Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Breadcrumbs

Swiss Chard with Lemon and Breadcrumbs
I have been eating raw kale salads for four years now. I remember the first one I had. I was in California, shocker, with my aunt, enjoying lunch at a place called, wait for it, True Food Kitchen. We loved the Tuscan kale salad so much that we asked the server for some details. We learned, if I remember correctly, that the kale had marinated in lemon and olive oil before it was tossed with breadcrumbs and parmesan. In 2010, eating kale raw (for many of us) was revolutionary.

I have eaten and prepared many many many raw kale salads since, and yet, not once — not once! — has it occurred to me to try treating Swiss chard, a green I seem to have on hand at all times, in the same manner. For whatever reason, I have relegated chard to the vegetables-that-require-cooking family, and just last week I learned that this placement was seriously misguided.

Chard, like kale, loves a lemon dressing, and when tossed with breadcrumbs and parmesan, its leaves relax, more so than kale in fact, and any bitterness disappears. Last week, when I asked the world wide web if chard could be eaten raw, it pointed me to this salad, which I made immediately, and then again and then again. The dressing is simple — the juice of one lemon plus a quarter cup of olive oil — and the breadcrumbs, seasoned with garlic and pepper flakes, are irresistible.

Light, lemony, refreshing — chard has never tasted so summery.



pulsed bread

lemon dressing

zest, breadcrumbs, chard

ready to be tossed

tossed salad

Note: It’s important to get good chard here. We’ve been getting beauitful chard from our CSA as well as from the Niskayuna Co-op, which carries chard from Hope Valley Farm. Farmers’ markets, obviously, are a great source.

Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Breadcrumbs

Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Breadcrumbs

Slightly adapted from Food52.

Notes: * The third time I made this, I was out of bread — the horror! — and I used two English muffins instead. Worked like a charm. Also, I zest the lemon right into the bowl of chard, but you can add it to the dressing, too — it doesn't make much of a difference. And I add a pinch of red pepper flakes, but again, this is just personal preference.


  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs*
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cups grated Parmesan, Grana Padano or Pecorino


  1. Wash and dry the chard and remove the stems from the leaves. (Save stems for another use.) Stack a few of the leaves on top of each other, roll them like a cigar and cut the cigar into thin (1/8-inch) ribbons. Repeat until all the leaves are shredded. Put the leaves into a large salad bowl.
  2. Warm 1/4 cup olive oil in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until they are crisp and golden brown (about 5 minutes). Be careful not to burn them! Stir in the garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper flakes, and let them toast for another minute, then remove from the heat.
  3. Zest the lemon into the bowl of chard. Juice the lemon into a small mixing bowl. Add a few generous pinches of salt. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil.
  4. Add the Parmesan and about 2/3 of the lemon dressing to the bowl. Toss until nicely coated. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Toss in the toasted breadcrumbs and serve immediately.

This is garlic from our CSA. Four enormous cloves per bulb. Isn’t it pretty?
CSA garlic

CSA garlic


  1. Jennie says

    Beautiful! I love Swiss Chard but I never want to eat it this time of year bc it feels wintry. This looks perfect!!

  2. says

    Yes to this lovely salad! Gosh, with the chard at the market looking so gorgeous this time of year, every salad I’m making has contained some of the leaves (and beet tops, and kohlrabi greens). This version is so simple and bright! I remember when you taught us the importance of proper breadcrumbs. (IN FACT I think that was the first-ever recipe of yours I read and Pinned. Eggs in breadcrumbs :) Revolutionary.) My mom has been gifting me some of her home-grown garlic — I am obsessed!

    • says

      Homemade breadcrumbs are revolutionary, right? And the Zuni eggs are still one of my favorites — I don’t make them nearly enough, but I love that splash of vinegar at the end. So good. I am so intrigued by your kohlrabi fries! Must try soon.

  3. Emily says

    Sounds so delicious!!

    Not sure if you’ve heard this from anyone else but lately when I put in the top post is the Zucchini Anchovy even now. I was devastated after days and days of not seeing a new post come up and then I clicked on the actual post and saw on the side under the “recent posts” that there had been new ones! Can’t figure out why that happens though. I love your blog and the recipes you put on here- always straightforward but with such full flavor- thanks for being one of my favorite parts of my day!

