Swiss Chard and Kale Gratin Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Swiss Chard and Kale Gratin Recipe

I served this gratin at a dinner party and everyone went back for seconds and thirds and then asked me for the recipe.  That’s how I knew I needed to teach it in a cooking class, which I did last year!  It is heartier than creamed spinach or a spinach gratin and very flavorful. I love it for Thanksgiving because it tastes amazing with turkey and it’s so savory. The one thing I would say not to skip in this recipe is the garlic breadcrumbs.  Use GF bread if you like, but the breadcrumbs make the dish!

Why You’ll Love This Swiss Chard and Kale Gratin

  • A perfect Thanksgiving side dish (or Christmas or fall/winter dinner parties)
  • Heartier and more interesting than creamed spinach
  • Vegetarian and vegan adaptable
  • Everyone will go back for seconds (and thirds)!

Ingredients

  • Dark leafy greens: A fresh and super-nutritious addition to any meal. Swiss chard provides an earthy flavor to the dish. Choose curly kale or Tuscan kale.
  • Garlic – We are throwing the garlic into a food processor, so don’t worry about chopping or mincing. Just make sure the cloves are peeled. 
  • Bread – I used sourdough for its lower glycemic index, but any fresh bread will work. The bread crumbs make this dish! 
  • Cheese – I used Parmesan, but you can also use My Homemade Vegan “Parmesan” recipe below for a vegan alternative. The recipe also includes an optional handful of shredded gruyere or fontina for an extra cheesy topping.
  • Onion – I used a brown/yellow onion, but any onion works.
  • Herbs and spices – fresh thyme, nutmeg, and a pinch of cayenne.
  • Cream – you can either use heavy cream, coconut milk, or make your own (see recipe below under notes).

How to Make Swiss Chard and Kale Gratin

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 375 F degrees. 
  2. Stem chard, cut stems into 2-inch pieces and set aside. Slice leaves into 1-inch-wide strips. 
  3. Steam the greens: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot (I used a 7 qt Staub) over high heat. Add kale, cover, and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Add chard leaves, cover, and continue to cook until chard is wilted, about 4 minutes longer, stirring halfway through cooking. Drain greens in a colander and let it sit in the sink while you proceed with the rest of the recipe. Do not wash the pot.
  4. Pulse garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add bread and 3 tablespoons oil and pulse a couple times until the largest crumbs are smaller than ¼ inch (most will be much smaller). Add Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and pulse to combine. Transfer to a medium bowl. Do not wash out the food processor. 
  5. Add onion and chard stems to the food processor and process until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Warm remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in the pot you used earlier to cook the greens. Add onion, chard stems, thyme, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion and chard stems are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Using a spatula, press gently on greens in colander to remove excess moisture. Transfer greens to pot with onion mixture. Remove from heat. Add cream, nutmeg and cayenne and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Transfer mixture to a gratin dish or something similar to an 11 x 7.  Sprinkle the top with gruyere. Spread bread-crumb mixture evenly over the filling. Bake in the upper-middle of the oven until topping is golden brown and filling bubbles around edges, 20 to 25 minutes. 

Tips

  • To make ahead, the filling and bread-crumb topping can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 24 hours. Increase baking time by 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Make sure to use a large pot for steaming – there are a lot of greens! I used a 7 quart.

Substitutions

  • Heavy cream: cream alternative – recipe in notes below
  • Parmesan: My Homemade Vegan “Parmesan” – recipe in notes below
  • Rustic white bread cubes: sourdough, GF bread, whole wheat, or any fresh bread you like!


