This Mediterranean-inspired Swiss chard and chickpeas recipe is packed with nutrition for a quick-cooked side dish that goes with just about everything.
One of the most oft-repeated requests I receive is to share more easy side dishes. Like my Sautéed Spinach with Garlic, Roasted Asparagus, and Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini, this Mediterranean-influenced leafy greens side dish ticks all the fast, easy, healthy checkboxes, and more.
I first made this garlicky braised Swiss chard and chickpeas recipe years ago, and it’s been on repeat ever since. Garlic and shallots add the savory bites to fresh chard that’s been cooked tender in chicken or veggie broth before mixing it up with protein-packed chickpeas and salty feta cheese.
While I most often serve it as a side dish, this chard and chickpeas would be a fantastic vegetarian main served over rice, or tossed with pasta too. Here’s how to make it.
What’s in Garlicky Swiss Chard and Chickpeas
This recipe comes from one of my long-time blogging friends Lori of Recipe Girl, and her appropriately titled cookbook, The Recipe Girl Cookbook. Brimming with family-friendly recipes, this cookbook fits every home cook’s needs.
Here’s what’s in this recipe:
- Swiss chard: I chose rainbow chard, but there are multiple varieties to choose from, including baby chard
- Chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Garlic cloves––I press or mince mine, but you could also do garlic slices
- Cooked chickpeas
- Lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Feta cheese
Healthy Swiss Chard and Chickpeas
Healthy-for-you, dark leafy greens can sometimes be confused for one another, but kale, Swiss chard, and spinach are not the same thing, but are all delicious, and often interchangeable.
A member of the beet family, Swiss chard grows best in the spring and fall, when temps are cooler. High in fiber and low in calories, its striking stems and dark green leaves are a top source of vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium. Some studies suggest it swiss chard is helpful in regulating blood sugar levels.
Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are also high in fiber and a fantastic source of vegetarian protein. Together, this is one powerhouse recipe.
How to Make Garlicky Swiss Chard and Chickpeas
Use the instructed amount of Swiss chard, even it if seems like too much. After chopping the pile of chard, it may seem like you have an excessive amount. You don’t. Like spinach, Swiss chard cooks down a bunch, so even if you think it’s too much, do not cut down on the amount of chard in this recipe. I discard the stalks, but you could cook them if you’d like.
Braise the greens in the broth of your choice. If you’re aiming for a fully vegetarian dish, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Cooking the Swiss chard leaves in the broth, then straining it before adding the onion and shallots, creates a tender bite that isn’t bitter.
Sauté the garlic and shallots in a little olive oil just until softened. Don’t overcook or brown or burn these aromatics, or they’ll become bitter instead of sweet.
Use cooked chickpeas. Pop open a can of chickpeas, drain, and add to the pan, cooking until warmed through.
Add a fresh tang with lemon and feta. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with chunks of spunky feta cheese for an even more Mediterranean flavor.
Substitutions to Try
There’s plenty of room for interpretation here by switching up the noted ingredients for what you have on hand.
- Sub out kale or spinach for the Swiss chard
- Try grated Parmesan cheese or creamy goat cheese instead of feta cheese
- Try thinly sliced yellow onion instead of shallots
- Add red pepper flakes if you want a bit of heat
What to Serve With Swiss Chard
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
- How to Make the Best Grilled Salmon
- Crispy Baked Garlic Shrimp
- The Best Steak Marinade in 30 Minutes
- Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon Rosemary Garlic Butter
More Greens You’ll Love
- Creamed Spinach
- Kale Salad with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
- Sautéed Spinach with Garlic
- Creamed Swiss Chard with Garlic Breadcrumbs
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