Baked Chard Stems with Tomato, Garlic, and Parmesan

I find particular satisfaction in making something from not-so-much.  I save my Parmesan rinds to add depth of flavor to lentil soups.  I save my vegetable trimmings make homemade broth.  And when I made those risotto-filled chard rolls, I saved the chard stems to make this dish.

I often cook chard stems right along with their leaves, chopping them into confetti and sauteing them with onions and garlic before adding the glistening green leaves to my pan.  And I sometimes chop the stems up for my stock-trimmings bag in the freezer if I only have a few of them.  But chard stems are a delicious vegetable on their own, with a sweeter flavor than the leaves and a bit of crunch or chew, depending on how long you cook them.

This recipe is a longstanding family favorite.  It comes from Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, which I once checked out of the library.  (I love getting cookbooks from the library.)  I sauce things up by increasing the tomato and often serving a poached egg on top, but you can do what you like.  I also usually serve the sauteed chard leaves alongside if I didn’t already use them up to make chard rolls.

This is one of those nice dishes where the end product seems to be more than the sum of its parts. We are about equally likely to make it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Which will you do?

Baked Chard Stems with Tomato, Garlic, and Parmesan: Slice chard stems into 3-4″ lengths and simmer in broth or lightly salted water until tender, about 7 minutes.  (I did this when I was blanching my chard leaves in broth the other day.)  Meanwhile, make a tomato sauce by sauteeing a few thinly-sliced cloves of garlic in olive oil until golden, then stirring in a 28-oz. can/tetrapak/jar of chopped tomatoes.  If you want to speed things along you can drain the tomatoes and save the liquid for a soup or put it in your freezer to make stock later.  Cook the tomatoes down into a thick sauce, then remove from heat and stir in a handful of minced parsley.  In a lightly oiled baking dish, layer half of the chard stems, half of the tomato sauce, then a handful of freshly-grated Parmesan.  Repeat.  Bake uncovered at 400 until the cheese is lightly browned, about 25 minutes.  Serve alone or topped with a poached egg and/or sauteed chard greens.

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43 thoughts on “Baked Chard Stems with Tomato, Garlic, and Parmesan

  1. Somer

    That chard is gorgeous. Totally picking some up today for sandwich wraps. I know what will be doing with the stems!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Isn’t it so pretty? The downer of this recipe is that you lose some of the color–sometimes I just dice it tiny and saute it quickly so it keeps those amazing colors. :)

      Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Thank you so much! I’m glad that you’re enjoying the blog, and even happier that now you’ll have chard stems in your life. :)

      Reply
  2. Desi Chick

    Those stems are gorgeous. Anytime you’re eating so much “color” you know it’s going to be rich in vitamins, carotenes and antioxidants and to make such delicious food out it? Genius!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Aren’t they so pretty? I agree that color = good for you! And usually delicious. Speaking of delicious, I made your saag paneer again last night, yum! Thanks again for bringing that recipe into my life. :)

      Reply
      1. Desi Chick

        You should check out my muttar paneer (green peas and paneer) recipe. Posting it tomorrow. You’ll love it. It’s very similar but the sauce is even more delicious!

      2. emmycooks Post author

        Ok, you talked me into it! Maybe I could make it alongside the saag, but use chickpeas in the saag? I think that dish is going to be a regular on my table when I attempt Indian cooking. :)

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Enjoy! Making this again made me wonder what other delicious things I should be doing with chard stems–expect more recipes in the future! :)

      Reply
  3. Food Stories

    You have been nominated for my NEW Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling. Check out my site for the details (foodstoriesblog dot com).

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I do love rainbow chard. The one downside of baking the stems is that it dulls the color. But it’s so delicious that it’s worth it. :)

      Reply
  4. Maggie

    I am LOVING the creative ways you use the odds and ends that would otherwise be thrown out. I really appreciate that mentality! I’m new to your blog, but I really like it! I just checked out the vegetable broth post, as well. Thanks for opening my eyes to these uses for veggie scraps!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Hm, I think of greens as an advanced vegetable. What about a roasted sweet potato with butter and maple syrup, or a grilled romaine salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon? I think of those more as the gateway vegetables. :)

      Reply
  5. leroywatson4

    This looks amazing as always Emmy. I love the pic of the rainbow chard, I have just planted some today in the garden. I hope they look this good! I enjoy the frugality of it all. Parmesan rinds are like a vegetarians answer to stock bones. I am a keen library goer, but I have a slight issue with late fines…Happy days!

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      Rainbow chard is definitely a star in the garden–a cross between a vegetable and a decoration! I am bad with the late fines too. Which reminds me….oops.

      Reply
  6. hannah

    One can never have too many library cookbooks on hand! My only problem is trying to remember where I got what recipe. Phone photos sometimes help, sometimes confuse things more :) I love this – I’m not much for making my own stock (though you make it sound so easy, maybe I will try) but I am always trying to find uses for those veggie odds and ends. My 3 year old actually likes to eat chard stems raw (even I don’t like to do that!) – he likes the colors. But maybe next time I will squirrel them away and give this one a try …

    Reply
    1. emmycooks Post author

      I love how kids judge things by appearance at least as much as taste. That is a good reminder that I should probably employ tricks like cookie cutters more. A heart-shaped roasted beet slice? I wonder if my kids could resist that. :)

      Reply
  7. Pingback: Pasta with Chard Stems (Penne alle Gambe di Coste) | Stefan's Gourmet Blog

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