Swiss Chard and Kale Gratin Recipe
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds Swiss chard (about 15 stalks)
  • 1 pound curly kale, stemmed and cut into 1-inch-wide strips, about 13 ounces without the stems
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 cups rustic white bread cubes (about ¾ inch cubes), I used sourdough
  • 5 Tablespoons unrefined extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese*
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 cup heavy cream or coconut milk (OR ½ cup vegan cream cheese + ½ cup unflavored plant milk) OR flour/butter/milk**
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Handful of shredded gruyere or fontina (optional)
Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Stem chard, cut stems into 2-inch pieces and set aside. Slice leaves into 1-inch-wide strips.
  3. Steam the greens: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot (I used a 7 qt Staub) over high heat. Add kale, cover, and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Add chard leaves, cover, and continue to cook until chard is wilted, about 4 minutes longer, stirring halfway through cooking. Drain greens in a colander and let it sit in the sink while you proceed with the rest of the recipe. Do not wash the pot.
  4. Pulse garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add bread and 3 tablespoons oil and pulse a couple times until the largest crumbs are smaller than ¼ inch (most will be much smaller). Add Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and pulse to combine. Transfer to a medium bowl. Do not wash out the food processor.
  5. Add onion and chard stems to the food processor and process until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Warm remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in the pot you used earlier to cook the greens. Add onion, chard stems, thyme, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion and chard stems are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Using a spatula, press gently on greens in colander to remove excess moisture. Transfer greens to pot with onion mixture. Remove from heat. Add cream, nutmeg and cayenne and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Transfer mixture to a gratin dish or something similar to an 11 x 7. Sprinkle the top with gruyere. Spread bread-crumb mixture evenly over the filling. Bake in the upper-middle of the oven until topping is golden brown and filling bubbles around edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
Notes
TO MAKE AHEAD: Filling and bread-crumb topping can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 24 hours. Increase baking time by 5 to 10 minutes.


*My Homemade Vegan “Parmesan”
Makes about 1 cup
If you don’t want to make your own, my favorite is Violife.

½ cup slivered almonds*, about 3 ounces or ½ cup hemp seeds
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast, or to taste
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon onion powder (optional)

In a spice grinder or small food processor, add all the ingredients and process until very
finely grated, like the consistency of grated parmesan. Taste for seasoning and store in
an airtight container at room temp or in the refrigerator.

Notes: * or 1 cup blanched almond flour and toss with remaining ingredients in a bowl.


**Instead of heavy cream:
2 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter or plant butter
2 T all-purpose flour or GF flour blend
1 ½ cups milk or unflavored plant milk
Heat the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. In a separate pan, heat the milk until just about to boil, and then add it to the butter mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly until very smooth. Bring to a boil and cook 30 seconds longer.

 

Other recipes you may like:

Swiss Chard and Potato Gratin 

Provençal Goat Cheese Gratin 

Swiss Chard with Dried Apricots and Pine Nuts

If you give this Swiss Chard and Kale Gratin a try, snap a pic and tag @pamelasalzman so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Subscribe for free to my site for the latest recipes,  updates and things I’m loving lately.  If you enjoy this recipe, check out my online class!  Give me an hour a month, and I’ll make you a better, healthier cook!

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Comments

11 Comments

  1. What do you recommend if one omits the cubed bread?

    • The bread crumbs provide really nice texture and flavor, but they’re not the main part of the dish. You can omit the entire topping or if you are gluten-free, swap in a GF bread. If you’re grain-free, swap in a grain-free bread. If you are low carb, and you don’t want the bread at all, just omit everything in the topping. Cook time will be the same.

  2. Thank you for reposting! Couldnt see the notes on your homemade vegan parm or the sub for the milk and I am making this one for a dinner party on Saturday night! Will send pics!

    • Great!

  3. Is the notes section missing?

    • yes it was. Just re-posted.

  4. PLEASE SEND THE RECIPE CARD! I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THIS DISH!

    CHEERS!

    • I added it! Sorry about that.

  5. Looks delicious! Is there a recipe card? When I press “jump to recipe”, it bounces to the end, but no recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  6. This recipe looks terrific, but I don’t see the typical “recipe card” with a list of ingredients and the quantities. Maybe you could do an update to this post? Thanks for all the great recipes and inspiration.

    • Sorry for the confusion. Just re-posted.


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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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