In this ever-evolving world, most of us have decided to take a healthy route in life. We are surrounded by a lot of junk food. That has turned out to be enough motivation for quite a lot of us to choose a healthy lifestyle.
When we talk about a healthy lifestyle, other than exercise, we also consider eating healthy. Now when we talk about eating healthy, I am sure the first thing that pops into your head is green, leafy vegetables.
What better leafy vegetable than some fresh Swiss chard? It is very healthy and makes for a great side dish or even the hero of your dish!
However, you’re all out of Swiss chard, and you need a quick substitute for the same. In that case, read this article till the end to learn extensively about Swiss chard and a list of substitutes you can use, in case you are all out!
Getting to the main point, what actually are some good Swiss chard substitutes? There’s a huge variety of vegetables you could use. Some of the best Swiss chard substitutes are beet greens, collard greens, spinach, mature spinach, kale, cabbage, and bok choy.
However, before we get into talking about Swiss chard substitutes, how about we explore the leafy vegetable a little more? This will help you learn more about your leafy greens and also its health benefits.
Quick Peek: Swiss Chard
If you want insight on Swiss chard, you’ve come to the right place. This section will help you explore swiss chard, its uses, and nutritional information too. Read on to know more!
What Is Swiss Chard?
Swiss chard, also commonly referred to as chard, is a leafy vegetable closely related to beets. It is very commonly used in many healthy foods all over the world, as per the availability. Just like other leafy vegetables, Swiss chard is packed with nutrients and various antioxidants.
Despite its name, Swiss chard is not actually Swiss. It hails from the Mediterranean region. The name came to be just to be able to differentiate it from native spinach. Color is a very striking characteristic of this vegetable as it has stems of various colors.
Describing Swiss Chard: Flavor and Texture
Swiss chard is a green and leafy vegetable with stems of various colors. The leaves usually are in different shades of green. However, the stems can be anything from ruby, orange, purple, or white-colored.
Swiss chard is sometimes sold in packets with various varieties all in one. Hence, it is also sometimes known as ‘Rainbow chard.’
The leaves of Swiss chard are tender and very similar to spinach. However, they are a little bitter in taste as compared to spinach. The stems are crunchy and more flavorful than the leaves. The stems are often described as having a similar taste to celery.
Uses Of Swiss Chard
As mentioned earlier, Swiss chard has grown to be extremely popular in healthy cooking. The leaves and stems are usually used separately. Swiss chard can be eaten raw and cooked. Raw Swiss chard leaves taste less bitter as compared to cooked leaves.
Swiss chard is not just used because of the health benefits it provides. It is a great way to add color to your food! It can make a great side for your meat or can be incorporated directly into your main dish.
Some great ways to use Swiss chard are in salads, soups, pasta, stir fry, etc. This will add flavor, crunch, and color to your food.
Swiss Chard On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Where do I even begin with listing the health benefits of Swiss chard? Being a green, leafy vegetable, it is one of the healthiest things you could consume. Including Swiss chard in your diet reduces the chances of getting obesity, diabetes, and various heart diseases.
Swiss chard is packed with minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which help lower blood pressure. It is packed with essential vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
Vitamin K is known to help with preventing osteoporosis. It is extremely healthy as 1 cup or 175 grams of cooked Swiss chard only contains 35 calories. It also contains a great amount of fiber, making it one of the healthiest foods to eat.
I think I have given you enough information on Swiss chard, its uses, and its health benefits. Now, let us quickly dive into the highlight of this article, the best substitutes for Swiss chard!
12 Best Swiss Chard Substitutes
Some of the best substitutes you could use in place of Swiss chard are as follows.
1. Beet Greens
Beet Greens are one of the most nutrient-rich greens available. They contain more antioxidants than the root itself. They are beautiful green leaves, which look very similar to Swiss chard itself.
Beet greens have a creamy and nutty flavor after being cooked. These leaves are a little smaller than Swiss chard. However, they would make a great substitute for it.
Both the leaves and stems can be eaten, just like chards. They are extremely healthy, just like Swiss chard, and would make a great substitute for salads and sauces.
Collard greens are a staple in most Southern US households. They belong to the same species as Cabbage and Broccoli. They have large, dark green leaves. Moreover, they are very commonly used in various parts of the world.
Collard greens, just like Swiss chard, can be eaten both raw and cooked. They have a slightly bitter and nutty flavor. However, unlike many other green leafy vegetables, the taste of collard greens does not change as the plant ages.
Although collard greens can be used as a substitute for Swiss chard in various foods, the best way it can be used is by sautéing them. That brings out their best flavor. Here’s a great way you can cook your collard greens at home.
Mature spinach, unlike baby spinach, has thicker, less tender leaves. They have a bitterness similar to Swiss chard and hence, can work as a great substitute.
Spinach is one of the easily available leafy vegetables in the market, in any part of the world. Mature spinach leaves do sometimes tend to be a little too bitter. However, blanching them helps reduce their bitter flavor.
Moreover, they are packed with essential nutrients, just like Swiss chard. Use mature spinach as a substitute for Swiss chard in recipes that require cooking them rather than eating them raw. This will give out their best taste. Here’s the recipe for spinach olives.
Mustard greens have a slightly bitter flavor, just like Swiss chard. They are known by various other names like curly mustard, curled mustard, mustard spinach, leaf mustard, or Indian mustard. Moreover, they are also commonly used in various Asian cuisines.
