swiss chard stems with fresh herbs & garbanzos

4    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
10 minutes

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chard stems feta

Binge seems to be the word of the moment. People are binge-watching TV, binge-reading books, bingeing on the Olympics, and no doubt bingeing on chocolate later this week for Valentine’s Day. Sorry to be a bore, but I’m bingeing on Swiss chard. It’s partly because I’m writing a cookbook and chard recipes are on my to-do list, but it’s also because I can’t get enough of the stems. Yes, the stems. You know, these guys…

chard stems
Chard stems are deceptive: homely and often thrown away, they’re actually earthy and rich when braised. (If you’re wondering what to do with the leaves in order to have leftover stems for this dish, strip them off and saute them in olive oil and garlic and serve them alongside. Two side dishes for the price of one! Or add them to Greek greens pie.)

Sometimes I add chard stems to minestrone, sometimes I pour cream over them and bake them as a gratin, and sometimes I saute them with herbs and soffrito—that’s Italian for onions, carrots, and celery, aka this stuff…

To this, I add the chopped chard stems plus some garbanzo beans for heft then fresh herbs and chopped preserved lemon (if you made those when I posted last, they should be ready right about now)…

chard stems garbanzos
You can also add feta to make it even betta.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 outer stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
stems from 2 bunches Swiss chard, sliced thinly
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
handful fresh basil, mint, or Italian parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon peel or 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese, optional


In a 10- to 12-inch saute pan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and a big pinch of salt; cook, stirring often, until veggies are softened, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the chard stems and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover pan, reduce heat, and simmer until chard stems are softened, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and stir in drained garbanzo beans. Cover again and cook until beans are heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste and if chard stems need further cooking, continue to stir, uncovered, for a few minutes more.

Turn off heat under pan and stir in the basil, mint or parsley and the preserved lemon or caraway. Serve warm or at room temperature and sprinkle each portion with feta, if desired.