Swiss Chard Pasta with Garlic is a flavorful meal that's easy to make with only 5 ingredients in under 30 minutes. This rustic dish is naturally vegan and a delicious way to enjoy more dark leafy greens.
Many traditional Italian pasta recipes come together quickly with only a few ingredients. Some of my favorites include Angel Hair Pomodoro, Spaghetti with Zucchini, and Lemon Artichoke Pasta.
Like these dishes, Swiss Chard Pasta also starts with olive oil and garlic and features one vegetable as the star. It's a simple way to eat that's full of flavor and is relatively inexpensive.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's a flavorful meal you can make with only 5 ingredients (plus salt) in under half an hour.
- It's comforting and a delicious way to enjoy chard.
- The leftovers taste great the next day.
Chard: Swiss chard, also known simply as chard, comes in a variety of colors. While the leaves are green, the stems, ribs, and veins can be a variety of colors like pink, red, yellow, and orange. It's also common to see the color mixed together and sold as Rainbow chard, as shown in the photo above.
The stems and ribs can be rather tough. You can either discard them, or chop them finely and use them in this recipe. The stems will take a little longer to cook, so if using them, add them to the skillet a couple of minutes before you add the chopped leaves.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Making Swiss Chard Pasta is very simple.
First cook the pasta according to the package directions. Before draining, reserve some of the starchy cooking liquid to mix into the sauce. A coffee cup works well for dipping into the pot.
Meanwhile, saute the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and chard in olive oil. Add the cooked pasta with a little of the reserved pasta water, as needed, and toss well.
Create fewer dirty dishes by cooking the chard in the same pot you used to prepare the pasta.
It's easy to start with this basic recipe and add other ingredients like the following to make it your own.
- Add sliced Kalamata or Castelvetrano olives for more Mediterranean flavor.
- Throw in some toasted pine nuts.
- Saute another vegetable with the chard such as sliced mushrooms or cherry tomatoes.
- Finish the dish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lemon zest.
- Offer vegan parmesan cheese at the table.
While it's a complete meal on its own, this pasta dish goes well with salads, soups, and vegetable side dishes.
Leftover pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Swiss chard tastes milder than kale and spinach. It's sweet with a hint of bitterness.
Swiss chard is entirely edible. Both the leaves and the stems can be eaten raw or cooked.
Yes, chard can be used in place of spinach in both raw and cooked recipes. When cooked, the texture is firmer, which many people like. And it can be used in salads instead of spinach.
More chard recipes
If you're looking for more ways to use this delicious dark leafy green, you can use it in place of spinach or kale in recipes like Vegan Vegetable Soup and Spanish Chickpea Stew.
It's also wonderful raw in salads. Try it in a Vegan Caesar Salad or Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Swiss Chard Pasta with Garlic
- 1 box short pasta, (12-16 ounces) such as penne (I use Barilla gluten free penne)
- 1 Tablespoons olive oil, for sauteing
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch swiss chard, any color, cut into ribbons
- salt, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of the starchy cooking water.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the chard and a pinch of salt and saute until the chard is tender and reduced in size.
- Combine the chard with the cooked pasta, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Create fewer dirty dishes by cooking the chard in the same pot you used to prepare the pasta.
- The stems and ribs can be rather tough. You can either discard them, or chop them finely and use them in this recipe. The stems will take a little longer to cook, so if using them, add them to the skillet a couple of minutes before you add the chopped leaves.
- Leftover pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
Swiss chard is one of my favourite vegetables. I love it simply steamed in a frying pan on top of a bit of garlic and olive oil. I'm not a fan of celery so always buy Swiss chard when celery is requested in a recipe. Swiss chard is like two vegetables in one: the leaves + the stems. I save any stems I don't happen to need in a container in the fridge, then add them to recipes, or sautée them with onions and potatoes for a quick dish. I have an odd allergy called Oral Allergy Syndrome meaning I can't eat any raw produce EXCEPT I am ok with raw Swiss chard. I grow Swiss chard in a container on my balcony and eat the leaves raw (as a salad or just on the side) when they are young and tender (large leaves tend to be a bit tough to eat raw). I also sometimes add chopped up raw Swiss chard leaves to mashed potatoes. Thanks for your recipe and for promoting Swiss chard 🙂
Thanks so much, Katherine! I love your ideas for using Swiss chard. 🙂
I've had a bumper crop of chard this year & eating it with pasta has been on high rotation for dinner. Sometimes with some mushrooms, sometimes with other herbs like thyme or parsley added, even a splash of white wine.
Love your photography of this dish. (goals!)
Sounds delicious, Louise! I especially love mushrooms. And thank you very much! 🙂
Just made the garlicky chard pasta and loved it!! Just the right amount of garlic without being over powering. I added a little Romano cheese on the top too. I will make this again for sure.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!