This is a quick and easy vegan side dish of Sautéed Swiss chard with White Beans that is flavoured with lots of garlic and shallots. Hearty, healthy, and satisfying, it’s a perfect side for a weeknight dinner or for a fancier holiday feast!
Sautéed Swiss Chard With White Beans; A Fabulous Side Dish For Fall And Winter
Here is a quick and excellent side dish of sautéed chard with luscious, creamy white beans. Flavoured with sweet shallots, loads of garlic, olive oil, thyme leaves, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes for a little jolt, this seasonal side dish is not only healthful but addictively delicious.
Too often, I find we rely on white starchy sides (hello, yet again, white rice or roasted potatoes) to accompany a main dish. This recipe for sautéed Swiss chard with white beans is a much more healthful side, it cooks faster than any rice or grain, and is incredibly filling with lots of flavour and texture. A wonderful way to get your daily dose of vegetables!
Spinach will work just as well, but I prefer to use Swiss chard. It stands up beautifully to the heartier beans but is still tender and has a delicate flavour. Enjoy this sautéed Swiss chard with white beans alongside a simple roasted chicken or fish, or with any grilled protein that comes off the grill. If you’ve been in a side-dish rut, make sure to give this one a try. It’s good, it’s fast, and leftovers make the best lunches.
Is Swiss Chard With White Beans Healthy?
Swiss chard can be a very under-appreciated green but it’s the one I reach for the most. It’s sturdier than spinach, yet a lot less bitter than other sturdy greens like kale.
Chard can look like a beautiful bouquet with with its bright leafy green top and bright red, white, or rainbow coloured stalks. But not only is it pretty, it’s also a well-known nutritious powerhouse. Full of antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin A and beta-carotene, chard is also an excellent source of fibre, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. In addition, it has significant amounts of antioxidants which helps fight inflammation and cell cancers. In other words, you should be adding chard to your diet as much as possible. Soups, stews, and chilis all benefit from the addition of some chopped Swiss chard.
Paired with white beans that are full of fibre, calcium, and iron, this is a plant-based side dish that is super satisfying and will make you feel good.
Ingredients & Notes
- Swiss chard – Swiss chard is the most common chard but you can use any that’s available or a combo; rainbow, ruby, etc. For this recipe, we are using the stems as well as the leaves. Tip: This recipe calls for a large bunch of Swiss chard: I realize the bunches of chard can vary greatly but it is too difficult to offer a proper weight or volume. It is best not to get hung up on an exact amount as a little less or a little more will not affect the outcome of the dish. If your bundle of chard seems very small, grab two. If it seems like a hefty bunch, you’re good with one bunch.
- White beans – I used canned cannellini beans but sometimes they are hard to find. Any soft white beans such navy beans, great Northern beans, or even butter beans will work.
- Shallots and garlic – Chard greens and white beans are two ingredients that can be a little on the bland side. Adding plenty of shallots and garlic makes this dish a lot more flavourful.
- Thyme leaves – A fresh herb always brightens up a dish. You can use parsley, if you prefer.
- Extra virgin olive oil – To sauté the greens and for drizzling the finished dish.
- Kosher sat and freshly ground pepper – To avoid a flat-flavoured dish, make sure to season it generously. Taste the finished dish and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Red wine vinegar – A little tang from something acidic is essential here. It will cut through all the earthiness of the beans and chard and really brighten up all the flavours. You can use sherry vinegar, ow white wine vinegar, if you prefer. Alternatively, you can use lemon juice but I find the vinegar is easier and works beautifully in this dish.
- Red pepper flakes – Optional, for a little jolt of heat.
- Flaky salt – Optional for serving.
How To Make Sautéed Swiss Chard With White Beans
- Clean the chard. The leaves and stems of swiss chard can hold quite a bit of dirt from the soil so it is best to wash them well. Once the leaves are cleaned, strip them off the stalks with your hands or use a small knife to cut them off. Bunch them up into a bundle and give them a rough chop. Next, slice the stems into 1/2-inch pieces. Keep the stems and the stalks separate.
- Sauté onions and garlic. Heat a saucepan with olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add shallots and sauté until soft and just starting to caramelize, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme leaves, and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds.
- Sauté the chopped stalks. Add the chard stalks and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the leaves. Place half of the chard leaves in the saucepan and toss until they lose some volume, about 30 seconds. Add in the other half of chard leaves and continue to toss until just wilted. This should only take about 1 minute so they retain some structure, colour, and vibrancy.
- Add the beans. Stir in the white beans, vinegar, a pinch of red pepper flakes (if using), and salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine and cook until beans are warm, about 1 more minute.
- Serve. You can serve immediately, but it also sits well to be served at room temperature. When ready to serve, sprinkle with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
What To Serve With Sautéed Swiss Chard With White Beans
This is a great vegetarian side dish for a weeknight but it is fabulous enough to serve at gatherings like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It pairs well with just about any roasted or grilled chicken, turkey, pork, or beef. Also lovely with a simple baked salmon, or any fish. Here’s a few of our favourite mains we enjoy serving with this sautéed Swiss chard with white beans:
- Chicken Marsala
- Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken
- Baked Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce
- Baked Cod with Italian Salsa Verde
- Spatchcock Turkey with Dry Brine
For a vegetarian light meal, I would serve it with roasted vegetables such as delicata squash (or any squash), sweet potatoes, or broccoli. Or try it with a fried, or poached egg on top which has made me very happy on nights I don’t feel like cooking much.
More often than not, the leftovers beans and chard are smashed on top of a good, toasted sourdough bread with extra drizzles of olive. So good!
More Healthy Side Dishes To Try
- Haricots Verts Amandine (Green Beans with Almonds)
- Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa Salad
- Catalan-Style Spinach
- Beet, Blood Orange, and Baby Kale Salad
- Roasted Root Vegetable with Maple Sherry Glaze
If you give this Sautéed Swiss Chard with White Beans recipe a try, please feel free to leave a comment and/or a star rating below. We appreciate and welcome all your feedback. Thank you!
Sautéed Swiss chard with White Beans
- 1 large bunch* of Swiss chard (I used rainbow)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup diced shallots about 2 medium shallots
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced, or minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves plus sprigs for garnish
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 fifteen-and-a-half-ounce cans white beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons red, or white-wine vinegar
- pinch of red pepper flakes optional
- Wash Swiss chard to remove dirt and sand then strip or cut the leaves from the stems. Cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Roughly chop the leaves into 1-inch strips. Keep the chopped stalks and leaves separate.
- Heat a large saucepan with the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add shallots and sauté until soft and just starting to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme leaves, and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the chard stalks and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Place half of the chard leaves in the saucepan and toss until they lose some volume, about 30 seconds. Add in the other half of chard leaves and continue to toss until just wilted; this should only take about 1 minute - you don't want to overcook them.
- Stir in the white beans and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if using). Toss gently to combine and cook until beans are warm, about 1 more minute. Taste and season with a little more salt and/or pepper, if necessary.
- Serve immediately, or allow to sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours. When ready to serve, sprinkle with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.