard has a slightly bitter, earthy flavor, like other dark leafy greens.  I add naturally sweet ingredients to chard dishes to balance that out.  Cooking reduces the bitterness, if you don’t enjoy it.

Are those colors natural??

  • Totally!  Those pigments help protect the plant from UV rays and attract pollinators, too.  They certainly attracted me.

Is rainbow chard healthy?

  • You better believe it, rainbow chard isn’t just pretty, like all dark leafy greens it’s a super food exploding with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.  It’s fat free, and very low in calories.

Stalks of rainbow chard ready to be chopped into a rainbow chard salad

You can substitute chard in any recipe where you would use kale, or spinach, so it makes it easy to come up with ways to use this pretty vegetable.

A brilliant stalk of ranbow chard laid across a bowl of rainbow chard salad

I based this salad on my favorite kale salad, which was itself inspired by one I get at the deli counter at my supermarket.   I copied the combination of toasted sunflower seeds (call me crazy, but I think this salad has to have sunflower seeds, and they have to be toasted!  There’s something about the seeds that makes hardy greens so much tastier.  Just try it and see if you don’t agree) and a good creamy imported feta cheese.  I add slivered apples for the important bit of sweetness, but you could also use blueberries, golden raisins, or dried cranberries.

Raw rainbow chard salad

Just like kale, chard is sturdy and holds up well int he refrigerator, even after being dressed.  Plan on making extra so you can take it to work for lunch.

Tossing a rainbow chard salad

Rainbow chard is not only great for salads, you can juice it, or add it to smoothies.  I love to stir fry it, sometimes with tofu, sometimes with shrimp.  The color of those stems holds during short cooking, too!

Try chard in place of kale in my CHEDDAR KALE SKILLET CORNBREAD, or in this simple KALE SLAW.  Rainbow chard would be ideal in my Mediterranean inspired CHICKEN THIGHS WITH WHITE BEANS AND WILTED GREENS.

Rainbow Chard Salad
Rate this recipe
7 ratings

Category: appetizer, salad, side dish

Yield: serves 4-6

Rainbow Chard Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 stalks assorted color rainbow chard, or about 1 cup greens and sliced stems per person
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (imported sheep's milk cheese is best)
    dressing (whisk together)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar (or your favorite)
  • juice of 1 lemon (save a little to coat the cut apple to keep it from browning)
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash, dry, and trim the ends from your chard. Slice the stalks in thin slices, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch. If they are very thick, slice them lengthwise and then chop. Add the stems to a large bowl.
  2. Take the large leaves and slice them lengthwise into several pieces, and then slice again into small slices or ribbons. The aim here is to avoid large pieces of the greens, which can be tough. Slicing them small makes them tender. Add to the bowl with the stalks, along with the shallot. Toss the chard with some of the dressing ~ enough to moisten but not drown.
  3. Slice the apple into very thin matchsticks. Toss with a spritz of lemon juice so it doesn't brown. I toss the apple with my hands so I make sure every surface gets coated.
  4. Add the apples and the toasted sunflower seeds to the top of the chard. Crumble the feta over the top, and give everything a good grinding of fresh black pepper.

Make it your own ~

  • You can make this salad with kale or spinach.
  • Add some hard cooked egg, shrimp, or chicken for extra protein.
  • Grow your own rainbow chard, it’s a great starter crop for kids because it’s easy to grow, has a really early and long growing season, and it’s so pretty!

 

don’t forget to pin this rainbow chard salad ~

Rainbow Chard Salad ~ healthy, vibrant, and delicious! This salad is gluten free, low carb, whole 30, Paleo, and Weight Watcher's friendly. #salad #chard #greens #rainbow #spring #vegetable #kale #spinach #slaw

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Lemon and Swiss Chard Orecchiette
    September 22, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    […] and added to recipes such as my mini potato and chard knishes or chopped up and left raw in a rainbow chard salad. And the leaves would be perfect in chard and garlic scape pesto as […]

  • Reply
    Laura
    May 1, 2018 at 8:48 am

    I love rainbow chard, so why haven’t I ever eaten it raw? What a gorgeous salad! And, I love the champagne vinaigrette to top it off! I’m inspired – it looks and sounds perfect! Going to buy some chard and make this salad!

  • Reply
    Gerlinde
    April 30, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Your photos are beautiful and the salad looks so good.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 1, 2018 at 7:00 am

      Thanks Gerlinde <3

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    April 30, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Your rainbow chard looks so beautiful! Lots of crunchiness and goodness in that pretty salad.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 30, 2018 at 11:03 am

      It really is gorgeous, but I have to give the credit to Mother Nature :)

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    April 30, 2018 at 10:36 am

    You found the most beautiful chard I’ve ever seen! I guess there are a few perks to living in Southern California – and your gorgeous produce is one!. We love Swiss Chard but usually eat it cooked. I will have to give it a try in a salad like this – but only if I can find it this pretty :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 30, 2018 at 10:51 am

      The amazing thing is that every single stalk is different, the lady at the farmers market must have thought I was crazy, I stood there forever choosing!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    April 30, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Love the simplicity and beauty of this salad. Being super healthy makes it a win, win, win winner!!

  • Reply
    Ginny McMeans
    April 30, 2018 at 10:01 am

    What a gorgeous salad! I am also dying to make that dressing with champagne vinegar. Just in time for the first neighborhood get-together of the year.

  • Reply
    Susie
    April 30, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! What an amazing veggie. I have not used it …yet! I am definitely pinning this recipe. I bet it would be good with grilled marinated chicken too- perfect summer dinner.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

      Thanks Susie, and you’re right, it would go great with chicken.

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    April 30, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I absolutely love the colors and I love rainbow chard, but I usually just sauté it! I can not wait to make your beautiful and delicious salad!!

  • Reply
    Jenni LeBaron
    April 30, 2018 at 9:25 am

    I love colorful dishes like this. I have some rainbow chard sitting in my crisper right now just waiting to be made into something scrumptious like this.

  • Reply
    Darcey Olson
    April 30, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I’m so happy I found this recipe! I have Swiss Chard growing and was wondering what to make with it!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 30, 2018 at 9:13 am

      You’re so lucky Darcey ~ I want to grow it next year!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 30, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Absolutely beautiful salad! I love rainbow chard, both for it’s goodness and it’s pretty colours :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 30, 2018 at 9:12 am

      The colors really wow me, Jennifer, they’re unlike any other veggie I’ve ever seen.

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