They have a creamy, peppery taste, just like Swiss chard. They are a vibrant replacement for Swiss chard. Since they have a peppery flavor, it is important to remember so while using them for a recipe that already calls for pepper. Here’s how you can cook mustard greens at home.
5. Black Kale
Black kale is also commonly known as Italian kale, Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale, etc. It is supposed to be the best variety of kale available in the market. Black kale is used a lot in Italian cuisine.
The vegetable has narrow, open ruffled leaves that have a slightly peppery flavor. The leaves of black kale are packed with essential nutrients.
They consist of vitamins A, K, B6, and C along with minerals like calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese. The leaves are more tender and cook much quicker than Swiss chard. Hence, they would make a great substitute.
Rhubarb has dark leaves similar to Swiss chard. It is now very easily available in the market and used in various cuisines. The stalks of rhubarb are even used to make various desserts!
Raw rhubarb usually tends to have a slightly tart taste. Hence, it is often cooked with honey or sugar to reduce the sourness. However, it would still make a great substitute for Swiss chard.
This is especially for recipes that require the chard to be cooked rather than eating them raw. They add a great, slightly different flavor profile to food when used as a substitute for Swiss chard.
7. Bok Choy
Bok choy, sometimes also known as pak choi or pok choi, is a type of Chinese cabbage. It is used in a wide variety of food, especially Asian food. It adds flavor to food and is packed with nutrients, just like Swiss chard.
Bok choy usually has dark green leaves with a white stalk. It is crispy and has a nutty flavor. It would work as a wonderful substitute for Swiss chard in various foods.
It can be eaten raw and cooked. Hence you can use it as a substitute for Swiss chard in soups, salads, stir-fry, or any other recipe that calls for Swiss chard.
Healthy and nutritious, cabbage is a leafy green very commonly used in most households. It has leaves lighter in color as compared to Swiss chard.
Cabbage has many variants. However, it is primarily slightly bitter in taste. You can enjoy cabbage raw as well as cooked. Hence, it would make a great substitute for Swiss chard. You can use cabbage to replace Swiss chard in soups, salads, stews, and many more foods. Here’s how you can make cabbage and noodles at home.
Arugula is commonly known as rocket leaves. It is fresh and has a tart, bitter and peppery flavor. It is used in various salads and also as a common pizza topping!
The leaves of Arugula are thin and tender. Their flavor is, however, very similar to mustard greens, making them a great substitute for Swiss chard. However, if you would like a less bitter flavor, opt for smaller arugula leaves.
Arugula is rich in vitamins A, C, and K and has minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron. To reduce the bitter taste, you could marinade the leaves in coconut oil and lemon juice.
10. Dandelion Greens
Dandelion greens are a great source of many nutrients and are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are said to be the most nutritious greens, more nutritious than spinach and kale.
These greens have a mild bitterness in their stems and leaves. Although, they aren’t that easily available in the market.
However, if you happened to visit a farmer’s market and ended up buying them, don’t shy away from using them as a substitute for Swiss chard. They work as an easy replacement in soups, salads, stews, and much more!
11. Broccoli Raab
Broccoli raab, also known as Rapini, is actually not related to broccoli at all! It actually is related to the turnip family. It makes a great substitute for Swiss chard. However, it is a little difficult to find, just like dandelion greens.
Rapini is extremely high in Vitamin K, along with sufficient amounts of vitamins E and C and dietary fibers. It has a nutty flavor, slightly similar to almonds. The leaves and stems are edible and cook evenly due to their uniform size.
The stems do have a fibrous structure but can be removed before cooking. Their slight bitter note makes them a great substitute for swiss chard in salads, soups, and various other dishes.
12. Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are often discarded by most of us. However, they still do make a great and slightly overlooked substitute for Swiss chard.
When cooked for an extended period, turnip greens give a slightly peppery taste. Using them as a substitute for cooked recipes rather than raw is preferable.
This is because they can be a little too tough and fibrous. However, 1 cup of turnip greens has only 18 calories and is full of vital minerals and vitamins.
Well, those were definitely a lot of substitutes for Swiss chard. However, are you still confused about which one would work best? Do not worry! In this section, I have broken it down further as per availability, suitability, and flavor profile. Do read on!
Most Suitable: When we talk about suitability, Collard greens will make the best substitute for Swiss chard.
Easily Available: The most easily available substitute for Swiss chard would be mature spinach.
Best Flavor Profile: Mustard greens would give the best flavor profile when used as a substitute for Swiss chard.
I hope this article has helped you know all about Swiss chard and its various substitutes. I also hope you were able to find the best substitute, as per your recipe.
All the leafy vegetables mentioned in this article, just like Swiss chard, are extremely healthy. Including a good amount of green, leafy vegetables in your diet is for sure going to add a great amount of nutritional value to your diet. Eating healthy is the best step towards a healthy lifestyle!
Frequently Asked Questions : FAQ’s
How do you eat Swiss Chard?
Swiss chard can be eaten raw and cooked.
Is Swiss chard and kale the same thing?
No, they are both different leafy green vegetables.
Is Swiss chard better than Spinach?
Spinach has more nutritional value than Swiss chard.
Can you eat Swiss chard everyday?
As it is very nutritious, it can be eaten everyday.