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Swiss chard gratin makes a beautiful accompaniment to everything from pork chops to poached eggs. It’s a great way to use up an abundance of chard in the blink of an eye.

swiss chard gratin on a small plate with a fork
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Why we love this recipe

Swiss chard gratin is one part cozy and comforting, one part elegant. It’s:

  • Packed with leafy greens
  • Stirred into a velvety béchamel sauce
  • Layered with nutty, savory gruyere and pecorino
  • Blanketed with crisp breadcrumbs

I originally shared this recipe here way back in 2009. It’s adapted from my memory of a recipe in The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll nee to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • This recipe calls for a full two pounds of chard. You can use any variety: Swiss, rainbow, red — whichever you have on hand.
  • Gruyere pairs beautifully with chard and with the velvety, herb-flecked béchamel. But if you prefer, you an substitute a milder (and less expensive) Swiss cheese or even cheddar. Traditional gruyere uses animal rennet, so check your brand if it’s important to you that this recipe be vegetarian.
  • For breadcrumbs, you can use fresh, dried, or panko. Substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • I’ve pictured shallot, but you can use a yellow onion instead if that’s what you’ve got.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a cozy yet elegant Swiss chard gratin. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

Cook the chard

The first step is to get the Swiss chard ready for action.

step by step 1
  1. Sauté the shallot and garlic in a bit of the olive oil until softened.
  2. Slice the chard — both leaves and stems — into ribbons and segments. Add to the pan, in batches if necessary.
  3. Cover and steam until tender.
  4. Drain remaining liquid.

Make the béchamel and bake the gratin

Once the chard is ready, you’ll make the sauce. If you’re using a Dutch oven or other stovetop-to-oven pan, you can make the whole gratin right in it.

step by step 2
  1. Melt the butter and then whisk in the flour. Cook for a minute, until foamy. Whisk in the milk and the herbs.
  2. Cook until thickened. Stir in some of the cheese.
  3. Mix in the strained chard mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese and bake until browned and bubbly.

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I substitute other leafy greens?

You sure can. In addition to — or instead of — chard, try kale, collards, mustard greens, or turnip greens. If using kale or collards, omit the stems.

Can I make Swiss chard gratin in advance?

You can assemble this dish all the way, up to about 24 hours in advance. Bake it right before serving, adding a few minutes of oven time if you’re pulling it straight from the fridge.

Leftovers will keep, tightly sealed in the fridge, for about a week.

How to serve it

Swiss chard gratin makes a beautiful pairing with:

More favorite ways to use chard

swiss chard gratin on a small plate with a fork

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swiss chard gratin on a small plate with a fork
4.73 from 11 votes

Swiss Chard Gratin

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Serve swiss chard gratin as is, as an accompaniment to meat, or with a couple of poached or fried eggs on top. Protip: Try baking this alongside our blueberry crisp.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds (900 grams) chard, any variety
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) flour
  • 2 1/2 cups (590 ml) whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (200 grams) shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
  • ½ cup (60 grams) grated parmesan or pecorino
  • ½ cup (60 grams) breadcrumbs (fresh, dried, or panko)

Instructions 

Prepare and cook the chard

  • Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit with a rack in the center.
  • Slice the chard leaves and stems crosswise into 1 ½-inch ribbons (for the leaves) and pieces (for the lower stems). Wash the chard and drain in a colander but do not dry.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or wide, shallow pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes, until softened but not browned.
  • Add the chard, in batches if necessary, along with ½ teaspoon of the salt.
  • Cover the pot tightly and steam the chard until it has wilted and reduced to less than half its original volume.
  • Drain the chard in a colander, pressing out excess liquid.

Make the sauce

  • Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for a minute or so, until foamy but not browned.
  • Pour in the milk all at once. Add the rosemary, thyme, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper.
  • Raise the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer and cook, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1½ cups of the Gruyere cheese.
  • Add the sautéed chard mixture to the sauce and stir to combine thoroughly.