    • says

      Oh Emily, that is so frustrating! I was having this same issue last fall, but I thought I had fixed it when I switched to a new theme. I just switched themes again (I can’t commit!), and I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I need to investigate, but thank you so much for bringing this issue to my attention. I will get to the bottom of it.

      Thank you for your kind words. Means so much to me!

  4. says

    Hi there! I just discovered your site today and have been enjoying browsing through your recipes this morning! While browsing, I realized I was gifted some of your notecards a little while back, yet never made the blog connection! Small world I suppose! I have all the ingredients for this salad, so I’m going to try it out for lunch today. It looks great! I’ll be back soon to test out some other recipes. Feel free to pop by my site sometime. I write weekly narratives about what it is like to own a small NYC artisanal food business with my husband, and the general ins and outs of running one’s own shop!

    • says

      Hi Angela! I’m so happy you wrote in. I just followed you on bloglovin, and I am so excited to keep up with your journey. I have always wanted to do something real in the food business, and running a small store, as challenging as I am sure it is, will always be a dream of mine. Can’t wait to read through your archives. Also, sorry about the robbery! That is awful. And those muffins look beautiful. Funny about the cards :) Thanks for writing in!

  5. claire miyake says

    another WINNER! So delicious – easy yet sophisticated perfect summer salad (though i will be making this throughout the year)! Thank you for intro-ing me to swiss chard…always a bit scared of this as it’s next to kale in the supermarket and that raw i don’t care how much it’s “massaged” still has the texture of what i imagine a toilet brush..BUT this is delicious! You have the best recipes…ummmm, how lucky is your family?! thank you!!!

    • says

      Ha! You are hilarious. YOu are right — no matter how well kale is massaged, it can be tough.

      I’m so happy you liked this one! We have been addicted to it since we discovered it a few weeks ago. And thank you for your kind words…the day I get my children to eat chard will be a happy happy day :)

  6. says

    I love Swiss chard. I love growing it because it’s gorgeous in the garden especially when you mix the colors of it. I didn’t do that this year. But I will again. As much as I eat swiss chard steamed and stir fried, I never thought of putting it in a salad. Feelin’ a little slow—-but laughing. Thank you for a push in a new direction.

    • says

      Oh Carol, me, too. That’s what I was getting at — why aftet all these years didn’t I think to treat chard as I have kale…sometimes my brain doesn’t function.

  7. Wendy says

    I love this salad. I had a tiny bit left over and wondered what it would be like after the breadcrumbs had gone soft in the fridge overnight. I decided to try a poached egg on top of it for breakfast. So I warmed the oven and while I poached the egg, and just brought the salad to slightly warmer than room temperature on my plate. It really was delicious with the runny yolk oozing through the lemony leaves. Thank You!

    • says

      oh my gosh, this sounds so good! I kept thinking how a poached egg on this would just really complete it as a meal. Thanks for the inspiration. We’re still getting a ton of chard in our garden.

  8. Southern AZ says

    Just cut some swiss chard from the back yard. Hubby asked if it could be eaten raw. Found your recipe. Made it. FABULOUS!! We both loved it. Hubby suggested having this as the salad for Thanksgiving. Trust me, that is high praise. Thanks so much!

  9. Secret Sauce says

    I served this at the end of our chard season a week ago and it was a big hit. It’s warm and earthy because it’s chard after all. I decided to add two boiled eggs and we loved it. Thanks for the idea.

  10. Char says

    Loved this salad! It is so bright and the chard is so tender. We have had a bumper crop of mustard greens, collards, chard, and beet greens. I usually make my standard quick saute of greens with garlic I learned in Brasil. I was getting tired of cooked greens! The salad was not over dressed, the bread crumbs, made from a freshly baked french style country bread, were the right texture to give it some interest. If you have any ideas for mustard greens along this salad line, please let me know. Our kale is going in soon as are our turnips, so more fall greens will be enjoyed! I look forward to checking out more recipes on your site.

  11. Leslee Shepler says

    Fabulous salad! Tonight we served it with fresh cracked Dungeness crab, butter and French bread, just a perfect combination! Thank you, I’ll reuse this many times!

  12. Jules says

    Just finished a big bowl all by myself, tastes amazing. Loved the idea with lemon zest and parmesan. I added some avocado, olives and Serrano ham to turn it into a full meal. Tastes wonderfully fresh and no fuss. Thanks a lot.

  13. Becky says

    I have to tell you this became our go-to salad this summer. We grow chard, so we make it almost daily. So delicious. Thanks!

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