Spicy Kitchen: Chard Greens with Garlic and Hot Pepper

We’ve been eating chard recently, and I like to cook it so it’s spicy and hot (we use red pepper flakes for heat and minced garlic for flavor).  I thought I should write it down and share it, so here is the recipe, with a photo tutorial of step-by-step instructions for our spicy chard greens.



  1. We use red or white chard (rainbow chard is fine too).
  2. 2-3 cloves garlic
  3. olive oil (1 TB)
  4. salt (1 tsp)
  5. red pepper flakes
  6. lemon
  7. pepper

ingredients for chard recipe
Ingredients for spicy hot garlicky chard greens


Crush the closes of garlic with the wide flat blade of your chopping knife on a cutting board and remove the papery peel.  Mince the garlic finely, or roughly chopped as you prefer.  We roughly mince ours as shown below.

minced garlic
The way we mince our garlic (sort of roughly chopped)

Chop the brown stem end off of the bunch of chard greens and discard.  Then, as shown in the picture below, chop the “ribs” of the chard into 1 inch pieces.  These will go into the pan to cook before the leafy green part, as the stems and ribs take longer to cook.  If the “rib” extends up into the leaf and remains quite thick, tear the leafy green from the thick rib portions and chop the stem or rib.  Set the stems and ribs aside.

chopping chard
Chop the rib or stem of the chard to cook earlier, before the leafy green parts are added to the pan
chard stems/ribs cook before the leafy greens
Chard stems/ribs cook in the pan a bit before leafy greens are added–these take longer to cook than the leafy part.

Heat the pan on medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add the chopped chard ribs or stems to the pan and stir.  Shake some salt on.

Cover the rib sections and return to the cutting board to chop the leafy green sections.

Gather the leafy “head” portion of the chard together and chop roughly across about every 2-3 inches.

Chop leafy green chard head into sections
Chop the leafy head into 2-3 inch sections. These will cook down to bite size.

When the edges of the stem ends are slightly tender, but not yet cooked (see below), you are ready to add the chopped greens.

ribs are pre-cooked and ready to add the greens now
The chard stems and ribs have cooked for a bit and are now ready for the leafy greens to be added
chard greens are initially quite bulky, but will cook down
The leafy greens will mound up quite high, and cook down quite low once wilted
chard g reens before wilting
Chard greens in a wok-type pan–these will be quite high, but will cook down to a quarter or less the size shown
Chard greens barely cooked, with lid
Just barely wilted greens (these are not really cooked at all yet). The lid helps them wilt.
nicely wilted chard greens
These are nicely wilted down, and nearly ready to add the garlic and red pepper flakes.
Wilted chard greens cooking
Condensed steam on the lid of the wilted chard greens: time to add the garlic and red pepper now
Adding in the garlic and the red pepper flakes. to the wilted chard
Adding in the garlic and the red pepper flakes. to the wilted chard
Finished!  The leafy greens are wilted and the stems and ribs have continued to cook as the greens wilted.  Stir and serve!
Finished! The leafy greens are wilted and the stems and ribs have continued to cook as the greens wilted. Stir and serve!

If you haven’t been using the captions, here is a summary of cooking once the stems/ribs are just barely cooked:

Add the chopped greens to the pan and do NOT stir, just leave them heaped on top–these greens will steam while the stems/ribs continue to cook below . The newly chopped greens will heap up high, and cook down low.  Add some salt on top of the chopped greens before you cover the pan.

I find it’s useful to use a wok-type pan, or a pan with high sides but if you just have a regular frying pan, it will work, you will just have to really set the lid down on top of the greens and stir more frequently as they wilt.

The greens begin to wilt, and then they wilt some more.  The greens should be bright green — if overcooked, they will get to be a muddy green.

Add the minced/chopped garlic to the pan, and the red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper, to taste.  Stir!

Remove from heat so they do not continue to cook and get olive green (although they are edible that way, I prefer them bright green).  Happy eating!  Do you have a favorite greens recipe?  Feel free to link to it below.

We use this pot rest, picked up at a rummage sale, which has a honeycomb and oak leaf pattern.

We are generous with spices in our cooking, and we like some heat.  We are looking  for a better solution than piling all of the spices into a drawer (a drawer away from the heat of the stove).  They only have room to be on their sides in the drawer, and we find that some of the caps aren’t that tight–we have a sort of unintentional spice potpourri at the drawer bottom.

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6 thoughts on “Spicy Kitchen: Chard Greens with Garlic and Hot Pepper

  1. One of our favorite ways to eat chard! It’s our go to lunch in the spring or summer , when the spinach or chard are ready , is to cook it just this way……lots of garlic and some red pepper flakes and eaten over brown rice. We love sprinkling feta cheese on top just before eating it. Oh yum!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margit Van Schaick

    Love the recipe and your photos! This looks so appetizing. Chard is one of my favorite plants to grow, and eat. About arranging the spices: have you seen the 1/4 cup Mason or Ball jars? Or Weck (comes in lovely shapes).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Recipe: Excellent Spare Ribs | Bean & Bantam

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