Assemble and bake the gratin

  • Pour chard and sauce into a baking dish if using, or simply spread it evenly. Sprinkle the remaining Gruyere, the parmesan or pecorino, and the breadcrumbs evenly over top.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly, the cheese is melted and the topping is nicely browned.

Step-by-step video

Notes

  1. If you have a stovetop-to-oven pan with a lid, you can use that for the whole process. If not, you can cook the chard and sauce in any large lidded pot or pan and transfer the gratin to a baking dish before transferring to the oven.
  2. I’ve called for shallot, but you can use a yellow onion instead if that’s what you’ve got.
  3. This recipe calls for a full two pounds of chard. You can use any variety: Swiss, rainbow, red — whichever you have on hand. You can even substitute some or all of the chard for other leafy greens. Try kale, collards, mustard greens, or turnip greens. If using kale or collards, omit the stems.
  4. If you like, when draining the chard, set the colander over a large bowl and reserve the liquid to add to a broth-based soup.
  5. Gruyere pairs beautifully with chard and with the velvety, herb-flecked béchamel. But if you prefer, you can substitute a milder (and less expensive) Swiss cheese or even cheddar. Traditional gruyere is made with animal rennet, so if it’s important to you that this recipe is vegetarian, you’ll need to seek out a vegetarian brand.
  6. For breadcrumbs, you can use fresh, dried, or panko. To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute GF breadcrumbs.
I originally shared this recipe here way back in 2009. It’s adapted from my memory of a recipe in The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal, Carbohydrates: 13.9g, Protein: 15.2g, Fat: 18.2g, Fiber: 2.7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Vegetarian Bakes
Cuisine: French
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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P.S. Here’s the original text of this post from 2009.

And now, a word from your oven in July. Srsly.

Heyyyyy there, it’s your oven calling. I know! It’s been a while, right? Look, this is a little awkward. Obviously. I just, well, I don’t know. Probably I’ve been mulling this over in my head for too long, and now it’s gonna come out all weird. Blehhhhhhhh! Heh heh. Ahem.

No, it’s cool, I guess maybe you’re screening my call. Can you just pick up if you’re there? I know you probably don’t want to hear from me right now. In July, right? But I’ve got a couple of things I’ve been meaning to drop off for you. And — well — I know it’s not like we ended things perfectly back in April or whenever. I was tired.

And, you were right, a little crabby. I can admit that now.

You and your Le Creuset

But you with that lime-green Dutch oven, always knocking at the door. Le Creuset. Luh Khroo-sayyyy. Snooty. And so much all the time, with the braising and the stews and the no-knead bread and the winter squash. Can I just say that calling it “Delicata” does not make it any less hard to deal with? We should all be so thick-skinned.

And then the baked rice and that Herbfarm polenta? I mean, do you really need an oven for stuff like that, or do you think you might’ve been taking advantage a little?

No no, I can totally see the look on your face right now, and you’re right. This is not what I called about. It’s in the past. We’re all good. It’s just, well, that’s the thing. We were all good. Man, we were so good when we were good. And I — I dunno, maybe I’m, like totally out of left field here. Kaphewwwww! Heheh — ahem. But. I miss us. I miss you.

Right, I know.

Right, I know. My timing kind of sucks. But when did we ever play by the rules? So it’s summer! Where do you think berry crumbles come from? Could anything scream “conceived on a beach blanket” louder? And gratins? I know for a fact that you don’t think they’re just for potatoes and butternuts. Not after that spectacular dinner in the summer of ’07. You know the one I mean.

Anyway, you’d never be so small-minded. You’re better than that. We’re better than that.

So. Please. Call me back. Just to talk. Or maybe I’ll swing by sometime with dinner and dessert, if you think that’d be okay.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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4 Comments

  1. once again, thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog! :o) makes me realize how long its been since I’ve seen you! LOL! but don’t fret… I was still able to “hear” your voice while reading through…

    the food looks YUMMY as usual… and I’m waiting for my oven to drop off a delicious meal like that…
    oh wait… total lie. I think I’m waiting for YOUR oven to drop it by! LOL!

    xoxo
    j.